New Report Says CSPs Can Be ‘Smart Pipes’ In the Digital Economy

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Service Delivery Platforms (SDPs) can afford service providers the opportunity to open up symbiotic, bi-directional flows of information and innovation with third parties so they can participate as an “enabler” in the digital economy.

MORRISTOWN, NJ—November 30, 2009—TM Forum, the world’s premier industry group focused on business effectiveness for the communications and media sectors, has launched its latest Insights Report, “Evolving Service Delivery Platforms: Essential Plumbing For ‘Smart Pipes.'”

“Rather than fear being relegated to ‘dumb-pipe’ status service providers should look for opportunities to increase their innovation while lowering their cost of service delivery,” said Rob Rich, managing director, TM Forum Insights Research. “This report details how SDPs combined with new business models can help organizations in both emerging and mature markets avoid being reduced to commodity provider status.”

To explore opportunities for communications service providers (CSPs) wanting to become “enablers” in the value chain, market analyst Kristofer Kimbler demystifies the concept of the SDP, and he explores the potential for opening up CSP environments to third parties (i.e., content- and application developers) for innovation in services.

The report, exclusively available to TM Forum members, looks at why other stakeholders would covet CSPs’ enormous data stores and sophisticated operations- and business support systems, as well as real-time charging, CRM and security capabilities. The CSP knows its customers’ lifestyle preferences, locations, and demographics; the CSP already has the trusted relationships with both individual and enterprise customers.

With this report, CSPs from both mature and emerging markets, as well as their partners, will learn about the full business potential enabled by SDPs.

The report comprises five sections, which break down different elements of the SDP industry:

• Section One—Defines and clarifies the term “SDP,” and lays out its potential for helping CSPs transform into “smart pipes” capable of generating new revenue streams and adopting new business models. This section delves into the potential for enhancing core services, as well as getting into mobile advertising, mobile payments and banking, as well as location-based services;

• Section Two—Breaks out the competitive landscape for mobile service providers, mobile handset manufacturers, operating system vendors, and third-party app stores. It also gives an in-depth look at “other players,” such as mobile handset manufacturers, mobile operating systems vendors, and third-party app stores;

• Section Three—Gives an in-depth analysis of “app stores,” pioneered by Apple but now full of many players in the market—each which brings something different to the table. App stores already have significant impact on the market, and this section discusses the potential CSP strategies for cost-and-time-effective app store roll outs using SDPs;

• Section Four—Discusses the role of SDPs as a driver of new, open, business models. Different business models supported by SDPs are outlined, and the future opportunity for creating and providing SDPs in the SaaS (software-as-a-service) model are analyzed;

• Section Five—Explains how TM Forum is defining the management functionality to clarify the structure and management of SDPs. This section discusses how TM Forum can help its members to build management capabilities and interfaces that link together multiple service platforms, including SDPs and legacy “silo” solutions. The goal of the work is to create a common management framework through which service providers implement homogenous and cost-efficient service lifecycle management for different classes of services.

The report is now available to TM Forum members for download and will be also be distributed at TM Forum’s Management World Americas 2009 conference (8-10 December, Orlando, FL).

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