Home Resources Blog August 2018

So Long, QuEST Forum – Hello, TIA!

01 August 2018
TL 9000 certified organizations may be aware that the standard’s creator, QuEST Forum, has merged with TIA. What is TIA, and what does it do? What changes will this mean for users of TL 9000? And will there be advantages?

What was QuEST Forum and where has it gone? QuEST Forum was founded in 1998 as a global ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) trade association, with a membership comprising service providers (i.e., carriers), OEMs and other suppliers both large and small, certification bodies (such as NQA), training bodies, and other liaison organizations. (“QuEST” was an acronym standing for Quality Excellence in Suppliers of Telecommunications.) These member organizations worked together to provide innovative solutions to global industry issues.

QuEST Forum unified the ICT community through its TL 9000 quality management system (built on ISO 9001:2015 and specializing on ICT), performance benchmarking, and special initiatives addressing current industry needs such as sustainability, customer centricity and network function virtualization (NFV). These activities have led to other product offerings:

  • QuEST Sustainability Assessor – an online sustainability assessment tool that lets companies rapidly self-assess and benchmark their sustainability and corporate social responsibility programs against industry best practices

  • QuEST WCX – a method of subjective quality measurement of a carrier’s mobile service, based on real feedback from real customers

  • QuESTMark: Benchmarking as a Service – a platform which provides the ability to rapidly benchmark virtually anything

In September of 2017, QuEST Forum merged with TIA. The “QuEST Forum” name is now being sunsetted; but its initiatives, activities and products (including the TL 9000 standard) continue under the umbrella of TIA’s Business Performance Community (BPC).

WHAT’S TIA?

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) brings together communities of interest to shape solutions, facilitate programs, and provide products and services that enable high-speed networks and accelerate next-generation ICT innovation across all markets. Its global base of more than 260 member companies (including ICT manufacturers and suppliers, network operators and service enablers, distributors and system integrators) performs these activities through four verticals:

  • Technology – five technology-based communities of interest (Network Assurance, Device Assurance, Central Office to Data Center Conversion, Edge Data Centers and Smart Buildings) that convene to solve unique challenges, shape solutions and provide strategic guidance to enable next-generation products and services across markets

  • Government Affairs – engaging with policymakers to advocate for policies that encourage innovation and investment in network infrastructure, maintain open markets around the world, and deliver wide societal benefits

  • Standards – as an ANSI accredited SDO (Standards Developing Organization), TIA, through nine engineering committees, develops guidelines for a broad range of products and networks, in collaboration with IEC, ISO and ITU

  • Business Performance – the TIA’s quality management and sustainability community: the successor to QuEST Forum

What has changed?

So far – not so much. 2018 has been a transition year. Existing members of QuEST Forum continue on as members of TIA’s BPC, and full TIA members are, of course, still TIA members. A single, new TIA membership and fee structure is expected in 2019.

QuEST Forum’s Leadership Team is now TIA’s Business Performance Community Committee (BPCC). The members of QuEST Forum’s Executive Board are all now, by and large, members of TIA’s Board. The QuEST Forum staff have all taken on analogous roles within TIA:

Staff member

Old QuEST Forum role

New TIA role

Fraser Pajak

CEO

COO – but since retired

Ken Koffman

CTO

SVP, Standards & Technology

Rebecca McVeigh

Chief of Staff

Senior Director, Communities

Donna Reed

Director, Events and Finance

Director, Events

Leigh Ann Perkins

Manager, Membership & Administration

Manager, Member Relations


In terms of what NQA as a CB, our clients, and our auditors do, nothing has changed. TL 9000 remains in effect and will continue to evolve according to the TL 9000 Roadmap. The existing work groups, such as Integrated Global Quality (IGQ) and Oversight (OSWG), along with their sub-teams, remain established and active.

The QuEST Forum and TL 9000 websites are still out there, providing the same information, resources and functionality as always. TL 9000 certified organizations continue to maintain their profiles and submit their measurements the same way they always have.

Are there any advantages to the merger?

QuEST Forum’s initiatives and products (including TL 9000) can now enjoy better and broader awareness and marketing thanks to TIA’s significant media and conference resources.

TIA, with its 260+ member companies and its broad range of activities, was a bigger organization than QuEST Forum (with under 150 member companies and a narrower focus). Organizations which were active in QuEST Forum now have an expanded array of initiatives across TIA’s communities for potential participation. They also have greatly enhanced marketing and networking possibilities: there was very little overlap between the TIA and QuEST Forum member bases; so the former audience of under 150 companies has now grown to about 400.

Importantly, the TL 9000 standard itself stands to benefit from this expanded network: it has the opportunity to become better and much more broadly known within the ICT industry, potentially leading to more companies adopting it and driving it down their supply chains to help maintain and improve the quality of our ICT products, networks and services.

Author: Rick Hill, TL 9000 Program Manager