The constant innovation in technology has resulted in the advent of automation in most areas of modern businesses. The telecom site management sector is no exception in this regard. One of the key components of success for the industry lies in the modernization of the traditional OSS BSS software. However, to achieve the coveted level of automation, tower companies and telecom infrastructure providers must develop certain crucial OSS BSS capabilities with serviceability in mind from the start. These capabilities will make the systems not only more agile and scalable but will also help in increasing service velocity.
In this article, we discuss in detail 5 important OSS BSS capabilities for towercos and telecom infrastructure providers to achieve automation. These are the necessary steps that need to be considered for automating the legacy OSS BSS service architecture - be it in virtual, physical, or hybrid, multi-vendor environments.
Real-Time Order Management and Service Provisioning
Service Provisioning is responsible for the design of a service or product in terms of identifying and allocating resources, to create a complete specification that can be activated on the network. Automation in the field of service provisioning helps in ensuring that business and technical rules are applied to a design, minimizing the need for human interaction. There is an impending need to shorten time to market and boost service innovation, which can be achieved by centralizing order management and service fulfillment processes around a product and service catalog.
Enabling your customer service teams to react in real-time, and creating new services faster by ensuring the ability to replicate telecommunication providers and MNOs product/service models across all business units, including those spread across multiple countries can be one of the core advantages of moving towards an OSS BSS automation framework.
The promise of many modern network technologies has been increased self-configuration, self-optimization, and self-healing. IP, for example, will attempt to reroute data around major network faults. Similarly, mobile networks can self-adjust the properties of their cell sites to compensate for interference, congestion, and outages. This built-in capability is valuable because it means the network can react quickly, without human intervention.
But towerco networks are big and their paying customers demand a high quality of service. Implementing device-driven automation for towercos can be difficult considering they only hold passive equipment such as steel towers, generators, shelter/huts housing the MNO's BTS equipment, etc. Instead, the way to empower them is by automating critical decisions like raising trouble tickets, generating and tracking orders to manual workflows that otherwise require constant monitoring, which leads to an overall efficient and reliable infrastructure environment.
Service Assurance applications leverage planning applications for their ability to redesign the network to resolve problems. Taking inputs from Fault Management, Performance Management, and direct feedback from customers via BSS, it is the responsibility of Service Assurance to determine an issue’s impact on customer services, the root cause of the problem, and provide data to support the resolution.
For towercos, utilizing site remote monitoring systems and tower operating centers that help in detecting faults/issues while speeding up the process of fault resolution is key. These systems integrate with Tarantula tools to enable service assurance by initiating corrective actions by operations teams.
By reducing fault resolution time with the automatic creation of cases by incidents affecting the infrastructure and equipment, so-called trouble tickets, service Assurance (SA) applications can provide an intelligent response to network and service issues.
Data has been at the heart of OSS applications for years, but the analytics capabilities tend to be rigid – fixed to support the primary purpose of each application. The ever-reducing cost of IT hardware has made traditional data analytics platforms like data warehouses much more affordable. Furthermore, the emergence of Big Data platforms like Hadoop and analytical platforms like Tableau or Power BI has further reduced the cost in terms of money and time. These generic (at least, not OSS-specific) analytics and business intelligence (BI) platforms are now being deployed within OSS for ad-hoc reporting purposes and data mining to gain a better understanding of the towercos and telecom infrastructure providers businesses.
Data-driven reporting helps businesses make better and faster decisions. The ability to easily connect data from OSS BSS stacks and create automated dashboards is imperative in today's data-reliant world. Site Inventory, GIS, Discovery, Network Engineering data sources, merged with customer data from BSS applications offer tremendous opportunity to learn about how the network or site portfolio is working and what keeps customers happily paying their bills.
CRM with Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ)
Having a unified Product Catalogue to Create, modify and launch new products from a single platform and at the click of a button helps in adapting to the rapidly changing demand, and offers new bundles to meet changing customer needs. By making it simple to produce accurate and highly configured quotes with a centralized model and in real-time allows for these otherwise disparate systems to operate with much more consistency.
OSS BSS automation can drive innovation and bring new value to how a telco or towerco functions. By removing manual processes, it enables the business to see available products, provide customers with quotes and deliver seamless end-to-end experiences. Towercos and MNOs must transform their service delivery and management infrastructure to remain competitive. At the forefront of this transformation is the modernization of the operations support systems (OSS) and the systems for managing the customer and the overall business operations, the business support systems (BSS). Significant changes to the very DNA of many OSS BSS applications are imperative and a need to introduce, and automate, new operational processes to meet towercos specific business objectives will be key moving ahead.