As CSPs continue to evolve to be a digital player they are facing some new challenges like size and traffic requirements are increasing at an exponential pace, the networks which were previously only serving telco workloads are now required to be open for a range of business, industrial and services verticals. These factors necessitate the CSPs to revamp their operations model that is digital, automated, efficient and above all services driven. Similarly, the future operations should support innovation rather than relying on offerings from existing vendor operations models, tool and capabilities.
As CSPs will require to operate and manage both the legacy and new digital platforms during the migrations phase hence it is also imperative that operations have a clear transition strategy and processes that can meet both PNF and VNF service requirements with optimum synergy where possible.
In work done by our team with our customers specifically in APAC , future network should address the following challenges for its operations transformations.
- Fault Management: Fault management in the digital era is more complex as there are no dedicated infrastructure for the applications. The question therefore arises how to demarcate the fault and corelate cross layer faults to improve O&M troubleshooting of ICT services.
- Service Assurance: The future operations model requires being digital in nature with minimum manual intervention, fully aligned with ZTM (Zero Touch Management) and data driven using principles of closed loop feedback control.
- Competency: To match operation requirements of future digital networks the skills of engineers and designers will play a pivotal role in defining and evolving to future networks. The new roles will require network engineers to be more technologist rather than technicians
- IT Technology: IT technology including skills in data centers, cloud and shared resources will be vital to operate the network. Operation teams need to understand impacts of scaling elasticity and network healing on operational services
Apply ODA (Open Digital Architecture) for Future Operations Framework (FMO)
TM Forum ODA A.K.A Open Digital Architecture is a perfect place to start but since it is just an architecture and can lead to different implementation and application architecture so below i will try to share how in real brown field networks it is being applied . I will cover all modules except for AI and intelligent management which i shall be discussed in a separate paper .
Lack of automation in legacy telco networks is an important pain point that needs to be addressed promptly in the future networks. It will not only enable CSPs to avoid the toil of repetitive tasks but also allow them to reduce risks of man-made mistakes.
In order to address the challenges highlighted above it is vital to develop an agile operations models that improves customer experience , optimize CAPEX , AI operations and Business process transformation
Such a strategic vision will be built on an agile operations model that can fulfill the following:
- Efficiency and Intelligent Operation: Telecom efficiency is based on data driven architectures using AI and providing actionable information and automation, Self-Healing Network capability and automation of network and as follows
- Task Automation & Established foundation
- Proactive Operation & Advanced Operation
- Machine managed & intelligent Operation.
- Service Assurance: Building a service assurance framework to achieve an automated Network Surveillance, Service Quality Monitoring, Fault Management, Preventive Management and Performance Management to ensure close loop feedback control for delivery of zero touch incident handling.
- Operations Support: Building a support framework to achieve automated operation acceptance, change & configuration management.
Phased approach to achieve Operational transformation
Based on the field experience we achieved with our partners and customers through Telecom transformation we can summarize the learning as follows
- People transformation: Transforming teams and workforce that matches the DevOps concept to streamline organization and hence to deliver services in an agile and efficient manner. This is vital because 5G , Cloud and DevOps is a journey of experience not deployment of solutions , start quickly to embark the digital journey
- Business Process transformation: Working together with its partners for unification, simplification and digitization of end-to-end processes. The new process will enable Telco’s to quickly adapt the network to offer new products and to reduce time for troubleshooting.
- Infrastructure transformation: Running services on digital platforms and cloud, matching a clear vision to swap the legacy infrastructure.
If PNF to VNF/CNF migration is vital the Hybrid Network management is critical
- Automation and tools: Operations automation using tools like workforce management, ticket management etc is vital but not support vision of full automation . The services migration to cloud will enable automated delivery of services across the whole life cycle. Programming teams should join operations to start a journey where the network can be managed through power of software like Python, JAVA, GOLANG and YANG models. It will also enable test automation, a vision which will enable operations teams to validate any change before applying it to live network.
Having said this i hope it shall serve as a high level guide for architects adressing operational transformation , as we can see AI and Intelligent Managmeent is vital piece of it and i shall write on this soon .