Launched in 2005, Mobily has established itself as one of the leading mobile operators in Saudi Arabia. But, as the company has learned, an unintended consequence of steady growth can be a disjointed, complicated and inefficient back-office infrastructure.

With more than six million active subscribers by 2006, consuming more than one GB of data each month, the company developed a number of OSS / BSS applications to support its customer base.35 However, because these applications were often developed independently and over an extended period of time, a number of operational challenges arose. Architecture and design principals used across in-house departments were out of sync, and redundancies emerged due to the fact that multiple applications covered the same business process for different segments.

On top of that, multiple links were established between these applications across segments, resulting in unclear boundaries of business processes, while each application owner endured a separate and ongoing software development life cycle. Mobily could easily get tripped up by the many different terms used to refer to similar business processes and applications.

Without a unified approach to its network-facing and business operations, Mobily knew its ability to support the increasingly dynamic service lifecycle could be hampered. Any slowdowns in product launch or service delivery would cripple the company in a mobile data-hungry market. Saudi Arabia has a mobile subscription penetration rate of more than 175 percent, and consumers in the country are eager for better and faster mobile and Internet services.

To remedy these issues and establish a better foundation upon which to serve customers, Mobily embarked on an ambitious, multi-phase IT transformation project in 2011.37 Mobily hoped that a re-engineered back-end architecture would offer the efficiency and simplicity needed to improve its front-facing customer experience. But to start, the mobile operator needed a framework for transformation.

Standardisation at the Foundation

Mobily’s IT transformation was guided by a number of objectives, including the overall need to optimise and streamline its operational infrastructure. The company also wanted to limit the costs it would take to develop new capabilities over existing applications down the line, cut down on the cost of running operations and support, and ensure faster time-to-market for new products.

Given the substantial size of the project, Mobily turned to TM Forum’s standardised eTOM business process framework as a roadmap for transformation. eTOM establishes a “hierarchical catalogue of the key business processes required to run a service- focused business,” as described by the Forum.

Mobily used this as a foundation to document existing process flows and applications, identify process gaps and develop a list of redundant or overlapping applications.

Ultimately, using the framework helped Mobily apply the necessary changes to specific applications to ensure adherence to process boundaries, unify redundant and co-related applications into one that fulfils the mapped business processes, and replace some applications with commercial off-the-shelf software solutions. With a framework in hand, Mobily set out to revamp its OSS / BSS.

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