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Why is everyone downloading TM Forum Open APIs?

Yesterday TM Forum announced a milestone: more than 500k downloads of the OpenAPI. Congrats! Even though the OpenAPIs have been around since 2013, it hasn’t been until recently that they’ve taken off. Why now?

Well, first, some history. For the first five years, there wasn’t a single OpenAPI certified. The first one was done by Salesforce in January 2018 (today it has three total). But look at us now. Just in the last four quarters, we’ve seen a big upswing in API certifications by 41 different orgs – 278 certifications coming in since Q2 2021. Here’s a pretty graph I made:

(Note: Shoutout to my favorite dinosaur vendor, Amdocs – they’ve turned in +5 APIs since I made fun of them in my TM Forum #DTWS video (sorry, not sorry). Even though that video got censored from the event, it lives on forever in infamy!)

While I’d love to think it’s my entertaining videos that are changing the industry, there’s a better reason: CSPs like BT, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telenor, Telstra, and Vodafone are *demanding* it from their vendors.

CSPs are sick and tired of being held hostage by their vendors that trap them and force them to pay millions of dollars in change requests (CRs). CSPs want to be innovative and fast for their subscribers but they can’t – they are forced to go at the pace of their #BSS vendor.

First reason: “Roadmap of size 1”

Every vendor has a “product roadmap” that’s the direction the product is going; that is, provided the CSP stays on it. I say “product roadmap” because most CSPs install the product and then immediately change it to fit their business. Sounds great, right? Wrong.

CSPs customize their BSS A LOT. Once customized, it’s difficult and expensive to upgrade so CSPs upgrade infrequently. On average, a telco upgrades its BSS every 3-5 years, and that’s because it’s time to upgrade the hardware. By contrast, Salesforce releases an upgrade every quarter – and 100% of its customer base is upgraded. BOOM.

Telco software vendors LOOOVE it when CSPs customize their products. While CSPs get *exactly* what they want, there’s an unintended side-effect: the CSP is now the only one in the world with that exact installation. They are on a roadmap of size 1. It’s bespoke, expensive, and the CSP is trapped.

Second reason: A business model dependent on professional services (PS)

The top telco software companies’ businesses are built on professional services. How can you tell if your vendor is heavy PS vs. product? PS companies rely on a heavy human component, and SaaS companies do not.

For example:

  • Salesforce: $26B in revenue, 69k employees –> SaaS
  • Amdocs: $4B revenue, 28k employees –> PS

(And no, offering a managed service where you have your people on-site to manage a deployment does not make it “SaaS.” It does make it Expensive As Shit (EaS), though.)

Telco vendors with these business models crave more CRs and more managed services to come their way. OpenAPIs are their worse nightmare and therefore they aren’t racing to add OpenAPIs to their product. They need CSPs locked in and on the PS treadmill.

CSPs hate the old way.

Thankfully, there’s new blood coming into telco like Totogi, Jio, and Whale Cloud rising to the top of the OpenAPI leaderboard:

…and predictably, the old guard’s OpenAPI counts sit at the bottom of the charts:

  • Oracle – 13
  • Ericsson – 8
  • Netcracker – 6
  • Amdocs – 6
  • CSG – 4

These guys don’t want open systems. They’re just like the dinosaur RAN vendors that hate Open RAN; these guys hate OpenAPIs.

But check out Totogi. We are the OPPOSITE of the old way of doing telco software.

We are putting the future of BSS (we call it #fBSS!) into the CSP’s hands. With the public cloud as our foundation, we are empowering CSPs to be the master of their own destiny. Fast, flexible, cloud-based, open, and cheap is the future. By wielding powerful APIs that you can insert anywhere, quickly, and on your own , you get the speed you need. No more CRs that cost millions of dollars and take months to complete. Pay-by-the-use with free tiers. Sounds like a dream to me.

The winner in all this change? CSPs! If you want to see the #fBSS future, DM me on LinkedIn or Twitter. Totogi is doing pilots that will AMAZE you with how fast, flexible, cheap, and awesome our #fBSS is. It’s time to lower your cost, speed your business, and use the cloud to WOW your subscribers. Who doesn’t want to do that?

Are you at TM Forum’s DTW23?

Totogi’s cloud-first, SaaS-based monetization platform is purpose-built to drive new revenue opportunities for forward-thinking CSPs.
Discover more at DTW23 – Ignite.

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