Eight Opportunities to Participate in the MEF Commercial and Business Committee (CBC)

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The MEF Commercial and Business Committee (CBC) focuses on bringing the collective expertise of the commercial, business, and product groups within MEF member companies together to work on SASE, SD-WAN, and LSO initiatives.  

This blog describes the committee’s current activities and outlines the opportunities and benefits of becoming involved in this important work within MEF.  

Current CBC Incubation Groups 

During the July MEF Annual Members Meeting, the CBC agreed to form new, or extend current, Incubation Groups (IGs) in these strategic areas: 

SASE and SD-WAN 

  1. MEF SASE & SD-WAN “North Star”  
  2. MEF Internet Access Services

LSO (Business Automation) 

  1. Onboarding and Interop Test (MEF OIT) Service 
  2. LSO Buyers Group
  3. LSO API Solution Providers  
  4. LSO Portal (Marketplace)
  5. LSO Product Catalog
  6. Service Lifecycles

1. MEF SASE & SD-WAN “North Star” 

Service providers who are offering or planning to offer SASE- and SD-WAN-managed services often need a vendor-neutral vision of where SASE and SD-WAN services are going—a vision based on consensus among service providers with inputs from the analyst community. That vision can inform their internal decision-making on product roadmaps, as well as provide a narrative to present to their enterprise customers to explain the rationale and benefits of adopting MEF standardized services. Furthermore, those service providers also need to understand all the current, and emerging assets in MEF that they can utilize to deliver SASE- and SD-WAN-managed services in the most effective way possible. 

For this reason, the CBC has initiated an Incubation Group called the MEF SASE & SD-WAN North Star, which will provide an overview comprising:  

  • Analyses of the inputs gathered by MEF’s research team from MEF service provider members and the analyst community on the most important use cases and trends for SASE and SD-WAN services;  
  • An explanation of each of the assets being developed or available from MEF in the context of SASE and SD-WAN services (e.g. MEF 70, MEF 90, MEF W105, MEF 82, MEF W117, MEF W118, MEF W119);  
  • An explanation of the potential collective use of these assets to deliver these services.  

In effect, this North Star document will provide the industry with a reference point to navigate towards in this rapidly growing and increasingly complex market. 

Lead Contributor 

Mohit Manral, Colt  

Opportunity for Involvement  

Participation in the IG will be most relevant to the product groups of MEF member service providers and technology vendors with expertise in SASE and SD-WAN, who want to ensure that this North Star document will best fit their needs when using it both internally for roadmap decisions and externally with customers. For more information, please reach out to the CBC co-chairs.

2. MEF Internet Access Services

SD-WAN service providers are increasingly challenged by lack of consistency in terminology, descriptions of offerings, verification of conformance with service-level agreements and the lack of business automation (e.g., requesting/receiving quotes and orders) when buying Internet Access services to serve one or more sites for an enterprise customer. This problem is only growing as SD-WAN services grow both in market size, number of endpoints, and range of supported applications and policies. 

MEF has defined standardized Internet Access services and their attributes in MEF 61.1 and MEF 69, as well as IP Service OAM in MEF 66 and IP SAT in MEF 67. Furthermore, MEF W112 will provide a service model as the basis for an upcoming MEF Internet Access product payload that can be used with all the LSO Cantata and LSO Sonata APIs for business automation. 

These very important foundational MEF standards can be used to address the needs of SD-WAN-managed service providers as they scale up to work with tens or hundreds of Internet Access partners across the globe.  

The MEF Internet Access Services IG is developing a MEF Internet Services Handbook that will enable Internet Access service providers to complete a gap analysis between their terminology and product offerings and those specified in a standardized way by MEF, with references to all the relevant standards. The handbook will also highlight the key issues faced by their SD-WAN service provider partners when they endeavor to establish the suitability of Internet Access services for specific deployments. 

Lead Contributors

Haissam Alaiwan, Orange 

Mohit Manral, Colt 

Opportunity for Involvement

Participation in the IG will be most relevant to product groups within both SD-WAN service providers and Internet Access service providers who want to ensure that the resulting handbook will meet their respective needs and drive adoption of a standardized approach to Internet Access service offerings throughout the industry. For more information, please reach out to the CBC co-chairs.

3. MEF LSO API Onboarding and Interop (OIT) Test Service

MEF is introducing a new service for service providers and others who are implementing LSO Sonata and LSO Cantata APIs. The service will enable implementers of LSO APIs to test their own Seller or Buyer implementations opposite a Buyer/Seller emulator, conformant with the relevant standards, as well as partner-specific configurations. This new service will help Buyers increase their onboarding capacity by as much as a factor of ten, as well as significantly compress the wait time and lower the business threshold for Sellers to be onboarded by their key Buyer partners. 

