What is TM Forum Frameworx and how to apply it to your business?

enero 21, 2015

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About TM Forum

Before speaking about TM Forum Frameworx, we should know some things about TM Forum, the organization behind it. We should see first how they describe themselves in their official site:

“TM Forum is the global industry association for digital business, connecting talented individuals, leading companies, and diverse ecosystems to accelerate our members’ successful digital business transformation. The collective experience and interests of our member community comprised of tens-of-thousands of professionals within 900+ market-leading organizations drives everything we do, from thought-provoking research and publications, to practical guidance, collaboration programs, tools and best practices, hands-on events, and training for business and IT leaders.”

As you can see, the focus of the forum are the digital businesses and its main objective is to accelerate their transformation. They achieve this through a collaborative work with their member organizations – whose numbers grow day by day – and the professionals who work for them. In this way, when an organization becomes a TM Forum member, it gains access to the accumulated knowledge of years of experience. Besides, the forum is dynamic, so the information available for members is ever evolving.

What is TM Forum Frameworx?

TM Forum Frameworx is a suite of best practices and standards for the business processes, information structure and applications – and for the integration between them – within an organization. Besides, Frameworx includes two important extensions of the aforementioned core components: a suite of Business Metrics and a certain number of Best Practices. All these tools help us improve end-to-end service management.

In the next figure, the relationship between its elements becomes clear:

cuadro-bp-300x239

The graphic above is the TM Forum Wheel. In its center we have the Integration Framework, which enables the relationship between the three other frameworks: Business Process Framework, Information Framework and Application Framework. We can also appreciate above the existence of the Business Metrics and the Best Practices as supporting material.

Before continuing, TM Forum Frameworx Components should be described:

  1. Business Process Framework: It is a hierarchical catalog and classification scheme of the key business processes required to run a service-focused business.
  2. Information Framework: It provides a reference model and common vocabulary for all the information required to implement Business Process Framework processes.
  3. Application Framework: It provides a common language for communities who specify, procure, design and sell operation and business support systems, in order to provide logical groupings of applications, procuring to define each application’s functionality.
  4. Integration Framework: It is a set of standards that supports the interoperability between applications defined in the Application Framework via TM Forum interfaces, which are defined in terms of the Information Framework’s entities/attributes, and the requirements for the interfaces from a business process perspective, which comes from the Business Process Framework.

Finally, the extensions can be described as follows:

  1. Business Metrics: They are an industry-agreed view of the standard, in the form of quantifiable metrics a Digital Services enterprise requires to run its business.
  2. Best Practices: They are the extension of the core components of Frameworx to meet specific requirements, developed by member organizations interested in some areas.

Frameworx Development

TM Forum Frameworx was not developed from scratch, but with acquired industry knowledge and has been evolving in a collaborative environment named “Virtual Research and Development Consortium” made up of TM Forum Members from a growing array of industries from all around the world. It is important to mention that any member can contribute to the standard and every contribution is well received and analyzed afterwards to determine if it deserves to be part of the standard in future releases.

Why to adopt Frameworx?

There are several reasons to adopt Frameworx, but I will mention and explain some of them for you to consider:

  1. Reduce time-to-market, by enhancing the agility of the organization with streamlined end-to-end service management.
  2. Use the same standards as our partners and providers, which makes easier the creation, delivery and management of the enterprise-grade services.
  3. Get and keep market share, through the improvement of the customer experience and retention, using proven processes, metrics and maturity models.
  4. Optimize the business processes, identifying the most commonly used, detecting redundancies and bottlenecks, reducing costs after solving them.
  5. Reduce integration costs and risks through the use of standardized interfaces (supported by the Integration Framework) and a common information model (the Information Framework).
  6. Reduce transformation risk, by delivering a blueprint for agile, efficient business operations. Frameworx should be used as a point of reference, reason why we use the term “blueprint”.
  7. Gain independence and confidence in your procurement choices, through conformance certification and procurement guides: we have standard RFP (Request For Proposal)/RFI (Request For Information) guidelines and templates available in Frameworx.
  8. Remove ambiguity in the language, having a common, industry-standard language. This is important, especially taking in consideration terms are overloaded in the industry.

 

My experience with TM Forum Frameworx

With GlobalLogic, I had the experience of dictating TM Forum Workshops for an important telecommunications company in Chile, in the context of a digital transformation project they are going through.

First of all, I gave them some basic tools to understand the concepts behind Frameworx and, of course, the opportunity to apply them in practice. The theory behind the standard is overwhelming and everything was new to them, but day by day I could see their progress and they were motivated by this new world they were diving in.

With that knowledge, they were able to compare their existing business processes and applications with the ones defined in the frameworks from TM Forum, learning from the standard to improve what they have in their daily work.

Secondly, with the learning from the first part of the project, I conducted a five weeks dynamic with our client, involving functional analysts, technicians and managers, among other professionals. In this activity, we worked together analyzing their processes and applications and we helped them to map these elements to Frameworx (to the Business Process and the Application Framework respectively), detecting redundancies in the application’s functionalities and identifying business processes without an owner, just to mention a couple of examples. On the other hand, Information and Integration Frameworks were out of the scope, the same can be said about Business Metrics and Best Practices extensions.

The implementation of Frameworx requires some years of work and that is the process our client has just started with us. They trust in the standard to be the protagonist of this digital transformation project, along with us for the support they need during this big challenge.

 

Frameworx adoption worldwide

But our client is not alone: According to a TM Forum survey among member organizations  – all of them leading service provider companies -, Frameworx is currently adopted and used by 95% of the companies who took the survey and 82% of them mandate the standard in many or all specifications. This organizations can learn one from each other and they guarantee that Frameworx plays an essential role in their ability to do the following:

  • Enable IT architecture simplification & agility
  • Provide a common frame of reference between project members
  • Reduce risk in transformation projects
  • Reduce cost of integration

As you can see, some of this aspects were considered before when we spoke about the reasons to adopt Frameworx.

In conclusion, this standard is being adopted widely between service provider companies – especially TELCOs – all around the world, and they claim they are getting important benefits from it. Therefore, if you are part of one of them and you have not heard about TM Forum up to this moment, you are invited to investigate further about it.