London (June 14, 2018) – Sigma Systems today announced that it has won the Mayors Challenge Award for Aging Population at the Global Smart City Summit in Liverpool.

As the winner of the Aging Population Challenge Award, Sigma will partner with Liverpool City Council and deploy its Sigma Catalog on a trial basis in Liverpool through a formal partnership with the city council and its partners, to respond to the challenge of an ageing population.

Tim Spencer, President and CEO of Sigma, commented “We are honored and excited to win this prestigious award and we look forward to working with the city of Liverpool on solutions that will benefit the city’s aging population. Cities undergoing digital transformation are facing similar challenges as Communications Service Providers (CSPs) undergoing digital transformation. Municipalities are making good progress at connecting and automating services for citizens but as the number of data sources grows and the size and complexity of the data mushrooms, having a strategy for data management and data access around the services offered to citizens becomes increasingly important. The Liverpool City Council has recognized how Sigma Catalog can help them meet this challenge.”

The Global Smart City Summit – Real Solutions for Cities is taking place during 2018 International Business Festival in Liverpool from 12th – 28th of June. The Conference covers groundbreaking innovations that Smart Cities are implementing all over the world.

For more information about Sigma’s smart city-ready products and services, please visit www.sigma-systems.com.

About Sigma Systems (www.sigma-systems.com or Twitter @SigmaSystems)

Sigma Systems is the global leader in catalog-driven software solutions for communications, media, and high-tech companies. It serves over 80 customers in 40 countries with its award-winning products.  The company’s portfolio spans enterprise-wide Catalog, Configure Price Quote (CPQ), Order Management, Provisioning and Insights products in addition to offering a core set of services including professional services, cloud services, and managed services.  Sigma utilizes an agile approach to implementing its B/OSS products for its customers.  Sigma has offices in North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific, with technology and integration partners globally.

Contacts:

Chloe Purcell
Head of PR
Milner Strategic Marketing Ltd.
+44 1473 633123

Glenn Gibson
VP Marketing
Sigma Systems
+1-416-827-6851

I’ll have my first chance to visit Liverpool this coming week.  I’ve been to Manchester, Preston and even Blackpool (several times, in fact) but never Liverpool.

I’m not visiting just to go to find Penny Lane or snap photos in front of The Cavern Club. I’ll be there do something a bit more contemporary – but less musical – namely, to be part of the Smart Cities Realized Summit which focuses on smart city case studies of real and deployed/deployable solutions from cities around the world. The summit is part of The International Business Festival which happens every two years in Liverpool, attracting 30,000 people from various parts of the world.

Sigma will be there because we’ve put forward two solutions for the Mayor’s Challenges, which is a competition to implement Smart City ideas by signing contracts with the City of Liverpool as well as share vital information with all the other cities in attendance.  The two areas we focused on were:

  • Smart Transport – How do we enable sustainable, low carbon, equitable travel in a city? How do we overcome current and future travel issues?
  • Ageing Population – How do we respond to the challenge of an ageing population? What changes does a city need to take into account? How can social care be delivered more effectively?

In developing the response to these challenges, two points jumped out when it comes to Smart City applications.

First, cities are going to be dealing with a lot of data – and I mean a lot of data – as they start to create and then deliver smart services to their citizens.  From our experience with service providers, too much data can easily become a problem that can get out of hand.  It also, conversely, presents a great opportunity, if managed well, to gain insight from data to improve operations and services themselves. Definitely, cities must be aware of and be ready to manage a greatly increased set of data.

Second, as technology advances to enable more and more services, there’ll be lots of new technology that needs to be co-ordinated by cities, who probably don’t have a great deal of expertise in doing so.  Thus, cities will buy services and equipment from communications services providers and cloud services providers like AWS to enable smart services – all of which still needs to be understood and managed.

