Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should my company invest in certifying its commercial product, solution or implementation?
- How long does it take to conduct a conformance certification assessment?
- Is there a required minimum set of eTOM business processes, SID ABEs or Open APIs to be included for conformance certification?
TM Forum Role and Responsibilities
- What role does TM Forum play during the assessment?
- What is the scoring methodology for Business Process and Information Framework certifications?
- Will TM Forum issue a press release announcing we are conformant?
- How can I use the TM Froum Conformance Certification Marks?
- Are only suppliers or vendors eligible to earn the TM Forum Conformance Certification Mark?
Product and Solution assessments
- What is the difference between a Product, Solution, Design or Implementation assessment?
- How does Open API conformance differ from eTOM and SID Conformance?
Why should my company invest in certifying its commercial product, solution or implementation?
Conformance certification ensures that the APIs, processes and/or information data model of a vendor’s product or a service provider’s implementation are consistent with the TM Forum’s globally recognized standards and best practices. The benefits of conformance certification include:
- Expanding market opportunities for your product or solution
- Providing proof-points to respond to Service Provider RFx demands for conformance to TM Forum standards
- Making it simpler and more reliable for Service Providers to acquire products and solutions
- Differentiating your product from nonstandard products provided by other vendors
- Reducing the time and effort in responding efficiently to RFx requests
- Making understanding and mapping of customer requirements more effective
- Simplifying overall integration complexity and risk.
- Fostering optimization of your product’s processes and/or information models.
TM Forum Conformance assessments are designed to create an open and dynamic market which enables vendors to differentiate their products and solutions by showing clear alignment with industry best practices and standards that are widely used by service providers.
How long does it take to conduct a conformance certification assessment?
The time it takes to complete the assessment depends on the number of processes, information entities and/or Open APIs included in the scope for certification and the amount of expertise and resources that can be dedicated to gathering and providing the evidence to TM Forum assessors.
Once the scope is agreed and a contract is in place the execution phase of an assessment typically takes 6 to 8 weeks for an average sized assessment of approximately 30 Level 3 Business Process Framework (eTOM) processes and 20 Information Framework (SID) Aggregate Business Entities (ABE). The certification process for Open APIs can be much quicker due to the availability of the tools and resources.
Depending on the amount (e.g. one, two or more persons) and level of expertise of resources available to provide the documents from the organization seeking certification, but the assessment can be completed in a shorter timeframe. Larger scope assessments will normally take longer but increasing in size of a scope won’t necessarily result in a proportional increase in the overall conformance assessment timeframe.
Is there a required minimum set of eTOM business processes, SID ABEs or Open APIs to be included for conformance certification?
Yes, for the Business Process Framework (eTOM), as of 1st of September 2017, the minimum scope required for conformance certification is 5 Level-3 process elements for the Business Process Framework (eTOM) or 5 ABEs for the Information Framework (SID) or a combination of these two to achieve a minimum total of 5 elements.
For Open APIs there is no minimum certification requirement.
What role does TM Forum play during the assessment?
TM Forum subject matter experts from the conformance assessment team are very active throughout the assessment process. They are involved since the early stages of scope analysis in order to help determine the best possible combination of processes and/or ABE’s to be included for conformance certification. They also develop and manage the project plan and provide full support prepare and educate the requesting organization’s team.
The conformance team will also support the initial pilot phase (1 or 2 eTOM Level 3 processes or 1-2 ABEs) to allow the member organization to deliver a trial assessment prior to the formal submission to ensure they use the correct approach and provide the appropriate level of detail.
TM Forum Subject Matter Experts perform the actual reviews which are discussed with the member as required. Once the main reviews are completed (called Primary reviews) there is an additional internal (Secondary) review carried out by another TM Forum subject matter expert who performs a quality check and ensures consistency across all assessments.
TM Forum is responsible for the generation of the final Conformance Certification Report – with some inputs required from the requesting organization (Product/Solution/Design or Implementation Description & Footprint diagrams to visualize the scope of the assessment and certification.
Note that the company being evaluated provides staff to support the technical & coordination aspects of the assessment (this could be the same person).
What is the scoring methodology for Business Process and Information Framework certifications?
Click here to download the scoring guidelines.
Will TM Forum issue a press release announcing we are conformant?
TM Forum will announce your conformance certification on its dedicated conformance webpage and it will provide quotes, supporting data or information.
TM Forum can also provide various announcements via regular communication channels to the TM Forum community about your completed certification. See our Marketing Support information.
How can I use the TM Forum Conformance Certification Marks?
Organizations that complete the conformance certification assessment process and publish their final results are awarded a TM Forum Conformance Mark. These Conformance Marks can be used by Marketing to publicize conformance to TM Forum standards. The Mark may be used on your website, in printed collateral, event signage and sales materials.
Are only suppliers or vendors eligible to earn the TM Forum Conformance Certification Mark?
No, service providers, systems integrators and consulting companies may also seek the Conformance Mark, for an implementation of eTOM, SID or Open APIs. This type of assessment is an excellent benchmark of how successfully and widely the Business Process Framework, Information Framework and Open APIs have been deployed and the resulting gap analysis is useful in terms of both understanding requirements and making recommendations in terms of additional work to be done in APIs, business process design or information architecture.
Furthermore, the resulting detailed report can be used to clearly articulate functional and technical requirements during procurement, development or integration exercises reducing the cost and risk of those efforts. See who has achieved Certification for an Implementation in our the Certifications Awarded page.
What is the difference between a Product, Solution, Design or Implementation assessment?
Both the product and solution assessments are focused on verifying conformance of the processes and interfaces a supplier has built into their commercial offering. Products must be packaged, off-the-shelf and orderable.
A supplier’s offering is considered to be a solution if it meets the following criteria:
- Provides a pre-integrated solution to a specific business opportunity/challenge.
- Developed by a single supplier and covers processes that span more than one domain, e.g. CRM, Billing, Order Management, Provisioning, Activation, Inventory, etc.
- Consists of bundling of individual products and/or parts of products, which when combined together provide the solution.
- An off-the-shelf orderable item, which appears in a supplier’s price catalog and consists of a defined and packaged set of products. Bespoke implementations for specific customers do not qualify as solutions.
- The Solution Conformance assessment can be carried out against both or either of the Business Process Framework and Information Framework.
- Design and Implementation Conformance assessment is mostly relevant to service providers, but it can also be of significant interest to other organizations, such as: system integrators and consulting firms. Design conformance focuses on assessing the level of alignment of a process design or a data model design against eTOM or SID respectively.
- Implementation conformance focuses on assessing the level of alignment of a process or a data model implementation in a real-world scenario, this can be an enterprise operations environment, a process or data architecture blueprint or any other business operations scenario e.g. a project, a program, etc.
How does Open API conformance differ from eTOM and SID Conformance?
Open API certification follows a similar path to the other conformance processes, as can be seen in the Process Overview. The main difference is that the assessment portion is self-applied, it is available to any TM Forum member who wants to certify deployment of a TM Forum Open API. Open API Conformance self-assessment represents the first step in the verification of alignment with TM Forum Open API conformance criteria. It is a self-driven, self-test assessment which, when successfully executed, gets reviewed, formally validated and endorsed by a TM Forum subject matter expert (the member just needs to provide the technical description of the API, specific test results, product name in which the API is implemented and the version number).
Thus, API conformance differs from eTOM and SID conformance in so far as it is self-applied and self-tested, whereas eTOM and SID conformance is assessed by a designated TM Forum assessor and subject matter expert.
Questions? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help