There is an excellent, albeit slightly outdated article dedicated to the key ideas put in the foundation of the JAIN SLEE specification. This article contains an interesting table that with the technical side-by-side comparison of enterprise and telecommunication applications. We will try here to expand this comparison by considering other aspects including solution and application life-cycle management, external integration environment, business and organizational aspects etc.
The interaction of the system with the user
Telecommunication systems require, as a rule, that their users interact with each other, not with the system itself, as in the case of enterprise solutions. From this perspective, the more transparently towards the subscriber system behaves, the better. In those cases where telecommunication applications interact directly with the subscribers, they use more often the same interfaces as human subscribers do – the voice and the messages (e.g. IVR) because up to the last time these interfaces were in fact the only available for the most part of subscribers. This greatly limits the total length of dialogue between the user and the system, because the excessive communication with the system irritates subscribers.
Interaction with other systems
Typical corporate application server interacts with a limited and pretty fixed set of systems (databases, etc.). Server hosting telecommunication applications can interact simultaneously with multiple external systems and fulfil different roles within the various network technologies. The specialists of the customer responsible for the solution requirements typically understand the network technologies the developed solution will be integrated with much better than the developers of the solution. Usually technical expert working on the operator’s side are network engineers and are not software experts.
The financial nature of intelligent service platforms
In contrast to the corporate application servers designed for IT needs in mind, telecom application servers (like the rest of the operator’s network infrastructure) represent the main production facilities of the operator. If we compare the operator with the confectionary, the enterprise application server will preserve its functions, but the telecommunications platforms will represent ovens where cakes are baked. We leave the reader to assess the business impact of this difference.