Q&A – AT&T, HGC Global Communications on LSO Sonata APIs & Automation

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In June 2020, MEF announced eight leading service providers were on track to be production-ready that quarter 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.

In October 2020, HGC Global Communications Limited (HGC) announced the successful integration of MEF LSO Sonata APIs with AT&T, thus enabling seamless ordering of HGC’s network services. In this second installment of a MEF series of Q&A interviews with providers, we sat down with Jacqueline Teo, Global Chief Digital Officer, HGC Global Communications, and John Nolan, Vice President of Global Connections and Alliance Management, AT&T, to discuss each company’s respective experiences with implementation.

What problem or inefficiency did the MEF LSO Sonata APIs help address?

JT: HGC’s challenge was to scale quickly and open our platforms to enable digitized experiences. We wanted a ‘create once, use many’ approach to allow us to form multiple digital channels to enhance our customers’ sales and service experiences.

JN: We believe the standardization of business application interoperability is a critical component in evolving the industry towards a cloud-like experience for telecoms services, building towards fully-automated networks that raise the bar for customer experience.

Why choose MEF LSO Sonata APIs and why now?

JT: We initially chose MEF’s LSO Sonata APIs as a standard method to connect to our wholesale partners. However, we have since established repeatable use of LSO Sonata APIs to Enterprise, Cloud and even non-Telco collaborations.

JN: This year, we’ve seen an acceleration with the number of carriers adopting the MEF LSO Sonata APIs and expecting further adoption, driving towards critical mass within the industry. Frictionless commerce and a competitive market requiring faster delivery cycle times become key drivers for API adoption.

What new doors did this implementation open?

JT: Our implementation of Sonata APIs has enabled us to go to market much faster and grow our digital ecosystems with multiple partners, both within the telco industry and in other industries.

JN: It currently allows us to place automated orders for HGC’s Ethernet services where HGC is the facility-based provider. We are in the process of building similar capabilities in the domestic United States where AT&T provides the facilities.

How do these APIs change the way you do business?

JT: This has been a mindset shift for how we service our customers and be led by design thinking. Our mindset shift is still an ongoing journey.

JN: By automating our ability to check service availability and pricing in real-time and by automating the delivery process we spend less time on manual interventions and are able to focus more on the customer experience.

How do the APIs impact the overall customer experience?

JT: Our customers have a much more personal experience that utilizes their own processes which we can accommodate and respond to more effectively. Using standardized APIs, our customers would find it progressively easier to connect to other partners, thereby accelerating global network access and services that benefit all our end consumers.

JN: Customers of our global services such as AT&T VPN, AT&T Dedicated Internet, and AT&T OPT-E-WAN Ethernet services will be the first to experience reduced cycle times and fewer human errors as a result of this API-powered interaction between AT&T and HGC.

How does the implementation of MEF’s LSO Sonata APIs assist you in building for the future?

JT: In the future, HGC intends to further our use MEF’s LSO Sonata APIs to open up more platforms and increase our customers’ and partners’ proximity to more of our services and products in a frictionless way.

JN: We currently expect true interoperability to take many years to complete across all providers. AT&T is actively engaged in expanding the adoption of the APIs both internationally and domestically.

What is the overall impact of implementation…

…for your business?

JN: Achievable benefits depend on several factors and can be different for different providers, but include reduced delivery cycle time, revenue acceleration, and operational savings by removing manual steps.

…for your customers?

JN: Customer experience is enhanced by faster pricing and availability confirmation, reduced delivery cycle times, fewer provisioning errors, and near real-time delivery status updates.

…for the industry?

JN: Adopting an industry standard API implementation benefits in reduced costs of implementing and supporting the API automation for many-to-many carrier interactions.

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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.