How service management delivers proven value: case Bharti Airtel
A question operators often ask me is: How can I be sure that investing in a Service Operations Center (SOC) will deliver worthwhile benefits? The answer can be found in a just-published paper from analyst Ovum that details a Nokia Managed SOC trial in India and, importantly, how much value it created for Bharti Airtel.
The string of results includes 20% reduction in user complaints, 11.5% higher LTE throughput, 5.3% improvement in latency, 4.5%improvement in 2G data service usage, and average 2G data service accessibility improved by 2.5%. To put these numbers into context, Ovum says simply reducing the number of “not able to access Internet” complaints delivers a potential OPEX reduction of $500,000 per annum. Such benefits are not only worthwhile in their own right, but also help to reinforce Bharti Airtel’s marketing of its network as the best for smartphones.
Working in near real-time, the SOC picks up all sorts of problems invisible to the Network Operations Center (NOC). These include downlink/uplink throughput issues, latency problems, handover failures, inactive cells and sleeping cells caused by failures at the base station that fail to trigger an alarm. This enables Bharti Airtel to quickly and proactively resolve many service degradations before they affect the customer experience.
On average, four out of five of the cases highlighted by the SOC could not have been detected by the NOC alone.
How does a SOC fit with conventional network operations? The Ovum report explains:
“The purpose of the SOC is not to create more work for the NOC or to duplicate trouble tickets; rather it is to help the NOC prioritize its operations on the basis of business priorities. By capturing and correlating data from multiple sources, a service management approach of this type looks to deliver an understanding of the end-to-end performance of a mobile broadband service; for example, providing an understanding of a customer’s download experience or how YouTube is working.”
Bharti Airtel is rightly being hard-headed in seeking to justify any SOC investment. The operator picked the Kolkata region for the trial, which demanded that Nokia manage a complex multivendor environment. Nokia was able to show its ability to correlate data between multiple vendors and networks through strong governance to ensure clarity over who makes decisions. For example, the centralized trouble ticketing tool must be accompanied by clear responsibilities – if a ticket is opened at the SOC level, the ownership of that ticket has to remain with the SOC.
This is a vital aspect because as Ovum says:
“It is not uncommon for operators to cite soft issues – i.e. related to governance, processes, and organization – as stumbling blocks when implementing projects of this kind. For that reason, it is essential for a partner to have strong capabilities in these areas.”
The numbers speak for themselves. A service management approach based on a SOC can deliver substantial business benefits.
To find out more about the SOC trial, please see the Ovum report.
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