Navigating the Digital Storm @ TMF Forum expo


TM Forum, the global industry association with over 900 member companies from across the digital services ecosystem, is focused on removing roadblocks to delivering and operating all types of digital services, and supporting a vibrant open digital economy.

TM Forum announced that its newly formed Open Digital Steering Group has now expanded to include 11 of the world’s largest service and solution providers, including Accenture, China Mobile Communications Corp., France Telecom-Orange, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft Corp., Oracle, Telecom Italia, Telefónica Digital, Telstra and Vodafone.

In London, TM Forum brought the group’s members and other industry leaders together for a rapid collaboration-style ‘Hot House’ meeting where 35 participants from more than 20 companies took part in intensive collaboration to solve some of the most pressing industry challenges related specifically to digital services delivery.

Over two days, the group set in motion plans to deliver early versions of the following tools in time for TM Forum’s flagship conference and expo, Management World 2013 in Nice, France:

  • A digital services reference architecture to enable the standardized design of the critical architectural elements for the enablement of digital services
  • Outlines of critical Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) needed for the end to end management of key capabilities, such as identity, payment, balance checking, charging and billing and more
  • Definitions of B2B2X business models and their impact on service provider IT and operations to facilitate building rapid partnerships in the digital ecosystem, both for communications and other types of digital service providers such as cloud, content and information providers

Nik Willetts, TM Forum Chief Strategy Officer

“A lot of innovation is happening in the East”

“As growth of the digital economy continue to accelerate, the Forum’s Digital Services Initiative is putting a stake in the ground to solve the challenges of a vibrant, open digital ecosystem, and giving our members the tools to thrive in the digital world,” said Nik Willetts, chief strategy officer, TM Forum. “Based on the success of recent meetings, we plan to introduce a wide range of agile collaborative formats throughout the Forum’s R&D program to create a fast-paced development environment that can keep pace with the world’s largest digital services companies.”


TM Forum’s Digital Services Initiative focuses on overcoming the end-to-end management challenges of complex digital services, enabling an open, vibrant digital economy.

There are five core principles of the Initiative:

OPEN – Enable a vibrant open digital services ecosystem

The Forum’s Digital Services Initiative aims to accelerate the transparency, efficiency and agility needed to enable the next wave of enterprise-grade digital services.

With global presence, the Initiative will bring together the world’s largest enterprises, digital service providers and suppliers from multiple industries, to overcome the common end-to-end business and service management challenges of enterprise-class digital services.

Enabling an open ecosystem, the Initiative will provide a safe-harbour for collaboration among prospective partners, overcoming common challenges while protecting competitive differentiation

INFORM – Provide market intelligence and insight

Clear, concise and impartial information is critical to a successful digital services strategy. That’s why we offer our members a comprehensive set of research, analysis, news and informed opinion to help you keep track of the market.

Insights Research Reports

A series of research reports focused on emerging enterprise digital services market and examining the associated service management challenges and emerging issues. See the latest Insights reports.

Digital Life

Launching in December 2012, Digital Life is a new annual publication that puts the digital services market under the microscope. Featuring primary research with leading service providers around the world, Digital Life combines industry research with expert analysis. Click here if you’d like to be informed when Digital Life is released.

Digital Services Channel

In a world of information overload, the Digital Services Channel offers all the news, analysis and independent opinion you need to keep track of the digital services market. Click here to visit and subscribe today.

INNOVATE – Support rapid and successful innovation.

The Forum has a long history of providing the ecosystem for enterprises, service providers and suppliers to develop, and bring creative and innovative solutions to market.

The Digital world requires a new level of disruptive thinking, and that’s why we’ve launched a series of new programs designed to bring innovative ideas to life.

Innovation Accelerator

This program is designed to bring together small innovative companies, innovation labs, investors and customers to showcase innovation. The program helps disruptive thinkers get to market faster, partner effectively, find customers and build a lasting brand. Learn more

Digital Services Catalysts

Digital Services Catalysts address critical common challenges standing in the way of a vibrant, open digital economy. Many of the Catalysts at our forthcoming Management World conference focus on the opportunities in the digital services economy. Learn more

ACCELERATE – Enable efficient and effective Service Delivery

Building on TM Forum’s considerable assets and experience in complex service management, we’re developing tools and best practices to help our members overcome management challenges associated with delivering enterprise-class digital services.

