Service assurance '2.0': Bridging customer experience, network management
Because I’m participating in today’s Webcast, “10 Steps to 4G Service Assurance,” jointly hosted by Connected Planet and Aricent, I'd like to touch on main theme of the presentation, which is that 4G service assurance has to involve integration between what is known about customer experience, devices and the nature of services, and what is known about the network and its performance and faults.
Because the challenges of maintaining quality of service while migrating to all-IP networks are not going to go away, there has to be a closer link between monitoring of networks and monitoring of user experience.
It’s becoming clear that operators are truly focusing on more than just their networks, as they have to center on their customers’ perceptions of value and quality. That means congestion issues can no longer be resolved by trying to please all customers across the board and by setting rigid prices that impact all customers. These are no longer sustainable strategies, as operators are discovering they can alienate the very customers they wish to keep, while doing little to affect those they wouldn’t mind losing.
Service assurance will play a major role in mitigating and ceasing the need for endless network builds that really never sate the greater whole. Service assurance, in tandem with smart policy controls, business intelligence and analytics, will help determine which customers should be kept happy while simultaneously trying to “shape” the behaviors of less-desirable customers with incentives and pricing that influence their consumption habits (fore example, credits if movies are downloaded off peak, penalties for low-value customers consuming at peak hours, premium service guarantees for high-value customers).
Beyond traditional service assurance
To achieve this type of control, operators have to be able to gather enormous amounts of data about services, devices and customers so that quality of service is understood. They have to move beyond traditional fault- and performance-management solutions that just identify faults. They must now have proactive reactions, which are enabled only with true intelligence derived from information about subscribers, their preferences, their devices, their habits and the network elements on which their services are reliant.
Today, service providers often have multiple service assurance systems, which means the aforementioned intelligence is difficult to assemble across different systems, networks and applications.
In today’s presentation, the focus on service assurance is driven by pressure to reduce costs, innovate, improve productivity and profitability, and enhance customer experience.
To do so, service assurance must encompass more than traditional components of fault and performance management and more closely integrate with network and congestion management, so that service level agreements and service quality, as well as customer experience, are understood.
In the presentation, it is shown how current mobility service assurance solutions include network assurance, network management systems, service management, key performance/quality (KPI/KQI) indicators defined in deployed systems, and QOS/QOE monitoring.
To move toward “4G service assurance,” the presentation recommends development of a KPI/KQI model and an integrated management model, as well as automating trouble/incident management and implementing a centralized KPI/KQI repository, service quality management, customer experience management and SLA management.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.