For Mobile Service Providers (MSPs), monitoring only the network infrastructure (as traditionally performed by Network Operations Center plus Service Operations Center) no longer provides any guarantee that subscribers will receive their expected level of service.
Where Have We Been
The scenario reported in any network monitoring’s literature is well-known: “My indicators are all greens but my subscribers are angry.” In other words, traditional NOC and Service Operations Center tools are ineffective, except in the case of critical hardware faults. The focus now must be shifted from the network to the subscribers’ experience.
The introduction of the Customer Experience Monitor (CEM) was the first attempt to move in that direction. However, although such solutions were good for historical data analysis and offline reporting, they lacked the real-time capabilities, due to the huge amount of data to analyze at single subscriber level.
In fact, although there are many standardization bodies working on definitions like KPI, KQI, QoE, and QoS, it seems there is no real standard defining a “next generation” Service Operations Center.
Where Are We Going: The ServOC
To differentiate from the “SQM-based-already-existing-Service-Operations-Center”, let’s refer to the next generation version as a ServOC. A ServOC should have the following characteristics:
- While NOC focuses on the network infrastructure, ServOC should focus on the critical services and applications that matter to the business.
- While NOC’s point of view was the network and its alarms, ServOC’s point of view should be based on the subscribers and the quality of services they are accessing.
- While NOC was historically reactive (i.e., triggered by network nodes alarms), ServOC ishould be proactive and possibly predictive. Service Quality engineers should identify network issues, prioritizing them based on the number (and importance, from a business point of view) of the subscribers that will likely be negatively impacted.
As you can see, although the concept of Service Quality is not new, the approach to it needs to be fully renovated.
Looking at the list above, you can see that the ServOC should combine the real-time capabilities of SQM systems with the single subscribers’ analytics capabilities of CEM solutions. Unfortunately, today “SQM-based” architectures seem designed for real-time but not from the performance point of view, for looking and aggregating information at single subscriber granularity. Meanwhile, CEM solutions have exactly the opposite problem!
The Future of the ServOC
Empirix is actively working to address the ServOC requirements through its new Empirix IntelliSight platform. Has your company begun to make the move to ServOC? Let me know about your view in the comments below. And stay tuned for upcoming posts with actionable information on how to improve the quality of the services you offer.