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Q&A - Frederick Chui and Divesh Gupta, PCCW Global: MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata APIs for Inter-Provider Service Automation

In June 2020, MEF announced that eight leading service providers were on track to be production-ready in 2Q 2020 for deploying MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata APIs to automate ordering of MEF 3.0 Carrier Ethernet Access E-Line services. Their collective efforts represent a major leap forward in accelerating industry transformation to dynamic, assured, and certified services across a global federation of automated networks.

MEF plans a series of Q&A interviews with service providers who have implemented or are in the process of implementing LSO Sonata APIs. In the first of this series, we sat down with Frederick Chui, Chief Commercial Officer, and Divesh Gupta, VP Technology and Sales Operations, PCCW Global, to discuss their experience and expectations going forward.

What LSO Sonata APIs has PCCW Global implemented and why?

FC: We at PCCW Global are very pleased to be one of the first few service providers to have production-ready LSO Sonata APIs for serviceability, quoting, and ordering of Ethernet services. These APIs are proving to be very useful when it comes to dealing with high volume transactional elements of the telecoms business.

LSO Sonata APIs are vital in an inter-carrier, automated services environment where our customers are expecting to order and consume network services in real-time and on-demand, such as that offered by Console Connect. We foresee that wider adoption of these standardized Sonata APIs would help the ICT community as a whole and pave the path to common information modeling and automated commercial settlements among them.

Can you elaborate on how LSO Sonata APIs fit with your on-demand strategy?

DG: Our digital transformation journey started back in 2017 with our acquisition of Console Connect. Since that time, we have transformed a lot of our services to make them fully on-demand and available through the Console Connect portal, with a focus on software-defined interconnection of data centers, partners, and clouds.

We became interested in LSO Sonata APIs from both a buy and sell perspective – to extend the reach of our on-demand services beyond our own network footprint by leveraging the automated networks of LSO Sonata-enabled partners and also helping our wholesale customers extend their service reach to locations on our network.

What can your customers buy today using LSO Sonata APIs?

DG: We now offer the ability for customers to order Access E-Line services in Hong Kong using LSO Sonata APIs, without ever touching our portal.

What are the biggest drivers for LSO Sonata API adoption?

DG: Internally, the biggest benefit is the operational efficiency achieved by cutting down on a lot of manual work like fetching quotes and turning them around, which can all be automated using these APIs. Our API strategy also helps us break down silos between different departments, unlock data, gain more visibility across the organization, and be more agile.

Externally, the most important factor is to generate new revenue through improved customer experience. We’re looking at improving time-to-market and getting more revenue more quickly. I’ve seen that the portfolio activity actually picks up when you can replace a manual process with an automated one. I’m seeing a significant increase in the amount of requests coming in, and we’re targeting to convert them into orders.

How do you see LSO Sonata APIs impacting the industry as a whole?

DG: I think one good aspect about everyone using very similar data models and standard APIs is to create a marketplace where you can have multiple partner relations on both the buy and sell sides. Realizing the vision of having potentially hundreds of service providers coming in, providing services, and doing settlements in an automated fashion would only be possible if we have standards-based APIs. That’s why we are transitioning away from our own proprietary APIs.

What comes next?

DG: I think it will be a real game-changer when LSO Sonata APIs are adopted to a substantial degree across the service provider community.

In the short term, the benefits to the customers include faster turnaround of quotes, online placement of orders, and faster service delivery.

But if we extend that – if we have LSO Sonata-enabled automation across the full lifecycle, combined with automated settlements enabled by distributed ledger technology (DLT) – then we can have fully on-demand services across multiple providers. So, I think that’s where we are headed with this.

We’re very happy to work with other carriers across the globe to create awareness and spur rapid adoption of these APIs.

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