New MEF State of the Industry Report FAQ: Your Top 5 Questions

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In mid-May, MEF published our inaugural State of the Industry Report – Paradigm Shift: Automating Business Functions Between Service Providers, which is based on proprietary research involving direct conversations with more than 360 professionals from 123+ companies. The groundbreaking report and companion slides can be downloaded for free at www.mef.net/report.

Worldwide adoption of MEF LSO Sonata APIs for automation of business functions between service providers is strong and growing rapidly. At the time we published our report heading into the ITW 2023 event, we had identified 122+ SPs in some stage of the LSO Sonata adoption lifecycle – from interest through to production. Following ITW, we are now tracking 135+ SPs in the adoption lifecycle.

MEF forecasts the number of companies in production with LSO Sonata APIs will increase rapidly from 30 today to 69+ by the end of 2024 before continuing to surge ahead to 94 to 103+ by the end of 2025. Dozens of those in production or committed to production are named in the report.

What does this all mean for industry players? Read the report for extensive discussion of big picture strategic implications, benefits of standardized LSO APIs, LSO API implementation resources, and more. Below, I’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions.

1. Why are MEF LSO APIs so popular? What are the key benefits?

MEF has developed standards-based Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) business process APIs and operational APIs that uniquely provide the high fidelity (tightly defined context), plug-and-play interoperability, and extensibility required to enable service providers to “invest once” and efficiently scale implementations with many partners and services.

This plug-and-play scalability becomes especially important with the emergence of network-as-a-service (NaaS) and other next-generation services that will be made of piece parts of many providers. The networks supporting these services will be fully API-driven and will require standards-based automation between ecosystem players at both the business process and operational levels.

Among key near-term benefits, the MEF LSO-based buy/sell model enables service providers to:

  • Accelerate service delivery, with reports of an average 25% reduction in order cycle times
  • Accelerate time-to-revenue on every LSO API-enabled order
  • Boost revenue opportunities by becoming a preferred provider
  • Improve customer experience and loyalty
  • Migrate toward more competitive, dynamic services
  • Quickly implement a set of LSO Sonata business APIs in 3 to 5 months with the help of LSO solution providers
  • Cost-efficiently scale implementations with many partners and services, especially when using the MEF LSO API Onboarding & Interop Test (OIT) service

2. What business functions and services do MEF LSO business APIs support?

MEF currently offers a robust set of LSO Sonata/Cantata business APIs for address validation, site query, product offering qualification, quote, product order, product inventory, trouble ticketing and incidents, appointment, work order, and billing and settlement supporting Carrier Ethernet and Internet Access services. More business functions and many more services will be supported in the future. As detailed in the report, MEF is committed to supporting nearly 20 MEF-standardized or MEF-endorsed product and service payloads that can be tied to LSO business API envelopes, including wavelengths, dark fiber, SASE, Zero Trust, secure service edge (SSE), SD-WAN, and much more.

3. My company is considering implementing LSO Sonata APIs on the sell-side. What does the buyer picture look like? What about the competitive landscape?

Companies with buy-side LSO Sonata implementations are poised to grow from nine today to between 17 and 22 by the end of 2025. AT&T has been the biggest buyer driving much of the market activity worldwide, but MEF knows of at least 15 other companies that have had buy-side LSO Sonata-related discussions with their seller partners. We expect buy-side activity to pick up significantly over the next several quarters as some early buy-side implementers upgrade to new SDK releases of LSO Sonata APIs and additional buyers enter into production.

Competitive pressures for service provider sellers are poised to increase as (1) LSO Sonata-enabled buyers make clear that LSO Sonata-enabled sellers have become their preferred partners and (2) a growing number of sellers become LSO-Sonata enabled in particular geographic regions. We currently appear on track to see LSO Sonata-based quoting and ordering available in at least 51 countries by the end of 2023.

4. My company is considering implementing LSO Sonata APIs on the buy-side. What does the picture look like in terms of potential sell-side partners?

The very good news for large service provider buyers who may have moved slowly up until now is that they can take advantage of a lot of the heavy lifting that already has been done to establish the strong and growing LSO Sonata market. These buyers have an extraordinary opportunity to get up and running with potentially dozens of sellers within the next couple of years in a fraction of the time – and at a fraction of the cost – it would take with proprietary/customized APIs.

Both new buyers and existing LSO Sonata-enabled buyers upgrading from early SDK releases will be able to take advantage of a large and growing volume of sellers who have implemented or are planning to implement Dolly and Ella SDK releases.

5. Who can help my company implement and transact via LSO Sonata APIs?

MEF’s report includes an extensive matrix on LSO solution providers who are available to assist service providers, enterprises, and other ecosystem participants in developing, implementing, and transacting via MEF LSO APIs. Companies covered in the matrix include: Amartus, Blue Planet, CloudSmartz, Console Connect, CSG, Enxoo, Orchest, Netcracker, Sage, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Synchronoss, and TransUnion. Many of these are profiled in the report.

Other players like Connectbase and Expereo are also committed to helping ecosystem players transact via LSO Sonata/Cantata business APIs.

Learn More

Read MEF’s new State of the Industry Report. Learn more about LSO APIs.

If you have any questions, please contact stan@mef.net.

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Stan Hubbard

Principal Analyst | MEF

As Principal Analyst with MEF, Stan Hubbard engages with executives and other experts from the world’s most innovative communications service and technology companies. His key areas of focus include service automation, SD-WAN, SASE & more related to digital transformation. For more than 23 years Stan has been in the communications industry in various roles including strategic marketing, industry analysis, analyst relations, public relations, global event programming, and public speaking.