Spotlight on Tech

Appledore Group on Rakuten: Is this the future of OSS?

By
February 26, 2024
3
minute read

Software-centric.

Data-driven.

AI-powered.

This is what more telcos need to be saying about their operational support system (OSS), but legacy OSS is holding back their business and the siloed nature of legacy OSS limits the impact of new technologies.

Rakuten Symphony is changing future fortunes with a newly announced reboot of its OSS portfolio.

Appledore Research recently conducted a series of briefings on Rakuten Symphony’s latest market and product strategy, publishing a bullish research note that asks: “Is this the future of OSS? Or something much, much bigger?”

It is available now for download.

Innovation is Back

Appledore recognized Rakuten Symphony’s earlier work and vision on what was then an industry-changing OSS. The company is chided for moving away from this vision to one initially more aligned with selling into the existing, siloed model before acknowledging the recent work of the OSS business unit team under the leadership of Rahul Atri. The research note declares: “Innovation is back at Rakuten Symphony.”

The report focuses on four work streams it believes positively positions the company:

  • A reinvigorated vision for telco operational transformation
  • A focus on partnership
  • Simplified product portfolio building on its success with key clients worldwide
  • AI at the center of Rakuten Symphony OSS

Here, we recap Appledore’s key takeaways in each of these areas.

A reinvigorated vision for telco operational transformation

Telcos are facing a crisis due to the failure of 5G to turn around revenues and an operating model that is expensive, slow and not flexible. As a key technology in deploying and managing news services, OSS can fix this. Rakuten Symphony’s vision is to deliver intent-based networks – an autonomous network level where KPIs are expressed in intents and the network automatically adjusts its activities to ensure that intent.

A focus on partnership

Go to market partnerships are being emphasized at Rakuten Symphony. The report points to agreements made with system integrators in the past several months, with the company’s cloud and network divisions leading the way. Partnerships like these are expected to help Rakuten Symphony secure broader adoption of its approach.

A simplified product portfolio

Rakuten Symphony has reconfigured its products into just three categories: Plan and build, Orchestrate, and Operate. These categories and the software solutions that comprise them have been rearchitected to reflect the company’s core principles, including:

  • End-to-end process support from plan through to operation. No more siloes
  • Single source of truth. A common data platform underpins everything
  • Cloud is an infrastructure platform for scale
  • Ubiquitous automation

AI at the center of Rakuten Symphony OSS

Intent-based networks are the company’s goal and AI-based autonomy is the path to get there. With significant e-commerce operations, banking and other data-driven businesses, Rakuten has made a long-term commitment to AI across all of its businesses and is doing the same in telecom.

Rakuten Symphony’s first OSS AI offerings will include a set of standalone licensable AI products including anomaly detection, energy saver, process miner, automation engineer, and AI-powered rApps. It is introducing a set of augmented AI features within its existing OSS products such as planning support. On the roadmap is the creation of its own AI large language model (LLM) to provide conversational interface to its OSS systems. The company is also pairing data with AI which adds end-to-end process knowledge to achieve business outcomes.

With this strategy, Rakuten Symphony believes the OSS can be what 5G never achieved: the change needed to turn around the fortunes of the telecom operators.

To get the complete analysis, download the report here.

The OSS strategy is one of the key elements of our booth at MWC Barcelona (Hall 2, 2D46). Stop by to see a demo and hear more from customers and company experts as well.

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