Current Operation Support Systems need to quickly transform and evolve so that they can support and enable the future digital networks.
The future digital networks will be associated with high-volume, high-speed data transfers, on-demand services based on customer preference and dynamic orchestration of the resources. These networks will be a multi-layer composite of NFV/SDN, IoT and 5G, and will continue to meet the demands of customers over the next 8-10 years. To make digital business successful, OSS will need to quickly evolve and start supporting the expected dynamicity, speed and scale of the future digital networks. To achieve this, new OSS technologies and functionalities will be incorporated into the current OSS systems in incremental steps.
The steps in removing the barriers posed by OSS are:
- OSS consolidation and removal of redundant functionalities. The digital OSS will not have the silos that were the norm in legacy OSS. The OSS stack will be far more conjoined and highly efficient, using common information models. To make services agile and their management dynamic, OSS will use RESTful open APIs for integrating the OSS layers as well as for integrating with Big Data and BSS components.
- Proactivity across OSS functions. The digital OSS system will have in-built mechanisms to support proactivity and prediction. Whether it is network performance and fault management or service and customer management, the OSS will be able to offer proactive solutions to impending problems. The number of customer impacting problems will reduce significantly. By using complex computations, prediction models and pattern recognition the NOC/SOC will be able to predict problems with a higher degree of accuracy.
- Focus on automation. To realize a fully automated, zero-touch NOC/SOC in the future, closed-loop corrective actions will be introduced using complex algorithms and machine learning. And since customers will demand dynamic SLAs, the OSS will support on-demand capacity configuration and dynamic topology changes. This will be supported by real-time network feedback and automatic configuration.
- Analytics based on Machine Learning. Analytics are now critical to understand the needs and usage of the digital network, services, customers and devices. Analytics boost the service agility expected in an NFV environment, other than accurately optimizing capacity across the physical and virtualized parts of the composite network. The analytics layer generates trends on performance, capacity and faults for the near and long terms, using sophisticated machine learning tools. The revenue-generating concepts of network monetization and service personalization are only possible by running powerful analytics on Big Data.
- Scale-up for massive data. As CSPs extend their business to become IoT managed service providers offering high quality, high reliability networks to support IoT SLAs, OSS will expand significantly and build new levels of scalability, real-time capability and reliability. 5G will add higher data volumes. Underlying OSS mediation, database and processing engines will be enhanced. Elasticity of database and Hadoop cluster technologies will help in manipulating Big Data at faster rates, thus increasing real-time capabilities of OSS.
- Cloud-based OSS. By unburdening OSS functionalities onto the cloud, many OSS overheads can be removed and operational productivity can be increased. Above all, the CSP achieves universal access to critical OSS data, especially service analytics and customer messaging, which can be effectively used by digital business teams.
- OSS as a Service. With OSS becoming a key component in the success of future digital business, vendors will provide OSS as a service, and not just as a consolidated product. OSS vendors will be far more involved in offering OSS solutions based on value use-cases, and managing a centralized cloud-based OSS service.
The OSS transformation is already being considered by many Communication Service Providers. Now, it is a matter of understanding which are the first few critical steps that will have the maximum positive impact on the operator’s revenue and will pave the way in transforming today’s Communication Service Provider into tomorrow’s Digital Service Provider.