When our own Tony Poulos met DGIT CEO Greg Tilton at the recent DTW event in Nice, hosted by the TM Forum, there was, as you might expect, a lively debate.
The first surprise for Poulos was that DGIT had just bought a billing company (Inomial). With a long and noble lineage in billing, you can understand his surprise that anyone would want to buy a billing company (lol etc) and the answer, according to Tilton, is to put the finishing touches to something that was showcased at a TM Forum Catalyst Project.
Several years ago, some industry pundits were wondering whether the TM Forum event in Nice provided much in the way of value apart from its Frameworx and Catalyst Projects, so the consensus went. So, the TM Forum, instead of trying to beef up the whole event, concentrated on making the Catalyst Projects the place to be.
The theory was sound. Everyone loves a ‘proof of concept’ and everyone loves being able to examine one, ask questions and discuss whether the approach is right for them.
Which is exactly what happens.
And it is exactly what DGIT embraced last year. The company’s offering is more than just telco CPQ, better or faster or cheaper.
It is, to quote the website:
“all about the flow and this seamless transition experience of Design to Runtime, Quote to Order, Orders to Parts, to Network to Partner is rarely achieved with disjointed discrete products or with the dated technology so common in our market”.
As a result DGIT won a prestigious TM Forum Excellence Award in the Open API Category. The company won it for their work on Zero Touch Partnering, which is an initiative that supports telcos as they move towards being platforms for innovation. The experiment involved trialling the scenario where a buyer does not know the supplier and explores how that would work.
As a result of this, DGIT is well advanced with proof of concepts and a partnership with Telstra, where the goal is to deliver a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) solution, one whose foundation stone is the Catalogue and involves an end-to-end approach.
A real difference here is that DGIT is actively looking to recruit competitors to the cause. Going beyond the aspirations of even the Catalyst Project idea, DGIT believes that proving partnerships work is the only way to success. As Tilton says, as he continues to try to get competitors to publish and share APIs, “if you only publish yours, then you’re an island. If you get others to publish and share their APIs, you are soon not an island and that is the goal”.
There are obviously challenges still and many of those (as usual) involve legacy. As Poulos says “it is quite the challenge to adapt and use open APIs around old systems.” A challenge, it seems, that Tilton embraces.
Tilton has ambitions for telco transformation and is taking a brave approach to make collaboration more than just something that is ‘on trend’ at the moment. And with the customers that he is collecting it will be interesting to watch his progress.
And just to prove that he is up for anything, Tilton has his sights on “doing something very cool with the Eurovision Song Contest”.
It is a reasonably safe bet that the DGIT story will continue…