The core of our solution for Smart Cities, Sigma Catalog, excels at the understanding, design and management of such services, especially in a federated model, making services shareable among all people within a city administration. In the use cases of transport and ageing population, we’re proving that Sigma Catalog will help them co-ordinate and figure out what services city administrators have access to and what they can offer their citizens, and then innovate on top of those. Just like we’ve done with communication services providers around the world.

I’m excited to finally see Liverpool (sorry Blackpool) and I’m excited to find out if we’ll be able to work with the city of Liverpool to trial and prove some of the Smart City use cases.

Drew Jordan
drew.jordan@sigma-systems.com
Director of Product Architecture
Sigma Systems

Sigma is passionate about helping communications service providers to be more agile when they create, sell and deliver their products and services to their customers – it’s what our products and services are famous for and we’re very proud of all our service provider partnerships and hard work within the industry.

Now, something else that’s very cool has happened – our Sigma Catalog and Sigma Order Management products have been chosen by a well-known automotive manufacturer to form the foundation of a platform that will sell and deploy connected car services. We hope to announce this formally when the time is right and the project is well underway.

I say it’s a cool development for three reasons.  First, it’s evidence of something that we in Sigma have suspected for a while – that the problems in creating, selling, and delivering digital products and services are essentially similar across industries.  There will be some differences that we’ll need to be ready for, but our experience with over 80 service providers should help as we serve the automotive manufacturer.

As we have seen within service providers, systems and processes must have the right capabilities to create products and services with agility – that’s where Sigma Catalog plays such an all-important role.  If you have the ability to configure an offering in any way you can imagine it – without having to touch a line of system code or bother IT teams to achieve it– you’re automatically going to be more agile and ready to respond with and monetize a new digital service.  Sigma strongly believes that managing the lifecycle of product, service and resource data in a unified and distributed catalog will bring the same benefits to the automotive manufacturer selling digital services as it does to the service provider.

Second reason: Sigma will again be involved in “growth beyond the core”, which is a fundamental part of our goal to help enterprises get their next business model done now.  From our perspective, an automotive manufacturer creating, selling and delivering digital services is a good example for service providers of how leaders in other industry are trying to adapt and find growth beyond their core set of products and services.  At Sigma, it’s our view that growth in the age of living digital services will come from growing beyond their “core” services, while still taking advantage of their traditional services.  Now we’ll be part of this “growth beyond” in a dynamic and changing part of the automotive industry.

Third and finally, it’s Sigma’s first partner in the automotive industry and a move into a new industry – which is always exciting!  In working with the automotive manufacturer and the implementation partner, Sigma will, as in any engagement, bring this learning back to our service provider partners and use it to improve the products and services that we provide them.

Stephen Krajewski
stephen.krajewski@sigma-systems.com
Director of Product Marketing
Sigma Systems

The mobile communications revolution is driving the world’s major technology breakthroughs. This year’s Mobile World Congress was titled “Creating a Better Future” which focused on a variety of areas including IoT, 5G, Future Services Provision, The Network, The Digital Consumer, Tech in Society, Content & Media, Applied AI and Innovation. From wearable devices to connected cars and homes, mobile technology is at the heart of worldwide innovation. As an industry, it is connecting billions of people to the transformative power of the Internet and mobilizing every device that is used in our daily lives.

But all of this technology and transformation requires stable foundations on which to build, and CSPs are in a race against time to ensure their architecture can support their digital evolution, giving their customers the smoothest cross-platform, multi-channel experience possible. Most are struggling to get their B/OSS to help them deliver the right create-sell-deliver experience that ultimately drives the monetization of new digital services.

Traditional full stack B/OSS vendors have failed the industry by creating closed and disconnected products suites, which have been focused on the back end, not the upfront customer interface. Over the last decade, customer experience has finally become the focal point, along with customer journeys and the brand experience. While clearly those elements are important, what has been forgotten is the key driver of customer experience – namely, how customers interact and experience a CSPs products and services throughout the create-sell-deliver process.

