Knowledge as a service

Now, KaaS is an acronym (and yes, strictly speaking it is an acronym – we will happily explain the difference to anyone who really cares) that we definitely haven’t seen before, but it struck a chord in these days of “Everything as a Service”. It came up in the context of a briefing with some nice people from Netformx.

We were talking about their main product, a kind of design tool for network planners. Now, we have seen these before – but they were basically simple graphical tools for working out how to aggregate SS7 links and set up routing to end points via STPs. Things have changed rather, presumably reflecting the growth in network complexity. It’s not enough simply to visualise the network: we need to consider what it’s made of and what each individual component can do. Existing solutions were chosen for a reason. While the new products might serve a new purpose, we still have to ensure that everything is compatible.

The reality is that SIs and Service Providers delivering services and capabilities are rarely presented with greenfield opportunities where everything can be implemented to best of breed from the ground up. In fact, you are much more likely to encounter a situation in which a new connection or capability has to overlay a host of existing solutions that you may know nothing about. How do you ensure that everything fits together nicely? What’s more, how do you find out about existing capabilities?

Well, maybe the IT team know it well and can help, but that can be a costly and tedious process. And, it may be that a host of legacy knowledge was lost during the last round of “restructuring”. Gosh, perish the thought. And that’s where our new friend KaaS comes in.

The interesting thing about Netformx’s solution was that it is integrated with an online resource, a library of solutions, capabilities, configurations, and so on. Rather like a Wikipedia for telecoms equipment – well, that’s our analysis and interpretation anyway – it enables planners to validate their architecture and compare against commonly made deployments.

It has been said that Knowledge is power. While that is debatable, it’s very clear that knowledge may provide significant financial benefits that can help ease the cost of network upgrades, migration and so on. It may also be the case that such savings help the business case for such deployments. As we start to take a holistic view of networks, rather than just considering access and core domains and consider the constant challenge of managing CAPEX / OPEX, these kinds of tools may prove to be invaluable based on cost justifications alone. And, of course, the accumulated knowledge helps in so many other areas.

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