Managing managed services

Managed services contracts are a big source of revenue for many big telcos. There are many variants on what a managed service is but l’ll loosely define it here as a contract between a service provider and an organisation where the organisation delegates some responsibility for running their communication network to the CSP. It could be for managing telephony, LAN, WAN, etc on behalf of the organisation.

In many ways, this type of contract makes sense as it allows the organisation to focus on their core business, which could be banking, mining, manufacturing, etc.

Generally the scope of the managed service is restricted to operations of the network. It could be so much more, but we’ll have that conversation another day.

Each organisation has their own unique characteristics such as network, reporting, processes, team structures, etc. Despite this, I’ve been surprised at how little OSS re-use has been applied across managed service contracts at the carriers I’ve assisted.

I’ve been surprised that architectures, processes and even OSS products have been built independently, almost from scratch for each customer. There seems to be so much opportunity to build a templated management solution for all managed services contracts that are then tweaked to meet the unique needs of each.

Each new managed services contract would be dimensioned, stamped out from the template and then configured for specific needs.

I’m sure most OSS vendor offerings could be architected for templated builds, just like they are when set up to serve multiple environments (eg PROD, TEST, DEV, etc) but I’ve never seen this as a distinct pitch / offering from any vendors interestingly.

The benefits of a “building block” OSS for managed services are numerous, but ultimately lead to more efficiency and consistency,

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2 thoughts on “Managing managed services

  1. I find this interesting. Does it not seem almost myopic in that each Carrier seems to believe that they are the only ones that do this sort of thing?

    In Managed services, there is a prevalence to attempt to manage by node and not by value. Part of this approach is directly indicative of the implementation of a tools only approach. The real value for the customer comes in process. If you cannot highlight the process, its value add, and its differentiation in service, you are just selling a tool, not services.

  2. Hi Dougie,

    Brilliant points.

    To keep the initial post short, I left out a few aspects of these carrier implementations that are almost like satellite OSS orbiting core OSS at the telcos. The core OSS still handles things like provisioning and prioritising field work activities across the whole organisation. The satellite OSS should be doing the exact tasks that you’re talking about, handling services. To use a rough analogy, the core could be based on their existing eTOM models, whilst the managed-service implementations could be based on ITIL/ITSM, handling everything relating to services for the specific customer.

    In a way, it’s a two-layer multi-tenancy model.

    You are right on the money with your point about process/service being the value-add, not the tools. In fact, I should probably write a follow-up post to cover this in more detail. Thanks for your insights Doug!

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