Managing the managed services

Managed services are one of the areas where CSPs still hold sway because they are able to provide the diversity of voice, date, video, collaboration, etc and geographical coverage that the niche players can’t. As such, this is a very important revenue source to CSPs where their old cash-cows (eg voice, ISDN, etc) are drying up. CSPs are increasingly offering services that go beyond the old network termination demarcation point and into the customer’s LANs (Local Area Networks) and processes.”
From an earlier blog on how managed services are an evolving trend for the CSP industry.

CSPs have always managed communication services on behalf of customers. The enterprise managed services discussed above are a slight variation on this though. It requires the CSP to manage infrastructure dedicated to given customers (often inside customer premises), as well as potentially offering them the more traditional shared infrastructure and services. Then there’s also the case of third-party services being bundled into managed service offerings. This multi-pronged approach presents difficulties for OSS in terms of segmenting data so that a customer-by-customer snapshot can be achieved. This is a form of multi-tenancy and the challenge is shared by OSS, ITSM and DCIM tools alike, although I’ll just refer to OSS below.

One approach is to have a single OSS suite that can segment data from multiple managed services customers and core networks.

A second approach is to build an aircraft carrier model, whereby each major tenant/customer has an OSS suite to manage their bundle of infrastructure and services whilst being separate from the CSP‘s core OSS suite and networks. This approach is also attractive from the perspective of privacy / isolation of management data for each customer, especially if each customer has been allocated a dedicated team from the CSP.

I think the second approach is well suited to building a templated OSS suite that can be rolled out for each new managed service customer (and customised for them as needed of course). I’m a big believer in attempting to build repeatable, standardised tools and processes to simplify customer offerings. However, I’ve yet to see it done this way. I’ve only seen CSPs struggle with the first approach, or build customised OSS suites for each customer when using the second approach.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve come across this templated approach. Similarly, have you come across any vendors that have supported (and offered licensing models for) this multi-OSS-instance approach?

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