The Art of BSS Replatforming 

Earlier in 2023, LotusFlare partnered with Globe Telecom to power the newly defined customer experience for GOMO Philippines. In this tech blog, a member of the LotusFlare Engineering team, Mofei, shares some insights into the engineering side of replatforming and what occurred in the successful GOMO project delivery process.

Navigating To Meet Key Requirements

First - the concept of replatforming. In the telecom industry, replatforming refers to the process of transitioning from an existing legacy BSS architecture to setting up a new cloud-native digital BSS architecture. This new architecture is deployed and configured to accommodate the customer base from the legacy system seamlessly

Embarking on the replatforming journey, the LotusFlare and Globe team set out to address the three key requirements created at the project's inception:

  • Lift and Shift to Cloud-Native - The first crucial requirement involved replatforming onto a cloud-native SaaS platform capable of executing a rapid "lift and shift" of the entire customer base in a short timeframe, a so-called “flash cut” migration. This requirement aimed to ensure a seamless transition and embrace business agility. 
  • Scalability and Maintenance - The second key requirement focused on providing GOMO with the scalability to support current and future subscriber bases while maintaining all existing functionalities. 
  • Business Innovation Agility - GOMO wanted more control to innovate product offerings with speed and agility, a facet lacking in the pre-existing legacy BSS environment.

Additionally, Globe wanted to improve its business in specific areas, including a reduction in:

  • Time to launch new offers
  • Number of and costs for vendors needed to operate the BSS
  • Mobile self-service UI response time
  • Time for release cycle for new features

Engineering LotusFlare DNO Cloud

Together with Globe teams, LotusFlare Engineering approached the project from “customer experience down”. With a clear understanding of customer expectations, the initial steps involved reimagining and redesigning the customer interface, optimizing workflows, and ensuring that every technical decision made was aligned with the overarching goal of enhancing the customer experience.

It was recognized that the GOMO replatforming would be quite complex and possessed requirements that entailed progressive details. The LotusFlare Engineering team chose the hybrid development mode, combining the agile and iterative model and working closely with the Globe team to ensure the delivery satisfies and meets the customer’s expectations. To cope with the progressive nature of requirements, the team used a type of rolling wave planning method and started with a high-level plan, adding more detail as the project progressed and more information became available.

To streamline the management of the LotusFlare DNO™ Cloud microservice-based architecture code and enhance transparency and code sharing among different teams, the LotusFlare Engineering team used a monolithic repository (“monorepo”), which is a version control repository where all the code is stored in a single repository. This approach facilitated communication and accessibility for all team members. 

Considering Globe had several vendors and to accommodate the future potential service changes, the team adopted the adapter mode that provides transparency to external system calls and is easy to change. Instead of customizing development, the business logic of existing modules was reused as much as possible. Decorator mode and proxy mode were employed to extend functions, enhancing the reusability of each LotusFlare DNO Cloud SaaS component and reducing maintenance costs.

As standard LotusFlare practice, quality assurance included unit tests for each function, stable integration tests and using GitOps for code management. The team implemented delicate error handling for every API, coupled with fault tolerance measures to enhance robustness. Emphasizing service high availability, the team established a monitoring system utilizing Prometheus. Moreover, the LotusFlare Orchestration SaaS component translates intricate flows (like order creation) into plans, facilitating easy recovery from specific step failures.

Additional LotusFlare DNO Cloud SaaS components, such as LotusFlare Product Catalog and Converged Charging, enabled the creation, deployment and lifecycle management of commercial offers and provided real-time voice, SMS, and data charging using the 3GPP standard, respectively. LotusFlare User Manager facilitated onboarding and user lifecycle management with features like authorization, eKYC, role management, and customer lifecycle management. LotusFlare support ensured real-time code changes with a self-managed Kubernetes cluster, enhancing system performance to handle over 8,000 transactions per second after the project went live.

Opening Horizons to New Possibilities

The GOMO experience reveals that replatforming onto cloud-native BSS is not just a change of the platform, it is a transformative journey that redefines and enhances a business. By understanding the challenges, embracing best practices and leveraging the benefits, CSPs can open new horizons with confidence and position themselves for sustained success in the fast-changing telco market.

The success of GOMO can be attributed to several factors but we believe that the LotusFlare “customer experience down” approach enabled this transformative journey, emphasizing technical innovation and amazing improvement of the GOMO customer experience. From commerce and monetization to digital engagement, the integration of LotusFlare DNO Cloud SaaS components helped the Globe GOMO team reduce the time to launch new offers, the number of vendors needed, UI response time, vendor-related operational costs, and the time of the release cycle for new features.

Additionally, the success of GOMO is inherently linked to the strength and robustness of its team both on the vendor side as well as the customer side. LotusFlare believes in the importance of building a good team that possesses diverse talents, skills and a collective desire to attain a common objective. In addition to engineering excellence and quality, building good teams in partnership with customers is a fundamental reason why LotusFlare will continue to deliver valuable business outcomes.

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