Anyone who enters the complex world of OSS/BSS transformations, will face different technologies, standards and their terminology they carry with. Management standards depict the terms, and the terms become the language people talk to each other. Take IT for example. ITIL is the dominating de-facto standard for managing the whole lifecycle of IT services, from birth to death. ITIL sees IT as a function that serves the core business whether it is a restaurant business or a telco. When it comes to telco, as we said, the principle is the same. However, in telco, IT is more “involved” in the business. Even worse, the business cannot live without it.
When we have a look at IT services in a telco, you will see that most of them serve some part of a service that has been served to the customers. Why just some part? What is the other part? The other part is the bearer, the network itself, and it is a separate organization, structure and culture. So the end user service needs IT and Network. (Telcos playing the role, cloud provider, can only serve IT services without Network, however, this is another story.)
This holistic view has been adapted nicely by the TMForum standards where the service that has been “used” or “perceived” by the customer is called the customer facing service(CFS). CFS’s reside in the product catalog and they include one or more resource facing services.(RFS) CFS and RFS reside in the product catalog of the organization.
Returning our attention back to IT, we have business service, which reside in the business service catalog. Business service, as its name implies, the service that is served to the business. So it can be a payroll application or SMS application, which means, it can be involved in a CFS or not. But it is the business service at the end.
The problem I have seen while communicating the services and catalogs is this. In order to be inline with the holistic view, IT tends to divide its business service catalog to “internal” and “external” business services. External business services are the CFS’s or RFS to some CFS’s. Internals are the ones who are internal to the business such as payroll. This creates multiple catalogs. (On the other side, Network can live with CFS and RFS terms as they don’t have ITIL).
Some eTOM-ITIL mapping studies has been issued by TMForum to solve these communication problems. However, for me, there needs to be more studies around standardization of these service catalog structures. Especially for telcos who follow ITIL for the IT standard.