This Digital Age is necessitating a step change. There is no “make do” option anymore. “Digitally native” companies are not hampered by legacy infrastructure – they are fanatically focused on the products they sell. For them their business IS THE PRODUCT. Their ability to make the process of creating new offerings, selling them dynamically into the channels that suit the preference of the buyer in a seamless and consistent manner is greater than a CSP’s current ability to match that model. It is time for CSPs to “do or die” in terms of adapting, evolving and changing the way they do business.

Technology vendors have a responsibility to ready their CSP customers and help them to stabilize their business architecture in preparation for the digital onslaught that is galloping toward them. Sigma knows that today’s digital service environment necessitates a catalog-driven approach. Being catalog-driven represents a change in focus, and requires a fundamental redesign of how an organization mobilizes and operates around defining, launching, operationalizing, selling, delivering and supporting products to better meet customer expectations. It encompasses every element of the commercial, functional, technical, and physical aspects of a product or service.

By using a catalog-driven architecture, Sigma is helping to support a better future for its customers, so that they in turn can create a better future for their end users. Without it, all the effort in creating agile networks, and launching new services will never be fully realized.


Tim Spencer, President & CEO, Sigma Systems speaks with Mike Barrell, CEO & Founder, Juliet Media

We’re at interesting time in the development of B/OSS for CSPs. Just recently, the TM Forum released a whitepaper on Open Digital Architecture (ODA), which will be the blueprint for the industry to develop architectures that will capture revenue from future digital services. It’s great, not only because Sigma has been involved in the effort from the start, but because the industry is thinking deeply about architecture in a collaborative way, something which it did not do 25 years ago.

And that’s how I think about microservices – something that requires deep thought and pragmatic consideration before jumping on the bandwagon. We’ve seen many things that have been hyped and hailed as saviours for the industry over the years because many people didn’t truly understand what they were. Similarly, there’s a danger that’s happened to microservices.

In effect, microservices are the next iteration of service-oriented architectures (SOA), which in turn grew out of the development of application programming interface (APIs), which stemmed from the use of enterprise service bus (ESB) for integration and so on.

Microservices architecture allows software to be decomposed and containerised, the result being that a large application can be written as a series of modules. As each module is written to support a specific task using a well-defined interface to communicate to other modules, there is an opportunity to re-use some modules for other services in a portfolio, which can standardise and speed up new product development. In short, microservices enables you to scale, are easier to use for new business models, and provide developers the choice of frameworks for developing applications and its business functionality.

When applying a microservices approach to legacy B/OSS, you can see that it’s a very good idea – let old legacy billing, mediation, and CRM systems remain where they are and overlay them with applications that expose services at a granular level so that other systems – legacy or otherwise – can readily use their capability. The benefit to CSPs: data will be managed and processed more efficiently, and you’ll get more out of your legacy investment while avoiding costly change requests for new functionality of old systems.

For its part, Sigma has always had a service-oriented and agile overlay approach at the core of its vision for B/OSS architecture. (And good news: this concept is part of the ODA). Our solutions, having been architected using a microservices approach, currently offer small modules of services to other Sigma products and other non-Sigma constituent applications. So, when it comes to microservices, we say, “bring it on” and we’d advise any CSP that they should make sure all systems implemented from now on have a microservices approach.

However, choosing to pursue microservices has its risks as well as potential benefits – what’s needed is a common-sense approach. In our view, not all applications need to be broken down into small services. It takes time, effort and resources to pursue a microservices framework so one should consider the likelihood of a CSP business actually needing and gaining benefit from smaller service capabilities of a given application to be exposed. Having done this for Sigma Catalog, our advice is to think deeply about whether an application will need to expose their capabilities.

Microservices are not the saviour of legacy B/OSS, but they are definitely the right thing to consider as CSPs develop their architectures for the provision of digital services. Don’t microservice an application just because you can – microservice an application with an idea of a valuable business application in mind.