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Cable Information Architecture

Rethinking Data Integration: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Mar 18, 2015

The modern-day cable industry is represented by a complex framework of legacy data systems.   Problems arise in the integration of these systems.

Traditionally, the industry has relied on project-based integration approaches, which are often architected in isolation and removed from a more holistic enterprise view. Cable operator business owners and technology partners are often in a situation to implement solutions that solve their immediate needs in the most pragmatic way possible, without consideration for a larger enterprise-centric strategy.  Project-based integrations provide a simple and quick solution, but at the expense of long-term negative impacts on future integration attempts. These isolated solutions pile up and eventually create a data integration monster that hinders flexibility for future development and creates on-going future costs. The worst part is that every new project feeds the monster a little bit more leading to delays, increasing development costs, and a growing number of headaches.

The landscape is changing as the demand for new products, interconnected systems, and the concept of network virtualization becomes a reality. Cable operators’ product offerings are evolving and extending through configuration and personalization. Opportunities to innovate, rising consumer expectations and new competition are driving an increase in service provider system integration activity. Effective operational support requires more integration, more interfaces, and more data exchange than ever before.   The solution lies in using technologies in conjunction with a shared information framework to create unity across projects, people, and data sources

Technology paired with a cable-centric information framework, which provides an enterprise view of data integration, can put the cable industry on a path to not only stopping the rising cost of point-to-point integration, but also overcoming the on-going cost incurred from past project-based integrations and stepping into the future with a holistic view on data integration.

Taking a Different Integration Approach

Rather than taking the approach of point-to-point project-based integration, greater scale can be achieved through new integration approaches.

Cable operators have an opportunity to move away from building interfaces on a per-project basis and start developing from an industry-wide specification—enabling agile data integration at the enterprise level and across the industry.

CableLabs, in collaboration with our members and leading industry suppliers, has developed a cable information framework that allows cable operators to move away from the previous approaches, and move towards an enterprise view of data integration.

Utilizing a common data architecture, the cable information framework leverages existing standards, foundational data models (customer, products, location, resources, etc.) and agile software methodologies, working directly with cable operators in production environments to build a rich, highly reusable API library.

Impact of a New Approach

With an enterprise information integration approach, similar to those utilized by Google, Apple and Netflix, the systems and the business get the data they need and technology groups are able to provide greater value. Technology teams are able to deploy data services that can be easily reused for all applications without rework, resulting in:

  • Faster Time-to-Market: Increased business agility from delivering data faster
  • Reduced Costs: Improved efficiency from cutting development and maintenance costs
  • Increased Productivity: Lowered risk and improved data quality

Leveraging the cable information framework can accelerate the transition to a more agile view of data exchange. Eliminating point-to-point integrations in favor of a hub-and-spoke architecture will provide greater agility, more reuse, faster product launches, a data-driven business, and ultimately a better customer experience. With an enterprise approach to information architecture, each system can exchange information in a common format comprehensible to all applications. This loosely-coupled architecture will minimize the impact of change by avoiding the per-project approach. Using a cable information architecture will enable rapid prototyping and development and provide agility and reuse.

By Julie Rachel -

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