All fixed and mobile telecommunications service providers have physical equipment with embedded software that enable them to offer services. Beyond this embedded network software, there are two other kinds of software that are critical to a service provider's day-to-day business: business support systems and operations support systems.
BSS (Business Support System) software applications are used by operations, customer care, and other functional groups to manage business operations focusing on external business such as billing, rating, sales management, customer-service management and customer databases.
OSS (Operations Support System) software applications allow operations and IT personnel to administer the operational processes focusing on the network and services, including service quality monitoring, network and server performance, logical and physical resources management (also referred to as element and network management), and provisioning.
OSS and BSS are the foundation of a service provider's business. They enable telecom service providers to manage their networks, their business and their customer relations. Furthermore, they are a key part of the Service Delivery Environment (SDE), enabling service providers to deploy advanced IMS, IPTV, Web or "blended" services to their customers.