Service Delivery Platform Landscape

Following in the series of market landscapes such as On Device Portal, Fixed Mobile Convergence, Service Management, and a very high level one on Service Delivery Platform (SDP).  I’m presenting a richer SDP landscape, however, it is challenging to compare SDPs because of the vast scope of functionality and the numerous definitions that exist.

A definition I generally use is: a service delivery platform (SDP) is an IT-based environment enabling service creation that does not rely on a specific network element enabler. This need comes from two major trends: the need to cut costs in the service creation process; and the need to enable third-party companies to provision services through the service provider environment.  Typically, most SDPs include: a service creation environment, a service orchestration environment, a service execution environment and third-party management.  These definitions work well with architects, but for rest of us in the industry, it’s still a little too abstract.

In the old SDP landscape I divided the suppliers according to their backgrounds, Network Equipment Providers, System Integrators or IT Vendors.  This is useful in understanding where a supplier is coming from in their SDP proposition, but it does not help in understanding what’s out their and who’s suppling what.  So to that end, I have a new SDP landscape.  This breaks down the landscape across the main suppliers and what types of delivery platform they supply.  There are many more than in this list, my objective here is to show a representative sample.  Now the delivery platforms break down into two main segments content delivery (CDP) and service delivery (SDP), think of CDP as a subset of SDP.

The types of CDP are:

  • Managed Mobile Content: a CDP run and possibly hosted by the supplier on behalf operator which suppliers ring tones, wall papers, music, videos, games etc. to customers’ mobile phones.
  • Mobile Content: a CDP that is supplied to the operator who installs and runs the platform which suppliers ring tones, wall papers, music, videos, games etc. to customers’ mobile phones.
  • IPTV: a CDP for the STB (Set Top Box) over a broadband network.

The types of SDP are:

  • Messaging: SDP focused upon premium messaging services.
  • SIP application server: SDP focused on voice applications
  • Business: SDP focused on business services and integrating into business processes.
  • Real-Time charging: SDP component that enables real-time charging for services.
  • 3rd Party Communications and Messaging: The OSA OSE, Parlay, JAIN SLEE, platforms.
  • Service Creation /Management: SDP component focused on the operation processes for creating and managing services
  • Unified SDP: An SDP created specifically to unify all the previous categories including CDP into a consistent framework.  Critical features include being standards based, unified policy management, and extensive pre-integration.

Hopefully this SDP landscape sets out why you see so many suppliers claiming to have SDPs, they’re generally focused on specific service silos or capabilities.  And that in fact there are very few SDP suppliers out there which really do unify service delivery across an operator’s portfolio.