Frequently Asked Questions
What is Cataworx?James WhalenCataworx is a software technology vendor providing pre-sales business support system (BSS) applications. Our technology connects buyers and suppliers in the global data connectivity service market and simplifies how communications service providers, wholesale operators, bandwidth infrastructure providers and Telco/Cable carriers buy and sell network connectivity services. Cataworx suite of pre-sales cloud-native applications enable rapid automation of inter-carrier product offering discovery, service eligibility verification, and quote for carriers delivering agile, assured and orchestrated next generation connectivity services. Cataworx pre-sales application suite includes a customer intent-driven, bot-based Community Portal and MEF 3.0 standards-based LSO Sonata Plugin to facilitate API-driven automation and integration of inter-carrier pre-sales operations.
What is the Cataworx Community Portal?James WhalenThe Cataworx Community Portal is an intent-driven, self-service, customer-oriented communication portal enabling Communication Service Provider pre-sales and sales team to collaborate, in real-time, with customers using state-of-the-art private chat rooms. Enterprise customers and partner operator customers simply state their intent using a natural language user interface. Customer intent requests are handled by an artificial intelligence (AI) bot, Catabot, which fulfills their requests. Catabot enables automation of serviceability and quote requests by providing instant responses to customer inquiries. If a customer request is unable to be fulfilled by the Communication Service Provider's product offerings (e.g., off-net scenarios), Catabot searches partner operator federated catalogs to locate off-net offerings which match the customer's request. On-net and partner off-net serviceability checks and quotes are delivered to buyer customers in seconds.
What is the Cataworx LSO Sonata Plugin?James WhalenThe Cataworx LSO Sonata Plugin is a MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata API-compliant cloud native microservice providing Communication Service Providers with a lightweight adapter for their existing Business Support Systems (BSS). The LSO Sonata Plugin provides a transformational mapping between a Communication Service Provider's existing BSS interfaces and MEF-compliant APIs for address validation, serviceability and quoting. This provides a standardized interface enabling buying customers the ability to send and receive MEF-compliant requests and responses.
What problem does Cataworx solve?James WhalenCommunication service providers (CSPs) have regional footprints but often need greater network reach to meet the demands of their end subscribers. CSPs must purchase connectivity services from partner providers to meets these goals. For these reasons, it may take weeks and a large number of emails to get a quote from a partner. In addition, 95% of quotes do not convert to orders. Unfortunately, the sales processes between operators is manual, complex, error prone and inconsistent across the globe. Cataworx delivers a suite of pre-sales cloud-native applications to enable rapid automation of quote-to-cash for CSPs delivering connectivity services.
How is our search feature different from other products in the market?James WhalenNatural language search capabilities simplifies how a communication service provider’s procurement team finds and selects wholesale connectivity products. For example, search criteria might include bandwidth, location, class of service, etc.
Who will benefit from Cataworx?James WhalenBuyers looking for wholesale connectivity services will benefit by:
- Natural language search capabilities simplifies how CSP’s procurement team finds and selects wholesale connectivity products.
- Accelerates quote process from weeks to hours which decreases time-to-service.
- Artificial Intelligence-based offer selection system that simplifies and optimizes the procurement process based on business criteria.
- API-based inter-catalog integration reduces direct labor costs with increased subscriber satisfaction.
- Decreases time-to-revenue by accelerating the quote process from weeks to hours.
- Removes the extra effort involved in translating product specifications by using industry standard terminology.
- Simplifies product definition with a guided experience based on an user-friendly data collection application.
- Near real time insights into buying patterns and future demand provided by an analytics engine.
What types of services are supported?James WhalenCataworx currently supports retail and wholesale (access) Carrier Ethernet business services.
What is a wholesale Carrier Ethernet Service?James WhalenWhile retail Carrier Ethernet services are seen as end-to-end subscriber services, composed of Ethernet Virtual Circuits (EVCs); wholesale, or access, Carrier Ethernet services are seen as intermediate services, composed of Operator Virtual Circuits (OVCs). Wholesale services connect an end subscriber location to another operator via an External Network-to-Network Interface (ENNI). Wholesale services enable Service Providers to reach off-net subscribers via another Operator providing the access service. Wholesale Carrier Ethernet service types are defined by MEF Specifications, in particular MEF 33 and MEF 51.
What is the inter-catalog integration?James WhalenMEF has defined a Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) reference architecture and framework, published as the MEF 55 standard. LSO defines an agile approach to streamlining and automating the lifecycle of end-to-end connectivity services, such as Carrier Ethernet services. The architecture defines functional management entities and their interface reference points. The reference points are further defined by sets of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to characterize interactions between the functional management entities. These interfaces are divided into two types: north-south interfaces and east-west interfaces. North-south interfaces are generally contained within a single Operator management domain and represent the flow of information and operations between higher layer Business Support Systems (BSSs) and lower layer network elements and network functions. Think of information that flows up and down a management stack. On the other hand, east-west interfaces are generally distributed across Operator domains. For example, Business Support Systems across multiple Operator domains can communicate across an east-west interface. Think of information that flows left or right towards the equivalent management functional entity in a different Operator's management domain. The MEF LSO reference architecture and framework defines both north-south and east-west interfaces. The east-west interface at the Business Support layer is named the Sonata interface and supports management and operations interactions between network providers for business functions such as quoting, ordering, billing, and trouble management. Cataworx implements the Sonata east-west interface for business functions including quoting. For example, multiple instances of the Cataworx Catalog, deployed into two different Operator domains, exchange management and operations information via a set of east-west APIs. In effect, one Cataworx Catalog can query another Cataworx Catalog.
Does Cataworx provide professional services?James WhalenCataworx provides professional services in the areas of data collection, service modeling and data migration to support our customers through product offer definitions, based on their current data sources. We do the heavy lifting in modeling services per MEF standards. Our professional services consultants have extensive knowledge and experience with MEF standards, service operations, and Software Defined Networking. Please contact us for a quote on our professional services.
Does Cataworx provide data analytics?James WhalenCataworx is fully instrumented to securely capture all important aspects of the pre-sales process. Our Analytics Engine provides actionable insights into the pre-sales process. For instance:
- Are there Product Offerings your partners search often that you don't offer?
- Are there Product Offerings you have that no partner ever searches?
- What Product configurations are the most/least popular?