This post is by Lars Lagerström from NSN – Nokia Solutions and Networks.
“More examples please… and let’s hear how you use Reference Architecture at NSN!” Over the last few months, I’ve been happily blogging and fueling debate about the renaissance in Reference Architechture. In previous blogs, I’ve talked about why it makes sense, how it works, and winning industry approval at the GTB innovation awards. But do we practice what we preach and use Reference Architecture to solve our own challenges, you ask? Absolutely. Here’s how.
Our product management teams from two different business lines had been debating at length over how their individual products fit into the bigger picture. Did their products complement each other to form an integrated solution or were they just isolated point offerings? Or worse, did they overlap with each other? And did they actually address real operator needs? Everybody had an opinion, but the big picture was missing. So the teams agreed to give our Reference Architecture a try.
They started by mapping their products to the application architecture; then they identified gaps in the portfolio, ironed out overlaps, reviewed synergies to see what fit together; then they eventually agreed on a common view. The next step was defining reference processes for common use cases and mapping the products to the processes. This gave us all a much better understanding of how to develop our products with a renewed focus on practical use rather than technical merit.
With our operators’ customers, however, we typically do it the other way around and begin with the process architecture. Are there problem areas, bottlenecks? Can the process or parts of the process be automated? How can our products and services be used to improve the process? By mapping the products to each step of the process and then to the application architecture, we can create a commonly agreed view of the solution outlining:
* Take inventory of existing operator assets to be maximized
* Take inventory of gaps that need to be addressed
* Agree on appropriate products/services that will eliminate the gaps
This ensures that the tough questions are asked up front – and that the final solution is more likely to be an accurate fit to everyone’s needs.
Keep the examples coming and stay tuned for more on the topic.