TM Forum today launched its Open Digital Architecture (ODA) program, aimed at giving service providers a common ‘blueprint’ to replace traditional Operational and Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS) architectures with software-defined operations.

TM Forum said ODA is meant to allow service providers to simplify and automate their existing operations in the highly complex and evolving operational environment of the telecom industry.  

Core to the comprehensive architecture blueprint that ODA provides are TM Forum’s suite of more than 50 REST-based Open APIs, which the association said enable interoperability of internal and external IT resources in a common way. That, in turn, makes it easier for innovation to thrive both within an organization, externally with customers and partners, and to scale between service providers.

 Recently, eight more companies have joined the 35 already implementing the Forum Open APIs across their architecture, including: CENX, Cerillion, My Republic, SigScale, Vlocity, TCS, Telstra and Wipro.

TM Forum also outlined the key principles of the ODA in a new whitepaper. The ODA principles are being validated in more than 30 ‘Proof of Concept’ Catalyst projects, which will be showcased in May at TM Forum’s flagship Digital Transformation World conference in Nice, France.

“To succeed the industry must radically simplify and automate core business operations to deliver the agility and efficiency needed to compete in today’s market. The ODA is a starting pistol being fired by many hands joined together,” TM Forum CEO Nik Willetts said in a statement. “It embraces a bold vision for completely zero-touch business operations—with no human intervention end-to-end—using the latest technologies including Artificial Intelligence.”

ODA allows service to providers to leverage technologies like network virtualization, AI and machine learning, and cloud and microservices, as they push ahead to redefine operational and business support systems, according to Horacio Gabriel Goldenberg, group chief IT architect for Telefonica.

TM Forum said ODA should streamline the procurement process for IT systems and remove friction from the supply chain, as well as offer a standardized blueprint allowing vendors to participate in a marketplace for reusable solutions to common business challenges.

“This is an important step for the evolving telecommunications sector. Having an industry standard for digital architecture will be crucial for organizations that are looking to modernize and simplify their systems and processes,” David Green, lead telecoms partner for technology strategy and architecture at Deloitte, noted in a statement. “The Open Digital Architecture could be the platform to help forward-looking Communication Service Providers grow and remain competitive.”