Every business ought to have its own policies, standards and code of practice to which all aspects of its operation must adhere. In the telecommunications industry, the most widely recognised and used set of standards is the Enhanced Telecom Operations Map or eTOM.
eTOM was developed in 1995 through the contributions of over 35 TeleManagement Forum members and was approved officially in 2004 by the International Telecommunications Union. eTOM was built on the need to support processes of the entire service provider (top down). It is regularly updated to reflect industry changes.
It is essentially a set of guidelines, a framework with which telecommunications service providers can identify key business processes. It focuses on cutting edge technologies and internet related telephony. It describes the full scope of processes required by service providers, defining key elements and explaining how they interact. The resulting guidebook has become “the common business language for the telecommunications industry.”
Industry experts explain that eTOM “describes and analyses different levels of enterprise processes according to their significance and priority for the business. The framework serves as the blueprint for process direction.” It outlines software boundaries for suppliers while highlighting required functions that their products must support.
eTOM is broken down into three major process areas:
1) Enterprise Management: which covers strategic and enterprise planning, knowledge and research management, financial and asset management and enterprise risk management.
2) Operations: includes customer relationship management, service management and operations and supplier/partner relationships.
3) Strategy, Infrastructure and Product: marketing and offer management, service and resource development and supply chain development.
Telecom organisations can use the framework to measure and streamline their own services, it is a neutral reference point from which internal process re-engineering needs, partnerships, alliances and general working agreements with other providers can be established.
The above is merely an overview of the basics, to gain a more in-depth understanding of the horizontal and vertical framework processes.