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"A broader view that focuses management attention and energy on the issues that impact most directly on the bottom line."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"a targeted approach to automation and optimisation"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"each service deployed is monitored for assurance in the correct context of its implementation"

 

Telecom and Service Management

Telecommunications service providers are in the business of generating revenue through the provision of increasingly advanced and complex services to their customers.

The business systems and processes required to manage the delivery of services to customers have themselves become so complex that they are a management challenge in their own right. The widespread use of advanced operation and business support systems (OSS and BSS), with their requisite capital investments has tended to shift a lot of management attention to issues such as:

  • Return on OSS/BSS investment.
  • Determining whether to leverage commercial off the shelf (COTS) solutions or pursue customised or bespoke (custom built) ones for OSS/BSS.
  • Creating OSS/BSS architectures that ease integration burdens and provide flexibility for managing new services and for technological change both in the network and in the OSS/BSS.

At IBAP we like to examine a broader view that focuses management attention and energy on the issues that impact most directly on the bottom line. We recognise that issues such as the above are important and at times can be the most important issues to be tackled. We also recognise that termed in relation to the impacts on OSS and BSS the issues have become "back of house" - one step removed from the business of generating revenue through delivering valuable services to customers.

The TM Forum's Telecom Operations Map provides a broad framework to model the integration of operational activities into a service provider's business context. At the highest level, the "FAB" model examines the business from the three service perspectives of Fulfilment, Assurance and Billing.

IBAP's principals have many years experience in the areas of service fulfilment and service assurance in the development of technical solutions and applications and in  management. We are ideally placed to help service providers and their management solution providers achieve business integration and optimised business outcomes in these key areas.

Service Fulfilment - Providing service to the customer and getting it right the first time.

Primarily service fulfilment is a process challenge - one of the more complex ones. The end-to-end fulfilment process will typically touch many systems and network components and cut across multiple organisational boundaries. The process must be flexible to cater for multiple service options, various pricing plans, introduction of new services and technological change.

Competitiveness in the telecommunications market means that customer expectations regarding service delivery times do not allow for purely manual fulfilment processes. Key sub-processes must be automated and this adds further complexity through the use of process automation and workflow management systems.

IBAP's approach to fulfilment  focuses on the end-to-end process, decomposes it into sub-processes and prioritises required characteristics of each sub-process such as speed or flexibility. This then allows a targeted approach to automation and optimisation and the use of appropriate systems as tools to achieve the necessary characteristics - never forgetting that there is no more flexible tool than a human being and that their involvement should also be mapped into the process.

Service Assurance - Delivering the promised service availability and performance levels.

Historically service assurance would have referred to the practices termed network monitoring or network management. Essentially this used to mean collecting notifications of fault conditions and performance reports and reacting to them - arranging to repair a fault or replanning capacity to remove performance bottlenecks.

In a world of simpler telecommunications services this was an effective means of performing service assurance - the service was provided by a fixed series of network components and monitoring those components was in effect monitoring the service. Mobility and the sort of dynamic network behaviour seen, for example, in IP network services has changed that association between network components and services and rendered the "old" style methods of service assurance obsolete. Consumer demands and competition are also driving a much less reactive means of maintaining service levels.

Service assurance now is still about data collection, information analysis and information presentation for decision making. The number and diversity of sources from which data must be collected has increased and become less standardised. Decision making needs to be much less reactive and so the information needs to be presented differently - with more emphasis on trends and predictions than on status snapshots and historical reports. Fortunately better and better operation support systems are finding innovative solutions to the data collection and presentation challenges.

IBAP's expertise can help with the remaining challenge - the escalating complexity of the analysis required. The complexity appears to become overwhelming when tackled at a generic level but becomes much more achievable when approached in the context of a specific set of business needs and a specific set of services deployed in a network. Assurance analysis can also be derived from and integrated with the fulfilment processes so that each service deployed is monitored for assurance in the correct context of its implementation.