Get ready to automate the delivery of optical services
Previous posts in this blog series have focused on how learning from optical networks can help operators use automation to improve network efficiency and maximize network capacity. We can also build what we learn about how optical services are sold into software applications that accelerate service delivery and enable optical NaaS offers This blog post describes how operators can rapidly monetize optical network capacity with automation applications that have a built-in understanding of how optical services are sold between the physical network operator, resellers of optical services and end customers.
Automating service delivery is top of mind for many optical network operators because it’s a key requirement for creating differentiated service experiences and minimizing network total cost of ownership (TCO). It doesn’t matter whether the corporate strategy is to enhance network connectivity or build additional value platforms. The majority of service-related traffic eventually traverses an optical network, so automating the optical connectivity to support this traffic is vital for business success.
That said, many optical network leaders know that they have much work to do to realize the power of network and service automation. They also know that they may receive a call like this from their executive-level bosses:
We need to automate our optical services and create new optical NaaS offers! Secure, low-latency, high-capacity optical services are critical for our success and that of our customers. Our service business units are having trouble understanding how to use open interfaces into the optical network to achieve our service automation goals. What can we do to help them speed things up?
Optical network leaders would like to be able to answer that they’ve anticipated this need and are ready to go:
Boss, we’re in great shape! We have tools that make it quick and easy to set up and track service-supporting connectivity. These same tools understand the business side of optical connectivity and enable the very thing that you’re looking for. Let’s get started!
But how do optical network leaders get to this ideal state of readiness?
The path towards service automation
Getting control of service-supporting connectivity is a practical first step towards automating service delivery. Many operators rely on outdated mechanisms to create and track optical service connectivity. These mechanisms slow service delivery time because they take longer to prepare service-supporting infrastructure. They also impede service troubleshooting because they don’t make it easy to determine which customers use the connectivity, especially when connectivity is resold.
The next step towards automating service delivery is to prepare to offer optical connectivity as a service to resellers of optical connectivity, including internal business units. Physical network operators need to be ready to enhance open APIs with intelligence about how optical services are sold throughout a hierarchical service value chain that includes themselves and their internal business units, along with partners, resellers and end customers. These enhancements should include support for new optical NaaS offers, which means adding B2B2X hierarchical intelligence for:
- Defining, advertising and visualizing customizable service catalogs and their associated service-level agreements (SLAs)
- Creating customizable service assurance reports that track performance against SLA objectives
- Automating service fulfillment with the option to front-end service fulfillment with complementary automation of business-layer processes such as service quotations and contracts
- Advertising the availability of new network capacity to potential customers
- Selling services through ready-to-go portals
- Integrating service automation into existing back-office systems
These capabilities accelerate the delivery of services throughout the value chain. They also reduce OPEX for everyone involved in the service transaction. To support today’s software-defined networking (SDN) environments and ensure rapid deployment of automation, operators must build all of these capabilities into open software applications that streamline the interface between the organizations that run the network (e.g., operations, engineering) and other organizations that support the sale of optical services or need optical connectivity to support services.
Finally, operators must assess their ability to automate on their own. This means asking questions about whether they have the resources and expertise to successfully achieve their automation goals. Can we take control of our service-supporting connectivity and quickly get it ready to support services? Do we have technology in place to support the sale of services between the organizations that run the network and the organizations that need optical connectivity to support services? Sellers of optical services shouldn’t have to introduce complexity to accommodate SLAs, the hierarchical nature of the value chain or support optical NaaS offers.
Open applications that support the network and services perspectives can speed up service automation by providing interfaces that are more aware of the business relationship between the organizations involved. Supporting both perspectives also facilitates rapid service troubleshooting between services and network organizations, resulting in lower network TCO and higher customer retention when things go wrong.
Automating services with Nokia WaveSuite Service Enablement
Nokia created the WaveSuite applications, WaveHub value-driven ecosystem and WavePrime Digital Process Automation (DPA) practice to make it easy for network operators to address their service automation requirements. The WaveSuite Service Enablement applications are built around patented service virtualization techniques that understand how optical services are sold throughout a hierarchical service value chain that includes physical network operators, internal business units, partners, resellers and the ultimate end customers. The complementary WaveSuite Network Insight applications also use these techniques to understand the impacts that network optimization can have on services. This capability is essential for supporting coordinated network and service troubleshooting.
Figure 1: WaveSuite Service Enablement foundational data model
WaveSuite Service Enablement has built-in knowledge of how to automate the sale of optical services. It uses this knowledge to support optical NaaS offers that partners and internal business units can use to sell services and avoid the constraints of slow manual processes for creating the underlying network connectivity. This accelerates service deployment and reduces OPEX for all involved.
Automation made easy
To pull together all the elements required for service deployment automation, network operators need workflows that can orchestrate the integration of applications and automated tasks. The Nokia WaveSuite applications are integrated into the WaveHub environment to accelerate the realization of automation business outcomes.
WaveHub is a market-oriented ecosystem program that brings network operators together with hardware and software vendors, research institutions, system integrators and other innovators to develop new ways to create value and automate networks. Its foundational components include:
- A cloud-hosted developer portal that Nokia customers and partners can use to facilitate and accelerate the creation of new solutions
- A digital marketplace for solutions created through the WaveHub ecosystem
- A virtual lab environment that helps network operators reduce cost, complexity and time to revenue by enabling faster integration testing and solution development
Automation services to help realize business outcomes
Nokia WavePrime professional services offers different levels of automation support, ranging from consulting to full software customization and integration. Its DPA practice can customize service deployment workflows for automating tasks. These workflows address customer use cases with logic and calls to open applications such as WaveSuite to achieve desired automation business outcomes. They also enable quick integration of WaveHub partner applications, including automation for service quotations and contracts, to create more customer value and service differentiation.
A network digital twin to safely test automation and accelerate its deployment
WavePrime Digital Twin as a Service can accelerate the deployment of WaveSuite applications such as WaveSuite Service Enablement. Digital twins are virtual replicas of existing or planned physical networks, including their unique configurations. Implemented through the DPA practice, they leverage Nokia network element simulators and applications (such as WaveSuite and the Nokia Network Services Platform) and are hosted in the same secure, virtual private cloud used by the WaveHub ecosystem. WavePrime sets up, maintains, supports and provides consultation on these digital twins.
Optical network operators want to use automation to accelerate service revenue, create a differentiated customer experience and streamline operational tasks. The challenges presented by automation may seem daunting to many operators but the benefits of automating optical networks and services are fundamental to business success. With the right applications and support, optical network leaders can automate and accelerate optical connectivity for services and be ready when executives decide it’s time to launch optical NaaS offers.
Our next blog post will take a closer look at WaveSuite Service Enablement and see how service fulfillment time can be reduced from days to minutes.
Visit our insight-driven optical networks page to learn more about how to automate optical networks and services.
Blog series: Automating optical networks for success
Partner program: WaveHub
Service: WavePrime Professional Services
Solutions: Insight-driven optical networks
Video: WaveSuite Service Enablement: Automate and accelerate the delivery of optical services
Application note: WaveSuite Network Insight: Harnessing the power of machine learning and automation to lower network TCO
Application note: WaveSuite Service Enablement: A new service view for optical networks
Application note: Insight-driven optical networks: Automating networks with innovative business and network insights
Data sheet: WaveSuite Service Enablement