Traditionally known as an inventory company, Cramer Systems this week shifted its ideology toward becoming a service factory, with the launch of Cramer6, an end-to-end fulfillment suite. The suite contributes seven new integrated products to the Cramer portfolio, with an eye to being a complete OSS platform for rolling out new services.
The launch takes Cramers inventory competency and places it at the center of a complete process automation platform for end-to-end service fulfillment of any service, on any network, hence the service factory idea. The concept is to streamline service fulfillment via a holistic OSS approach that collapses point solutions into a pre-integrated single platform, for a lower-cost, easier to manage solution.
CTO Don Gibson explained that Cramer6 was third-generation OSS, representing an evolution from initial bespoke systems, through difficult-to-ntegrate best-of-breed approaches, to a new era of integrated OSS converged on a single data model.
Cramers inventory capabilities inform the rest of the suite and are at its core. You cannot converge OSS unless theres something to converge it to, Gibson said. One inventory model results in lower cost and simpler deployment.
The seven new components of Cramer6 broaden Cramers inventory applications, expand its footprint into network discovery and activation, and provide an interface to front-office applications. In total, Cramer can now design and assign resources, coordinate implementations, turn on the services and provide service assurance, while allowing the front office applications such as billing and CRM to access relevant information.
This is a market redefined, said Cramer CEO Guy Dubois.
The seven new components are in three categories:
* ITManager provides the inventory for modeling the computers, storage-area networks, clusters and applications that make up the back-office, integrating it with views of the transmission network and services. We once had a world of specialized hardware in the network, said Brian Buggy, vice president of strategy at Cramer. Not anymore. This allows service assurance because you have a comprehensive view of the new PC and software-based systems.
* CoSManager creates and validates different class of service policies for IP-based services. It defines Ethernet and MPLS flows in order to manage the overbooking of the network. It can model and define the structure of the data flows to control where the bandwidth goes, allowing carriers to account for how the customer is using applications.
* CableManager offers macros and visualization tools to model the physical plant of copper and optical cables, to enable diverse routing.
PartitionManager allows uses to slice and dice inventory views according to geography, technologies, partner access authorizations, regulatory information and more.
New Areas for Cramer
* ActivationEngine is a new approach to service activation, dubbed thin activation that is stripped of databasing capabilities. Instead, this component configures the network using the inventory already contained in Cramer6.
If your inventory is deep enough, all the technological design elements can be done within the system, said Buggy. Thin activation takes high-level instructions from Cramer and turns them into dialogues with the element management systems to perform activation.
* DiscoveryEngine is a proactive, multi technology discovery and monitoring component with 28 adaptors out of the box to SONET, Ethernet and others. This ensures the inventory is highly accurate, explains Buggy.
ServiceCatalog talks to front-office applications like partner management, sales systems, and billing and rating. It encapsulates the business logic and inventory information, simplifies it, componetizes it and feeds it to these applications for re-use.
Inventory is at the heart of everything we do, says Buggy. An OSS without inventory is a bit like a car without an engine.
Taking the holistic service factory concept further, the company also announced several partnerships this week aimed at providing total, pre-integrated BSS/OSS solutions to carriers.
* Alcatel and Cramer will launch a joint Next Generation Network (NGN) solution center to develop an out-of-the box fulfillment solution for Internet, VoIP and IPTV and support for all IP migration. The joint solution will leverage Cramer6 and Alcatels industry equipment and integration capabilities to automate the end-to-end fulfillment of triple play services for Tier 1 telecom operators.
* Amdocs and Cramer plan to integrate the Cramer6 OSS Suite with the Amdocs ordering and service management solutions. The combined offering will automate the link between front-office customer management and back-office network and service management, unifying service ordering, provisioning, activation and assurance across all products and lines of business.
* SAP and Cramer have developed detailed process models and use-case definitions for linking supply chain management, network planning and service fulfillment applications, from planning through network build, and from service capture to fulfillment. Cramer plans to migrate its Cramer6 OSS Suite to SAP NetWeaver.
* Cramer 6 will be pre-integrated with Oracle Corp.s BSS capabilities. The combined offerings will leverage Oracles Network Lifecycle Management capabilities and Cramers inventory-centric approach to enable closed loop network lifecycle management. Oracles asset management offering manages the procurement and network equipment maintenance while Cramer delivers an up-to-date view of the network.
* The OSS vendor wrapped up its news-making this week with two customer wins: Bellsouth Corp. and Denmarks TDC.