Automation has become a necessity for service providers in order to keep pace with the rapid change due the introduction of next generation devices and services. We’ve seen an influx of OSS Vendors providing automation products to ultimately support “flow-through” provisioning of next gen services. Over the next couple of posts I will be examining the benefits, issues and considerations of OSS automation.
PART 1 – Do I really need it?
A couple of years ago, I designed an automated solution to assist in the 3G RAN Network rollout process. At the time I was rather proud of my solution, but the client, a major tier 1 Telco wasn’t. Well, they had their reservations; they needed to understand what value they were getting from automating. Traditionally their design and assign processes where done manually, so this was entering into the unknown.
To clearly provide the value of automation in this scenario, which I presume will also be valuable in many other scenarios, is to monitor the process manually. This provides a baseline to measure the effects of automation, by providing data to justify your automation. In my scenario it was 2 minutes auto vs. 28 minutes manually. That’s 26 minutes you can have your key network resources working on other business critical work, or an opportunity for a coffee break!!
Another factor to be taken into consideration is how often this process is run. If it’s a high-volume task, than it may make sense to automate it. This also reduces the likelihood of human error, after all its human nature to pay less attention to repetitive tasks. As well, it provides a standard method or common approach of implementation throughout the network/service design teams. Through automation, telcos are looking for a different way of improving business processes, leveraging dedicated software to discover, design and implement processes and eventually monitor the performance of these processes across the organisation.
By providing the client with the business benefits and the ROI involved in automating, it became a no brainer to accept the need for automation. Now that the client had decided to automate, the next consideration is to look at the key implementation issues when transitioning to an automated OSS solution. We’ll leave that for my next post..