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Every business has standards and best practices, even the sprawling, rapidly changing telecom industry. The most widely used and accepted set of standards for this sector of the world communications market is ETOM, which stands for Enhanced Telecom Operations Map. The enhanced part of the title illustrates the focus on cutting-edge telecom technologies, such as DSL, broadband, and Internet-related telephony. As with other sets of business standards, ETOM is regularly updated. The current version is Version 4.5.
At its most basic, ETOM is a blueprint for telecom companies to implement enterprise practices. Topics are generally broken down into three groups:
- Strategy, Infrastructure, and Product: including marketing and offer management, service development and management, resource development and management, and supply chain development and management
- Operations: including customer relationship management, service management and operations, resource management and operations, and supplier/partner relationships management
- Enterprise Management: including strategic and enterprise planning, enterprise risk management, enterprise effectiveness management, knowledge and research management, and financial and asset management.
ETOM can also describe a framework for developing business practices that follow a customer-focused pattern, such as marketing, initial sale, customer support, billing, after-service support, follow-up customer support, and so on. Strategies within ETOM suggest the most effective methods for achieving success in all of these areas. Such areas as marketing and billing are not usually associated with the same level of importance as the more technical aspects of customer support, but ETOM treats all aspects of the process equally, encouraging telecom businesses to do the same, and it's not just the business-to-customer relationship that is addressed here. ETOM also includes strategies for generating, maintaining, and improving business-to-business relationships.
ETOM is the product of the TeleManagement Forum, a nonprofit organization that is, in turn, part of the International Telecommunications Union. ETOM was developed in 1995 through contributions of more than 35 TMF member companies and was formally approved by the ITU in 2004. ETOM is also a guiding light in the development and use of technologies in NGOSS (New Generation Operations Systems and Software) and a worthy companion to ITIL, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library.