Contributed by Alejandro Neme, Solutions Architect, Reailize, a B-Yond Company.
The Current Situation
In the 21st century, communications technology advancements have accelerated the pace of change for CSPs. In addition, the pandemic amplified the urgency of profound CSP reinvention by increasing societal reliance on physically distanced communication. The resultant increase in consumer demand further accelerated the necessity for CSP operations modernization. CSPs now need to adopt an IT-like operation paradigm to decrease operational costs, to improve time-to-market of new services, and ultimatelty to increase revenue. On the path to growth at scale, Cognitive AI will enable intelligent network operations to reduce OPEX, improve customer experience and decrease the adverse impact of network incidents on revenue by reducing the time to triage, troubleshoot and resolve customer impacting incidents. Likewise, migration to centralized and open OSS/BSS tools with open APIs will reduce licensing fees and CAPEX associated with individual domain-specific OSS tools by eliminating duplicated tasks and overlapping workflows.
The Resolution Path
In addition to reducing OPEX and CAPEX expenditure, new revenue opportunities are driving CSPs to embrace digital transformation. For example, new revenue streams are emerging thanks to modern technologies like mMTC, URLLC, eMBB. Services such as industrial & vehicular automation, mission-critical broadband, augmented reality and smart city cameras require guaranteed SLAs & OLAs. Best effort Quality of Service (QoS) is no longer an option. In addition, to beat the competition, CSPs must expedite time-to-market for new services and products. To be successful, CSPs must also be agile in service fulfillment and close the loop with the service assurance processes.
The characteristics of traditional, unintelligent CSP operations include:
- Siloed incident management caused by inefficient and overlapping workflows overlaps leading to longer issue resolution times
- Domain-specific OSS tools increase licensing and support costs
- NOC and SOC are flooded with alarms, simply too many to effectively manage, leading to delayed reactions or completely missed incidents
- No way to determine the customer impact of network incidents in real-time, resulting in investing time and effort into fixing problems that have limited or no impact on customers. In parallel, actual customer impacting issues are going unnoticed and unresolved
- A break-fix approach which is completely reactive, often customers have already been impacted by the time the issue is discovered
The adoption of Intelligent Operations will help CSPs overcome many of these challenges.
This blog describes Intelligent Operations from a 3-dimensional perspective, namely, People, Processes and Technology. The progression of the technology dimension will be addressed through the design and enablement of centralized cloud native end-to-end automated and Continuous Assurance. Key objectives that need to be achieved include:
- Understanding customers’ real experience and real perspective of using services, monitoring that continuously and raising anomalies when there are service quality degradations
- Correlation of service degradations against network alarms, performance counters, configuration management and other relevant sources of information to rapidly understand where the problem is occurring
- Learning the patterns from past incidents and apply those learnings to predict future incidents
- Understanding of actual and predicted customer impact of network problems and using that to prioritize those problems based on customer, service and revenues impact
- Automation of the root cause analysis of customer impacting issues, using AI to provide recommendations on how those issues can be resolved and where possible, automation of the resolution of those issues back into the network before customers even realize they have an issue
- Leveraging AI and ML to predict issues before they occur based on the learnings from past events. This enables a CSP to become truly proactive.
On the People pillar, the goal is to populate operational organizations with DevOps-skilled collaborators who can take E2E ownership of service incidents. The biggest hurdle here is to convert the mindset of people from siloed operations organizations to a collaborative, customer-centric way of working. The intended outcome is automated network operation that allows high-skilled Engineers to focus on QoS / QoE by gradually enabling ML/AI to manage manual tasks related to monitoring, detection, alerting, remediation and service fulfillment.
On the Process pillar, intelligent operations will assess and evolve legacy processes. The Legacy approach to network assurance was siloed, inefficient, and riddled with duplication of effort. As the pace of change in the CSP industry continues to accelerate, goals have transitioned towards establishing processes focused on service assurance/fulfillment through a closed-loop approach. The CSP processes of the future must eliminate manual, repetitive tasks and workflow overlap.
The business outcomes from following this approach are:
- Improved customer experience means happier customers, which leads to higher retention rates and increased revenues
- Improved operational efficiency means improved service reliability and results in a CSP being able to do more with less
- Lower operating expenses through automation of issue resolution through integration of recommended actions to 3rd party systems
Reailize supports CSPs on their evolutionary journeys to Intelligent Operations. Our solutions, including ML-based automated anomaly detection, anomaly prediction and root cause analysis, provide our customers globally with solutions that have been field tested at some of the largest CSPs in the world. Our solutions are designed around a cloud-native, open and modular architecture providing flexibility to resolve many of our customers more critical operational challenges.
In addition, our solutions include SME consultancy to assess, plan, and implement the progression of the People and Process dimensions. We offer tailored assessment, implementation, and operating services to align our clients’ processes with the three pillars of Intelligent Operations. Our transformation approach reviews each client’s specific business drivers and leverages GNOC resources, SOC Expertise, and Cognitive NOC capabilities to implement Intelligent Operations in compliance with TM Forum standards and recommendations.
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how Reailize can guide your transition to public/hybrid cloud solutions.