“Therefore, let us not despair, but instead, survey the position, consider carefully the action we must take, and then address ourselves to our common task in a mood of sober resolution and quiet confidence, without haste and without pause.”
In a recent survey of OSS operators, respondents were asked two simple questions:
- What does your OSS really need to do?
- Why is it important?
The following snap-shot of responses:
Question 1. What does your OSS really need to do?
- OSS is the primary tool to manage operations of any CSP, from service fulfilment, to service assurance, to resource build (and retire), to resource assure
- The common and overarching aspect of an OSS is the end-to-end network inventory, network being the foundation of any product offered to the customer and the most important asset of a CSP
- OSS is the bridge by which the network-service-customer is linked providing a 360-degree view of the 3 domains
- What the OSS of today must do is to increase a CSP’s efficiency in delivering and supporting a multitude of digital services demanded by the customer of today. It must effectively and efficiently glue the “components” of a digital service. It must also be flexible and agile enough to evolve and adapt to newer technologies
- The OSS must control the network so it operates in a highly autonomous manner, while ensuring that Operations has visibility of how the network is running, and is presented with the required information to enable both break/fix and control decisions to be taken in the appropriate timeframe. The decision support structure as well as the data integrity mechanisms are required to be designed into the fundamental OSS fabric, and not added on afterwards
- The key measure of success in an OSS is that it serves to improve the ‘customer/user’ experience of a service and ensure that service is providing the function it is tasked with effectively. It should take multiple People, Process, Technology data inputs and interpret that data in such a way as to provide that view. It’s ultimate goal should highlite areas of strength/weakness/opportunity/and threat in a service category and be used to make suggestions for where/how/when element need to be tuned.
- My main gripe with OSS and ITSM today is that it is too engineering focussed… and often written by engineers who are too removed from what the end user wants/needs. In addition they are often written as ‘one size fits all’
- Provide a functional and business-aligned operating framework to deliver flawless service.
- [To provide] data for continuous improvement
- OSS could be viewed as a process orchestration layer that integrates multiple upstream and downstream management / operations systems.
- It must have detailed technology domain awareness at it’s core & across all technology layer and topology types, allowing it to function as a system of record for past, current and future infrastructure environment changes.
- It should be possible to reconcile this state using discovery & analysis tools.
- It should be flexible in configuration capability to allow inclusion of support for management of new technology types.
- It should be multi-party, allowing customers and suppliers to interact securely within a single environment.
- It should function as an extensible ecosystem.
- It should support multi-vendor operation.
- OSS eliminates the need for technical staff to do localization of issues provisioning and reporting, it movesthe level of staff requires “down” the technical scale, L1’s needed not L3’s for the majority of tasks , thereby saving money.
- Provide a product/service catalogue online to customers
- Provision products/services on underlying infrastructure or with third parties
- Interoperate in real time with BSS
- provide timely and accurate inventory count and status/attributes of NE and CAFAC including customer and network circuits
Question 2. Why is it important?
- …it will provide the level of automation and hence process efficiency…to deliver seamless customer experience.
- …to enable monetization of a CSP’s asset, either thru revenue generated by new or upgraded services or cost optimization (capex and opex)
- To enable the cost effective operation of a profitable network
- Anything we do in IT we should ask the question ‘how is this providing value to our customers and end users’.
- One example of this is customer satisfaction surveys. It’s pretty rare that service providers perform these with a customer and when they do results are often used badly. I think speaking to the customer should be THE most important aspect of a managed service but alas the industry seems to disagree with me
- Ultimately, it’s all about customer centricity and to improve customer service, revenue and manage business risks
- Because we cannot improve without a baseline, and it’s impossible to set stretch targets without data
- At a high level, weak OSS environments tend to result in failure to achieve coherency across critical operations management processes. The observable business relevant outcomes are: loss of business, failed service delivery quality, supply chain issues, over or under resource capacity, incorrect billing etc.
- In the drive for profit margins and return on investments to shareholders, companies are increasingly more focused on ensuring they manage their cost base and minimise operational expenditure. Hence many operational areas do not have large resource pools that can be used to process data into information
- Speed of localization of issues.
- Reduced cost for support.
- Consistency and regularity of reports
- Removes complexity and hurdles for customers to do business with us
- accurate inventory and status serves as basis for the services we give to our customers
Interestingly, the variances in question one show that everyone (and every project) has a different perspective on what is important, although common themes exist, showing that an OSS must:
- Improve operational efficiency and health
- Provide a view of available resources
- Provide customer services
- Improve the customer experience
- Integrate disparate data sources
However, on question two, the reasons that they’re important are quite consistent:
- To deliver seamless (and improved) customer experience. As one response succinctly stated, “Removes complexity and hurdles for customers to do business with us”
- To enable monetisation of an asset and/or service
- To reduce business risks