IBM, Oracle in NBN Co support systems deal

IBM has been selected by NBN Co as prime integrator to deploy a mix of its own, Oracle and systems customised by the National Broadband Network (NBN) wholesaler under a $200 million deal to implement operational and business systems over three years.

Implementation has already begun on the final version of the systems, which will allow NBN Co to onboard and provision retail service providers, bill ongoing access seekers and monitor performance of the $36 billion network.

NBN Co has sought a final version of the systems since releasing a request for tender in July last year and a request for capability last month, in which IBM was selected as the lead contractor.

IBM will be primarily responsible for billing (an Oracle system), assurance and integration of the company’s own DataPower B2B backend. A services-oriented architecture integration will also involve deployment of IBM’s middleware Websphere and Common Information Model suites.

IBM will also be responsible for additional consulting on the project and integration of customised portals developed and used by NBN Co during trial construction of the network for customer interface, contact centre support, customer relationship management, and a wholesale pricing calculator.

According to IBM, the systems integration will take place under the company’s Service Provider Delivery Environment, a framework it expects to speed up deployment.

There are still expectations global telco vendor Alcatel-Lucent will contribute to the deployment by implementing Comptel operational support systems for fulfilment processes. It is believed the company, of which NBN co chief Mike Quigley was previously a senior executive, also plays a role in providing some contact centre systems through subsidiary Genesys.

An NBN Co spokesperson would not confirm Alcatel's participation and said subcontractors were yet to be announced.

A slide shown by Quigley at the Commsday Summit in Sydney this week indicated subcontractors under IBM's lead would also deploy varied Oracle systems including an eBusiness business intelligence suite, asset management, a hosted CRM system and Primavera for enterprise planning management. Several of those deals were first secured in a $23 million deal with IBM and Oracle in April last year.

Total integration, which has already begun, will occur in four capability drops, carried out by an integrated team at the wholesaler.

“We started with an advantage and a disadvantage: We had no legacy system,” Quigley told attendees at the Commsday Summit.

“There’s an opportunity when you do that to blend IT and OSS/BSS systems together.

“We think we’ve now got the right answer. This will be a system in which we have fully integrated our ERP and OSS/BSS together.

"It should provide a very good result for our customers. Hopefully the transaction speeds will be very fast.”

NBN Co head of corporate services and procurement, Kevin Brown, told Computerworld Australia that the support systems deployment would likely be a strain on the company’s resources.

“This is going to be a very fast put it on the ground compared to most software projects,” he said.

“We’re trying to get the trifecta here - integrated so it works, which most multi-domain software packages struggle with despite the promise.

"Get it so that it enables our partners to interface with us easily and cheaply, and to operate it and maintain it cheaply.

“We are absolutely keen to achieve all of those three objectives and I’d have to say at the moment, we think we can get there.”

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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