Multi-Cloud Management

The first set of guidelines and tools will help business managers and developers overcome the challenge of monitoring and managing service quality for enterprise grade digital services delivered in a multi-cloud environment. Learn more

OPTIMIZE – Automate and optimize with tools and best practices

Finally, we focus on driving optimization and efficiency of digital services as they scale both within your own business and at points of touch with your partners. As value chains mature and become more competitive, the ability to automate and deliver services and maintain a healthy margin becomes key to future growth.

Montgomery “Monte” Hong

Extract from his TMF Perspectives 2013 yearbook article


Game changing technologies will unlock potential growth in communications

“It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame,” said Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher of communication theory.

For the communications industry, in particular, the environment has certainly evolved and will continue to do so. Few could predict that communications service providers would contend with a global economic crisis, only to face new opportunities and challenges that transcend the more obvious ones, such as mobility.

Today’s technology trends are hitting at the core of service providers’ ability to recognize and quickly address opportunities, and drive growth generated by some of the most promising trends.

Several challenges communications service providers faced last year are enduring into 2013. For example, average revenue per user will continue to decline and non-traditional competitors to rise.

Inexpensive or free text messaging, low-cost voice, data and media bundles, and the proliferation of all sorts of devices – from phones, to gaming consoles, to health monitors – will continue to tax network capacity and its management. New research1 found that more than half the people who aren’t using the mobile Internet now are thinking of doing so in the near future.

Simultaneously, providers’ enterprise customers are still shifting voice traffic onto data networks, and adopting fixed mobile convergence technologies to create a seamless mobile experience.

There are some key, ‘game-changing’ technology trends that will affect the communications industry over the next three to four years. As a result, providers should:

Keep an eye on context- based services. Imagine a scenario where a provider identifies roaming subscribers and offers them special promotions on travel, accommodation and other helpful services in the city where they’ve just arrived.

To be players in this arena, providers should gather and use specific contextual information – shopping environment, location, social context, usage patterns and shopping preferences – and embrace new sources such as geographical location, time of day and information from social platforms, while balancing convenience with privacy laws and customers’ privacy expectations.

Embrace and manage big data. As customers interact via voice, email, instant messaging and social platforms, and new devices proliferate, data demands continue to grow.

Providers have started to harmonize network operations across technology and service functions. For example, for ‘quadruple play’, customers with voice, video, media and data services, the rating portion of the billing application needs different rules to combine different data types to properly bill subscribers.

Kenya’s Safaricom’s mobile banking operation, M-PESA, integrates services such as remote money transfer, cash deposits and withdrawals and billing services for utilities. Clearly, ‘industrialized’ data management will be required, and data governance teams will be needed to sort out the data sprawl, create new architectures, data policies, interfaces, validation, and management.

The problem is not the absence of enough data, but the absence of the right data, and how quickly it can be utilized to make real-time decisions that can impact infrastructure investments, service management, network policies and premium offerings”.

WDGLL specs

The TM Forum industry association is the exemplar of collaboration between peers who come together physically at one of the six Management World events across the globe to fix real business problems. It is a not for profit organisation so these events are not vendor led as in the typical expo.  

How is this different? well this ethos is brought to life through a series of initiatives such as described below:

“Rapid Technology Innovation Catalyst Projects Demonstrated at Management World

TM Forum’s Catalysts feature service providers and other end users as project “champions” — guiding collaborative vendor teams to bring innovative, not-seen-anywhere-else ideas and solutions to life.

This year’s projects cover key business issues including digital services, cloud, cyber security, customer experience and revenue management.

These projects can be seen live at Management World 2013 in The Hub – your one stop shop for innovative demonstrations and everything TM Forum located on the 3rd floor of the Acropolis”.

I will leave the last word to Martin Creaner the TM Forum CEO


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