Wipro’s Vinay Devadatta, Practice Head of Innovation and Industry Relations, discusses the changing tide away from network focus and toward customer need. He’ll be part of a panel discussion at TM Forum Live! Asia in Singapore next week about how to optimize service performance. Register now to attend.
Many of today’s service provider operations and systems are largely network-focused, while actual management of services is limited. To be winners, communication service providers (CSPs) need to adapt to the fast-evolving business landscape by focusing their efforts on customers and their expectations, and they must do this efficiently and at minimal cost. This is essential in a landscape where customer experience and loyalty take center stage and competition from over-the-top (OTT) players is fierce.
Traditional service management solutions looked at customer service solely within the scope of a network, where service level agreements (SLAs) were based on fulfillment and assurance information from the network. The concept of class of service (CoS) – monitoring and managing network traffic by grouping it – was used to benchmark different types of services.
The scope of service management was limited to service access points to keep track of multiple channels of communication over the network connection. Traditional service management approaches are also rife with silos between fulfillment and assurance, with limited information shared amidst the two.
Concentrate on the customer
With the explosion of customer service focused competitors (such as the OTT companies), the increasing emphasis on customer perception, internet of things (IoT) etc., and the push for using resources as efficiently as possible, CSPs will need to rethink this restricted approach to service management. They must take into consideration how when and why the service is used, how customers perceive the service, and the ever-growing communication service needs. Only then can they start to strike the necessary balance between a satisfied customer and efficient usage of limited network resources.
It is also important that the service management solution itself is lightweight, able to be automated and, of course, efficient. Key findings from a previous TM Forum Catalyst, Cross layer integration and API: Orchestrating digital customer experience shows that service instance-specific network information from the resource management layer, contextual information about a service instance, and customer expectations from the service can significantly increase the capabilities of service management to ensure a balance (see figure below).
Clarity through collaboration
CSPs, in their pivotal role, must as well as understanding and addressing their own service objectives, integrate with other verticals (usually who they’re partnering with) and exchange service management information. The TM Forum Catalyst, 5G service operations: Closed loop assurance of 5G network slices, showcased the nitty gritty of integrating with different verticals. Providing these vital integration points through industry standard APIs (such as TM Forum’s own Open API) will be critical for service management applications to enable CSPs to penetrate into different industry verticals.
Optimizing an end-to-end service management solution would certainly require a rethink for CSPs. Considering the sheer number of interactions, it should be able to process different types of data and provide actionable inputs which can drive closed loop actions within CSPs and integrate with automations in CSPs’ partners’ own solutions.