What are Operations Support Systems (OSS)? Traditional Operations Support Systems (OSS) have served a purpose to enable Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to run their networks for over 30 years. We have now reached a time where there is a need to significantly refresh these systems due to the dynamic market pace expectations of the 5G-era, the emerging requirement to interface to vertical industry enterprises and the order of magnitude increase in complexity of the networks.
These Operations Support Systems (OSS) systems are as unique and important to telecom as similar systems are to other industries. Just consider airport operations systems in the transportation industry or financial operations systems in the banking industry and so on. The point is that purpose-built systems for specific industries render the optimal results. From time to time, these systems need to be refreshed.
Why Operations Support Systems (OSS) must evolve for the 5G era?
Much has been said about digital transformation, let’s focus on that topic to identify the three key trends that make this the opportune time to make these changes in the Telecom industry.
Market trends impacting Operations Support Systems (OSS)
The time is now for CSPs to capitalize on the expanded capabilities of the 5G-era networks and push themselves higher up into the value chain in their traditional consumer markets but especially into vertical industries. To move toward AI enabled operations, they will need Operations Support Systems (OSS) that enable:
- Faster time to market and time to cash for new services than ever before
- New types of business models – especially to interface with Enterprise vertical partners. This will include various “as a Service” commercial model constructs
- Nimble implementation and support of commercial Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that will become the currency with Enterprise partners
Technology trends impacting Operations Support Systems (OSS)
The technical aspects of 5G-era networks plus the evolved IT technologies, such as:
- The 5G-era networks are rich in functionality while also much more complex. But they are software based and this represents a compelling reason to use modern systems that can effectively manage the networks effectively at scale
- IT technologies have advanced and technical limitations have been removed for telecom operations systems to fully benefit from the latest cloud-native IT capabilities
- AI/ML and other advanced analytics technologies have matured and applied use of these technologies toward use-case based benefits are now expected by the market
Cost pressures impacting Operations Support Systems (OSS)
Profitability has never been more challenging and the combination of automation and modernized systems can enable:
- Operating Expense (OpEx) reductions at scale by further automating present processes but also by introducing completely new automation-native processes that were previously not possible
- The traditional Network Operations Center (NOC) and Service Operations Center (SOC) models of operation represent large cost centers. By refreshing these Operations Support Systems (OSS) to leverage automation and intelligence will enable these talented resources to be re-assigned to deliver new service offerings to market.
- New cost constructs of new consumption models such as Software as a Service and Network as Code that are based on outcome models
How can you overcome the limitations of existing Operations Support Systems?
To be successful in transforming from these traditional Operations Support Systems (OSS), service and network operations will need to evolve in three areas.
Evolve business operations processes
Here we refer to the processes that must be performed to conduct their business operations. As we move toward automation and AI enabled operations, processes for service and network operations that have been used for years may not be the best processes going forward. Therefore, this effort is not just about automating existing processes but rather, about investigating and designing the correct processes going forward and, in many cases, those may be different than the present modes of operation.
Leverage the latest IT technologies for OSS
Here we refer to the actual technologies that the networks are comprised of and we refer to the overarching IT technologies. As we have reached the point where networks are software-based and programmable, we are indeed at the point where service and network operations can fully leverage the complete spectrum of IT technologies.
Cultivate new mindset and skillsets for OSS personnel
Perhaps the most important component. Here we refer to the skills, training, expertise and overall perspective of the staff in the traditional Network Operations Center (NOC) and Service Operations Center (SOC) groups. To fully leverage the technology and process changes will require new approaches to the required skillsets and approach that can be taken to drive transformation.
How to select a trusted partner to evolve your Operations Support Systems (OSS)?
In our opinion, successful navigation through this transformational time will go more smoothly with effective partnerships throughout the operations ecosystem. Multi-vendor, multi-domain and multi-technology environments are most often the mandate – this is a reality.
