The road to DSP goes through OSS Mediation
In recent blogs, we’ve discussed different aspects of the proliferation of mediation technology into the OSS domain. This trend is almost certainly related to the CSP-to-DSP journey many telcos are now embarking on. As operators are being driven to introduce new processes and management tools, to drive service innovation, they need to integrate and manage an increasingly broad range of new elements (think probes, for example). They need new tools to do this and this has meant mediation’s foothold in OSS is hardening. It’s not just delivering services that matters; it’s delivering them in a way that maximises their impact and sees revenue potential realised, says Keith Brody, head of Communications at DigitalRoute.
The new generation of OSS also encompasses the expanding role of analytics and service assurance. For instance, new Use Cases that analyse service rather than just network resources are critical. Analytics based on dimensions such as subscribers, handsets and location all rely on access to raw transactional data collected from the network. These evolutions blur the line between traditional OSS and BSS functions and open up possibilities for the Service Provider to better use resources and improve both performance and customer experience.
These new directions are critical. Traditional Analytics and OSS systems were mainly based around processing aggregated counter data. Now, they need to accommodate raw event data at higher volumes and in real-time. Network quality is central to defining service experience yet misconfiguration, damaged equipment, failed upgrades and handset-related problems still often go undetected for long periods.
Without the proper tools for creating and acting on information at the network-, customer- and session levels, hidden service problems, lack of root-cause analysis and a failure of pro-active retention activity the next generation future will just repeat the shortcomings of the past. Via a new set of management tools, OSS Mediation can help ensure this doesn’t happen.
Furthermore, OSS tools have historically been network-centric, displaying node health and performance via agreed KPI metrics. This type of OSS monitoring remains an essential part of network management but effective service assurance is now also required.
Here, the focus is on measuring how well services are performing and how performance actually affects the subscribers’ service experience. Once Service Assurance is added to traditional, network-centric OSS, service performance data can be contextualised to deliver impact analysis from an individual customer perspective.
This is mission-critical, not only tied to traditional network views but also tied to subscribers, subscriber groups, handsets and geographical areas. Instead of just monitoring and maximising OSS by using network performance data, OSS Mediation lets operators support advanced decision-making within BSS and BI systems too.
The challenges optimising this new set of OSS requirements are considerable. For instance:
- Multiple Network Data Records need to be merged from a customer perspective to create a unified Customer Service Performance Record.
- The control plane must be linked to User plane records.
- Data must be correlated in real-time.
- Data must be enriched with location information.
- State needs to be kept to understand who is where when a negative impact occurs.
Another important change that OSS Mediation supports is defining new KPIs. This enhances competitiveness. Data records collected from network elements contain information that is related to quality of experience, actions and behaviors, and performance taking place in the network. Telcos can use OSS Mediation to create and categorise the specific metrics they wish to track in collected network data and then calculate KPIs for each one in different dimensions.
For instance, valuable information such as the actual Quality of Service that a specific customer segment is experiencing can be quickly and easily seen, as can how network elements in a crowded geographical area are performing. Such dynamic KPIs are a cornerstone of both effective customer experience and network management.
Again, agility and speed are attractive. Calculations are based on easily configurable service models that specify the relations between the various entities, e g metrics, dimensions and KPIs themselves. Configuration of the service model is done via an open API, so no business logic need be involved.
The author of this blog is Keith Brody, head of Communications at DigitalRoute