Moreover, these communications networks not only carry customer data streams but also generate and rely upon data too. Networks are supported by software known as Operational Support Systems (OSS) and Business Support Systems (BSS). OSS and BSS perform many activities including:
Each of these essential workflows relies on data stored in OSS/BSS systems like CROSS Network Inventory. The OSS/BSS data it stores includes service order details, network performance telemetry, asset/inventory details, and much, much more.
As indicated in the diagram below, CROSS collects data from many different sources and integrates it into a single coherent store of information. These sources include customer-facing data such as CRM, Billing, customer portals, and more. But they also source data from back-office systems like the network, design tools, workforce management (WFM), and asset/spares management as well as many others. OSS/BSS tools like CROSS also often gather information from other sources entirely, including third-party suppliers, social sentiment analyses, etc.
Important operational decisions are made about the network, sometimes manually, sometimes automatically, on the basis of the masses of data collected by OSS and BSS every day. In fact, the reliable performance of global communications networks is fundamentally linked to the integrity of the data that’s collected, integrated, and processed by OSS/BSS tools. If just a single data point out of billions/trillions is erroneous, it can trigger a contagion effect, dragging overall data quality down further.
It’s common for a network operator’s OSS/BSS to consist of tens or even hundreds of separate applications. In most cases, fulfillment, assurance, revenue, and planning tools are all separate solutions but linked via custom integrations that form a complex web of interconnections. This complex meshing can make it difficult for a network operator to make any change to their network management stack.
CROSS has been intentionally designed to be different, to overcome these common problems. It bridges data from many sources, providing a consolidated location to link fulfillment, assurance, revenue, and planning data with a standard, but simplified data model. This data model consists of five core tables, two main modeling/stitching rules, and Open APIs for sharing data.
As a Data Bridge, CROSS becomes the single, consolidated source of truth across all domains and all workstreams. Not only does it integrate the data into one place, it also provides a single toolkit to process and visualize the collected information.
Using this toolkit and simplified data model, CROSS can act as a powerful data analytics platform. It combines customer, reference, asset, work activity, and telemetry data to support queries that are cross-linked in time (i.e. time-based views), space (i.e. map views), and finance (i.e. cost/revenue/efficiency views) without product customization. This makes powerful queries simple to generate without a team of data scientists.
The data bridge model allows for complex OSS integrations to be disentangled, as shown in the diagram below, thus facilitating simpler OSS/BSS transformation planning and implementation.
CROSS's unique ability to act as a data bridge overcomes a number of significant challenges facing network operators today. It provides the following distinct features that simplify network operations and separate it from other network inventory solutions: