BT’s OSS transformation: “The real thrust for our transformation has been open-source”

Ahead of his keynote presentation at the Layer123 World Congress, we caught up with BT’s Digital OSS Director Ravi Ramachandran for some background on how BT is reimagining its OSS provision.

This is taken from a video interview with Ravi - click here to watch it on YouTube.

 

Ravi, what are you responsible for at BT?

I'm the Digital OSS Director at BT, so I'm responsible for the next-generation OSS products that help plan, build, design and manage our networks - including the UK's critical national infrastructure. As part of my role, we develop strategies and road maps that help modernise BT infrastructure, moving more towards convergence and automation.

 

How long has BT’s OSS transformation been going on?

We started our transformation four years ago. Now, just like any large telco, we have multiple systems that are part of our OSS to help all our business or customer facing units, namely consumer enterprise which can be multinational. So where do we get started? With the best experience that we want to provide for all our customers. We started off by reimagining how we deliver this best customer experience – this then led into it being equally important to understand how our colleagues are equipped to deliver that experience. It turned out that we had to reimagine the way our colleagues in our unit do their jobs on a day-to-day basis. So that's pretty much our transformation journey.

Our focus has always been people - looking into the process of how they do their jobs, and into the necessary tools and technologies that helps us bring about a much-needed culture change.


Speaking of the necessary tools and technologies, what are they? What kind of technologies are underpinning BT’s OSS transformation?

There is a plethora of tools, but I must give a bit of context here. At BT specifically and for OSS in general across telcos, we do have a lot of off-the-shelf products, but the real thrust for our transformation has been looking into open source and compliance to industry standards. These have been our fundamental thought processes behind building our next-gen OSS tools.

Talking about what sort of technologies, I would say we look at how we provide self service to our network colleagues. This means we wanted to build underlying low-code or no-code platforms that allow them to operate on their own as opposed to waiting for OSS releases, etc. Equally, we looked at some of the hyper-intelligent automation techniques using machine learning, which allow us to do better forecasting and capacity management, and this is eventually underpinned by orchestration engines or workflow engines. So again, very open-source technologies.

We also looked at how we move our data strategy, focusing on some of the graph database models as well.


You’re appearing alongside plenty of other speakers at the Layer123 World Congress in November. What else are you interested in learning about when you hear the other sessions at the Congress?

We really enjoyed joining these forums and events because not only do we get to hear from our competitors, we can also understand where the industry is moving – it's equally important for us to validate what we are doing today. So these forums really help us get a lot of soundbites plus a direction of sense and validation of what we are doing.

 

 

You can hear Ravi going into much more detail on BT’s OSS transformation in his presentation OSS: a BT View at the Layer123 World Congress (18 November, 14:05 CET) – register here to attend online. Registration is free for network operators, hyperscalers, data centres, researchers, enterprises, analysts and academics.