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What is eTOM?

Michael Rahm, Director, Product Marketing
September 1, 2021

eTOM is one of the most widely used frameworks in the telecommunications industry. Therefore, in this article we show how this framework is used and what added value it offers companies. We also take a closer look at what advantages eTOM actually has over ITIL – the standard framework of the IT industry.

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eTOM as process standard

eTOM (enhanced Telecom Operations Map) is a framework for enterprise processes in the telecommunications industry. It is a set of standards, models and best practices. The framework consists of three hierarchically arranged levels of processes. Within the top level, company-wide processes, i.e. processes from one end of the value chain to the other, are considered. Subsequently, the processes for the topics strategy, infrastructure and product are examined. At the most detailed level, the processes of specific work areas are then examined and objects are derived.

The advantage of eTOM is that all users use a uniform and independent language. This simplifies the exchange between employees, teams, but also between different locations or even companies. The framework is used for:

  • the exchange about processes
  • the definition of process flows
  • the standardization of communication and interactions
  • the derivation of requirements
  • the identification and elimination of process gaps
  • the reduction of costs in the implementation of IT systems

At the moment eTOM is under development. The aim of this further development is to adapt to current changes in the company, independent of digital services. Thus the framework should be applicable also for the application of Dev-Ops methods. The increasing virtualization and digitization of work in the new version should also be taken into account. The member companies will be involved in this further development. Every company can become a member, even if eTOM is not yet used by the company itself.



ITIL has established itself as a worldwide standard for the IT industry and for the operation of IT infrastructure. ITIL concentrates primarily on processes and their standardization, but without specifications for system implementation. There is, therefore, no specific information available for the meaningful transfer of processes into a system. Therefore, the decision on the system-technical process implementation remains with those responsible for the company. eTOM, on the other hand, supports integration and software development considerably better due to specific specifications and the objects created and facilitates tool selection. Furthermore, eTOM is much more detailed due to these objects and levels. ITIL sees itself as a general standard for the operation of IT infrastructure and is therefore much more general. For this reason, users in the various industries must independently derive insights into their specific field of work. Since eTOM is limited exclusively to the telecommunications industry, it can provide more detailed information and insights than ITIL in this area.

ITIL and eTom can, however, be combined well. For example, sub-processes can be transferred from ITIL and adapted to the eTOM specifications. On the other hand, it is also possible to derive higher-level and more comprehensive ITIL processes from detailed processes modeled in eTOM.

Want to take things a step further? Check out the Appian BPM Guide in which we cover process management in detail. 


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