Partners that have their own products and solutions throughout the ecosystem are best positioned with the perspective and breadth of understanding to benefit service and network operations. Even when buyers select specific components of their ecosystem from other suppliers, they benefit from the involvement of partners that offer the full complement of solutions because they have a better understanding of how everything must work together. Nokia believes that service and network operations should evolve along a few important paths. These paths are often-times co-mingled and intersecting while at other times completely separate. These represent fundamental constructs to the products, solutions and services that we deliver:
Intent-based network solutions
Gone are the days when the complexity of networks should dictate the ways in which services are positioned and offered to the market. Rather, these systems need to remove the friction between themselves and their markets by being able to interpret and act upon closed in ways that current Operations Support Systems (OSS) cannot.
Benefits of “as a Service” model in OSS
Not just a new way to access hosted instances of supplier products but rather, new ways to consume outcomes from their suppliers. This requires the suppliers to disaggregate their products in ways that enable them to deliver what is required as outcomes.
Relevant standards for Operations Support Systems (OSS)
As networks and management applications become more disaggregated, it will be necessary to rely upon infrastructural as well as application-based standards. Individual suppliers will continue to offer comprehensive, pre-integrated solutions but buyers will require the capability to select components that all align to standards-based interfaces and functionalities.
How can Nokia help with your Operations Support Systems (OSS) needs?
Are you searching for a multi-vendor, end-to-end orchestration and assurance solution? Or are you looking for best-in-class network domain specific control and management capabilities? With our broad Operational Support Systems (OSS) portfolio, Nokia provides the products, solutions and services that address your specific requirements.
- Digital Operations Center includes Orchestration Center and Assurance Center and is Nokia’s multi-vendor platform to manage the design, deployment, and assurance of services across the different network domains
- For mobile networks, Network Operations Master is a new software based on a cloud-native architecture for managing 4G and 5G network domains and EdenNet SON provides self-organizing mobile network intelligence. NetAct is Nokia’s widely deployed mobile network management platform.
- The Network Services Platform is Nokia’s IP and Optical network management offering
- Altiplano is Nokia’s fixed network access management platform
- Cloud Operations Manager is Nokia’s cloud management platform that manages the placement and compute infrastructure for virtualized and containerized network functions
Why choose Nokia for new Operations Support Systems (OSS)?
Nokia offers solutions in every one of the networking domains in the market today (e.g. Radio and Fixed Access, Transport, Core and Cloud) and in all of the operational software layers. With this broad portfolio, Nokia is uniquely positioned to provide trusted partnerships as buyers set their direction going forward. Whether or not they acquire their entire solution footprint from Nokia – and many cannot due to their procurement policies – the fact that Nokia builds and delivers components at every level and layer equips us with an intimate understanding and appreciation for what is needed to stitch together to get everything optimized. That enables Nokia to be a constructive contributor to these projects; we know what it takes to get things done.
Nokia is committed to delivering our broad portfolio with strict adherence to relevant industry standards. As part of this commitment, Nokia contributes leadership to many of these standards bodies including TM Forum, GSMA 3GPP, Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), Broadband World Forum (BBWF), ETSI, IETF and others. To support our customers, we often find ourselves pushing the pace on these standards organizations to close the lag period between the needs of early adopters and the full ratification of the standards.
Learn more about Nokia’s Operations Support Systems (OSS) portfolio
Altiplano Access Controller
Analytics and automation for your broadband network
Cloud Operations Manager
Automate hybrid cloud lifecycle operations
Digital Operations Center
A new breed of service orchestration and service assurance for network slicing
Leap forward in self-organizing network intelligence
Simplify service fulfillment and orchestration of digital services
Embrace the evolution to 5G
Network Operations Master
Enable the transformation to software-driven network management with an intelligent, cloud-native system underpinned by automation
Network Services Platform
Automate, manage and control IP and optical networks
Nokia Assurance Center
Automate assurance for network and service operations