Ajith Lenin, associate fellow, enterprise architecture, Verizon India

Cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are changing the customer experience. In an interview with tele.net, Ajith Lenin, associate fellow, enterprise architecture, Verizon India, shares his views on the evolving trends in the operational support system (OSS) and business support system (BSS) space…

What have been the key trends in terms of customer experience in the telecommunications industry?

The current focus from the customer experience perspective is on delivering a personalised experience enabled through AI/ML capabilities. From a feedback-based measu­rement, the industry is looking into methods of systematically measuring the quality of customer experience (mostly based on cus­tomer effort – time spent, number of calls made, etc.) It is also critical to observe how augmented reality/virtual reality capabilities help in improving the digital experience. Another next-gen concept that needs attention is “generative AI”, which could play a significant role in the future.

What are the recent transformations that have occurred in the OSS/BSS communications space?

We can classify the transformations into th­ree categories.

  • Customer experience: We discussed the customer experience transformation in the BSS space in the previous question. In the OSS space, providing digital self-se­rve capabilities for installations, activations and service assurance has been the focus in the past few years.
  • Efficiency: Process efficiency is an area where both BSS and OSS have tr­a­nsformed significantly over the past de­ca­de. Adoption of business process mana­gement tools, robotic process automation tools and emergence of customer relatio­n­ship management tools are areas where BSS benefitted from.
  • Agility and scalability: The adoption of clo­ud co­m­pute and micro­services architecture has been a significant transformation that has helped transform the OSS and BSS spaces to be agile and scalable.

What are your views on Industry 4.0 and convergence of technologies such as 5G, AI, cloud and edge computing?

We are well into the fourth in­dustrial revolution, where AI-driven automations are ex­pec­ted to dramatically chan­ge the way the industry operates. But I feel the right recipe for this revolution has just started to emerge. Some of the ingredients of this perfect recipe are the following:

  • Availability of cloud computing infrastructure clubbed with microservices, containerisation and intelligent orchestration capabilities, providing limitless scalability and agility.
  • Advancements in database technologies – NoSQL, In Memory, Hybrid, Graph DB, etc. – providing an optimal solution for ea­ch use case.
  • Data mesh and data fabric tools enabling next generation data engineering, cl­u­b­bed with advancements in AI/ML te­chniques and algorithms including Ge­nerative AI.
  • The roll-out of 5G connectivity promising low latency, high speed, massive in­ternet of things communications, providing the ability to deliver insights in near real time, automating complex operational decisions.
  • Contributing to the low la­tency of 5G will be the emergence of edge computing facilities, both shared and private, across geographical locations.

How are enterprise architecture practices evolving today? How do you think they need to evolve in the future?

Organisations have started realising the value of enterprise architecture practices. Some of the key organisational behaviours towards establishing strong enterprise architecture practices are:

  • Having a well-defined vi­­si­­on and a set of core architecture principles at enterprise level and at each segment level that drives all the technical decisions towards a common goal.
  • A comprehensive enterprise architecture repository that reduces the discovery pro­cess – typically discovering and identifying the modules/apps that need to change is the most time-consuming activity in any enterprise project due to the high nu­mber of embedded bases of code.
  • A common set of notations for architecture and design artifacts across the organisation to avoid any misinterpretations and to optimise the learning curve.
  • Adoption of good enterprise architecture management tools.

What will be the future trends driving the telecom and enterprise spaces?

Some of the key trends that will drive the telecom industry forward are:

  • 5G service-based architecture and capabilities that enable network provisioning and activation in real time.
  • Edge and cloud-based low latency and AI-driven solutions.
  • Customer experience driven by hyper personalisation and total experience management practices.
  • Software development lifecycle (SDLC) transformation that automates and integrates SDLC into the core business operations.
  • Composable enterprises with business and technical capabilities that are delivered as composable components that can be added/removed/replaced at will.