Well, wonder no more. Here follows a short description which "should" hopefully give you a slightly better idea. That is, if you can understand it.
"Service providers continue to urgently require well-automated operations processes whether they are incumbent providers or new entrants and whether communications service providers, application service providers, Internet service providers, etc. Service providers are faced with ever-increasing competition, a market experiencing dramatic change at an unprecedented rate, as well as an industry experiencing significant shakeup. Some are struggling with high growth from a start-up phase, others are struggling with the commoditization of key cash-cow services and, yet others are struggling to move from a manual-intensive, inconsistent, inflexible environment to one that provides significant improvement in customer focus, service quality, unit cost, and time to market. Service providers have to pervasively do business electronically with trading partners, suppliers and wholesale and retail customers. For the growing Mobile, Wireless and IP Services markets, these service providers are focused on quickly provisioning new customers and supporting service quality issues. For all service providers, the drive to introduce both new value-added services and dramatic improvements in customer support is intense. There is an increasing need for Service Providers to manage the integration required in mergers and acquisitions activity due to the consolidation trend the industry is now experiencing." - taken from eTOM Business Process Framework GB921v2.5.
That's pretty much the gist in a nutshell. For those of you more interested in the details, please point your favorite browser at one or both of the following Internet sites: Telemanagment Forum and/or TMFCentral.