Lead Contributors 

This service is the direct result of year-long work by the Partner Onboarding and Interop Test Incubation Group led by Michael Kearns of Amartus, Aidan Anderson of AT&T, and Divesh Gupta of PCCW Global. 

Opportunity for Involvement 

General availability is planned for October 2021. MEF members can join this IG and influence the priorities and future features of this service, while learning from market leaders how the MEF OIT service will provide value to the service providers who use the service. For more information, please reach out to the CBC co-chairs.

4. LSO Buyers Group  

A significant and growing number of MEF service provider members have already stated their preference for partners who offer products for sale through LSO APIs. To highlight this important market for Sellers, an IG has been set up within CBC to amplify this message through a variety of MEF channels and to encourage the use of this messaging in service provider RFPs.

Opportunity for Involvement

MEF service provider members who anticipate asking partners to implement LSO APIs to automate and accelerate business with them should consider joining this IG and influencing the messaging. Seller partners should join this IG to raise their profile as Buyers. For more information, or to be included in the LSO Buyers Group, members should reach out to the CBC co-chairs

5. LSO API Solution Providers  

Many service providers interested in implementing LSO APIs either lack the internal IT resources to do so or may have overburdened IT departments with higher priorities. Several MEF member companies already have standalone LSO API solutions that they can use to fast-track implementations for such service providers. MEF has created an IG for technology providers to raise awareness of such capabilities to the industry through MEF’s marketing channels. See the listing of LSO API Solutions Providers and their current LSO API capabilities. 

Opportunity for Involvement 

The IG will work on growing this group of technology providers and introducing them to a wider range of service providers planning on implementing LSO APIs through additional channels. Technology provider members should consider joining the weekly IG calls and reaching out to the CBC co-chairs for more information. 

6. LSO Portal (Marketplace) 

To make it easier for service providers to make implementation decisions, and then implement LSO APIs, MEF is developing an LSO portal for decision makers, IT departments, and API developers to access the latest MEF information, APIs, and documentation. 

CBC has created an IG for developing LSO Portal requirements, design, and marketing. The IG will work in close collaboration with the LSO Committee, through which LSO APIs and related technical standards and materials are developed.  

Opportunity for Involvement 

Participation in the LSO Portal IG is an excellent opportunity to influence the design of the portal, as well as to learn best practices for such platforms from peers. MEF member companies that are considering implementing LSO APIs, and those companies that have experience in creating a company API portal, will have the type of business-requirements expertise to greatly benefit this IG and the rollout of the portal.For more information, please reach out to the CBC co-chairs.

7. LSO Product Catalog 

Another new IG formed at the recent MEF Annual Members Meeting aims to guide the development and availability of product schema to be used with LSO APIs. 

LSO APIs are polymorphic, meaning that they can be considered as a combination of product- or service-agnostic “envelopes” (e.g., product offering qualification, quote, order, billing) and product- or service-specific “payload” schema. This approach means that LSO APIs have tremendous versatility; they can support robustly defined MEF-product payloads, as well as schema developed outside of MEF, but that can be used together with the LSO API envelopes. 

Opportunity for Involvement 

The IG will develop market input for the Digital Services Committee and LSO Committee to determine what services and products to prioritize for development, as well as policies for which non-MEF product schema will be made available on the LSO portal. For more information, please reach out to the CBC co-chairs.

8. Service Lifecycles 

LSO API envelopes (as described above) enable service providers to automate each step in the service lifecycle—e.g., address validation, site serviceability, product offering qualification, quote, order, inventory, trouble ticketing, billing, and settlement. However, service lifecycles are constantly evolving and the need to automate new steps emerges.  

Opportunity for Involvement 

During the recent members meeting, the CBC approved the formation of an IG that will work with the LSO Committee to guide which business and operational functionalities need to be included in the API roadmap and their priorities. For more information, please reach out to the CBC co-chairs


Be In the Industry 

The range of work within the CBC is broad and growing all the time. We invite all our members to take advantage of our projects to engage, input their commercial and business expertise, and influence the direction of MEF. Such engagement will enrich the knowledge and expertise of contributing individuals through collaboration with industry peers and subject-matter experts, and will afford early insight into MEF product roadmaps and broader industry trends. 

Contact: cbc@mef.net 


Daniel Bar-Lev

Daniel Bar-Lev

VP Strategic Programs | MEF

Daniel has been involved in the networking industry for 25 years, holding a variety of positions in RAD Data Communications, as well as co-founding Resolute Networks where he held executive positions.

Representing Resolute in MEF, Daniel served for 3 years as MEF Global Marketing Co-Chair and was elected three times to the MEF Board of Directors.

Since 2010, Daniel has been a senior member of the MEF staff, creating and leading many of the current central programs in the MEF.



 

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