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Enterprise Architecture And Modularization In Telco R&D As A Response To An Environment Of Technological Uncertainty

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Enterprise Architecture and Modularization in Telco R&D as a Response to an

Environment of Technological Uncertainty

Heinrich M. Arnold, Michal Dunaj

Heinrich.Arnold@telekom.de, Michal.Dunaj@telekom.de

Deutsche Telekom AG, Laboratories, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 10587 Berlin

Abstract - IP networks have reached a level of quality and

performance that is adequate for as operator infrastructures;

the innovation space of telco operators converges with the

innovation space of web based IP services. Thus innovation in

the telco domain is no longer solely driven by the operators

and their suppliers but of the additional millions of developers

of web based IP services. The choice of alternative

technological paths or rather permutations of approaches and

with it technological uncertainty – that is beyond the reach of

classical standardization – is skyrocketing and poses an even

greater challenge to telco R&D than the higher innovation

“clock speed” that comes along with IP services as well.

The variety in technological paths is paralleled with

alternative or rather complementary paths in customer needs

evolution.

The Enterprise Architecture (EA) framework has been

introduced and widely used in the domains of IT and business

processes, linking both. While EA is mainly used as a

framework for IT supported processes, it can – together with a

concept of modularization – offer an important instrument in

coping with the challenges to telco R&D described above. The

applicability of the EA framework is extended to focus

innovation efforts on specific modules or architectures. This

paper introduces links between Enterprise Architecture

concepts and early innovation stages. At Deutsche Telekom

Laboratories, Enterprise Architecture is used for derivation of

reusable and recombinable modules.

1. Operator Inherent and Recent Technological

Challenges for Telco R&D

“Home made” system development has always been a

delicate case for telecom operators as they receive many

technological solutions turn-key from suppliers directly

delivered to product managers and technical supervisors

in the business units. These solutions don’t require the

involvement of development resources from the inhouse

R&D unit any more; for the R&D unit, this

situation in many cases presents itself as a natural

bypass. Therefore it is up to telco’s R&D units to make

its own transfer of results compatible with the external

inflow of technology.

Lately, this classical challenge is accompanied by the

radical technological change that is behind next

generation networks and the convergence of telco and

web innovation spaces. “Delayering” of the infrastructure

and third party IP based services reduce the

lifecycle times and bring about new players into the

innovation landscape of telcos.

1.1 Telcos Place in the Technological Food Chain

Applied research and development at telcos is by

definition subject to their position as second to last in

the technological food chain1. Most technology has been

understood and developed already when new

infrastructure components are presented to the telcos by

the so-called “vendors” for roll-out. Therefore the R&D

of telcos as we know it today better puts its focus on

missing components, i.e. gaps that vendors leave, as

well as features and properties that differentiate from

competition, as well as preparation of benign

standardization. Furthermore, two aspects lately govern

telcos’ options to innovate:

First, web-based services benefit from the separation of

application features from the network – a situation,

NGN will promote even more. These services move at a

“clock-speed” higher than the introduction cycles of

new telco services. Web 2.0 enables myriads of

emerging web services and players which bring along

innovative concepts – often competing – and usually

impossible to distinguish successful approaches from

failures from the beginning.

Second, technological choice increases not only in the

application layer, but also with respect to user interface,

type of terminal device, control and access technologies.

Thus,

...

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