Automated assurance and operations for fixed voice services
It may seem counter-intuitive to divide up a conversation about voice services between mobile on the one hand and fixed on the other. It is true that from the point of view of business criticality and customer dynamics, the two are very similar. In both cases, the service remains a commercially lucrative revenue stream. In both cases, cost-to-serve is trending down, further improving unit economics despite a continuing downward trend in revenue. And in both cases, customer experience is extremely sensitive to the performance and reliability of the underlying network, making service assurance for voice critical to customer acquisition and retention not just for voice specifically, but for offers bundled with voice services.
But while the business case for competitive differentiation based on quality of experience is similar for all voice services (be they fixed or mobile), the mechanism by which that differentiation is achieved is not. In addition, for enterprise voice services, certain features of the underlying service assurance capability are important for optimizing performance. Let’s begin by looking at enterprise fixed voice services and why they require a different approach to service assurance.
Service assurance for fixed voice services
One trend that has become increasingly prevalent in the enterprise space is the importance of time-to-activate. If we consider the customer experience holistically, it’s critical that service turn-up time is rapid. Business customers have come to expect service activation from order to be quick, because they’ve become used to rapid activation times from OTT alternatives. Despite situations such as the recent pandemic raising questions about the service quality and reliability of these OTT services and increasing the value placed on more reliable service quality from telcos (plus the resulting stabilization in demand for said services versus OTT alternatives) the expectation for rapid service activation persists.
What this implies for the operator is that whatever is on the critical path from ordering to provisioning and fulfilment, needs to be streamlined to accelerate activation times. And service assurance, albeit mission-critical to delivering the differentiation of service reliability, is no exception to this. So, keywords like ‘simplicity,’ ‘configurability’ and ‘intuitive’ come into play.
A second characteristic of modern fixed voice services is that, similarly to mobile voice services like VoLTE and VoNR, the technology underpinning them has become more fluid due to the trend towards VoIP and SIP connections over legacy dedicated lines. But crucially, the marketing of these services emphasizes on ‘business-grade’ performance (versus the best-efforts performance of OTT alternatives).
A third important factor to consider for fixed voice services, and this can apply just as much for the consumer as for enterprise, is unit economics. The price of the ‘carrier-grade’ (or ‘business-grade) claim is the need for a highly effective network and service operations function – not the case for OTT alternatives. So, what has been a broadly linear increase in the OPEX associated with carrier-grade network and service operations as the demand for those services increases, is to a large extent a driver of greater cost-to-serve. Similarly, as the volume of enterprise customers increases, the incremental cost to assure these voice services doesn’t change significantly, and this represents a lost opportunity to extract greater margins from economies of scale.
This is where Infovista’s 360° Assurance for Fixed Voice solution comes in. We designed the solution to cost-effectively deliver the three key differentiators outlined above: rapid service activation, carrier-grade service quality and reliability, and economies of scale. Book a demo with Infovista today, or contact us to find out more.
Benefits of our network assurance solution
Rapid Service Activation:
The 360° Assurance for Fixed Voice solution, powered by Network Lifecycle Automation (NLA), is fully self-contained. It does not just provide visibility and intelligence into customer experience by providing composite KPIs like voice mean opinion score (vMOS), availability, delay, voice quality or disconnections. It also provides the full vertical correlation view of each element of service delivery. Customer experience correlates to service quality, correlates to resource performance, correlates to infrastructure performance, and back up again. Using the solution, a service provider can do complete root cause analysis from the customer experience to the underlying infrastructure, and customer impact analysis from the infrastructure up to the customer experience.
So rather than deploying, and then integrating multiple service assurance tools, and then configuring the KPIs, workflows, dashboards, and reports, our 360° Assurance for Fixed Voice solution is deployed into our customers and, with some simple configurations, is ready to go.
Carrier-grade service quality and reliability:
The 360° Assurance for Fixed Voice solution, powered by NLA, contains extensive and advanced built-in automation capabilities. This covers the automation of both operational and analytical tasks. Operational tasks that can be automated include triggering and enriching trouble-tickets, analyzing and detecting root-causes, notifying different departments of expected resolution times and executing certain network resolutions. Analytical tasks such as ingesting, normalizing, and summarizing data, detecting new devices, generating reports and prioritizing tasks based on their severity of impact on customer experience can be similarly automated.
Combining these, you have an enabler of a much more agile network and service operations function, which can quickly and proactively deal with the most severe problems, often before they impact the customer themselves.
The result is a service that’s not only carrier-grade as distinct from OTT, but carrier-grade as distinct from other network operators, giving a critical differentiator in a market that values carrier-grade performance and is willing to pay a premium for it.
Economies of scale:
The 360° Assurance for Fixed Voice solution, powered by Network Lifecycle Automation (NLA), is truly cloud-native. It’s built on containerized microservices, can run on public, private and hybrid cloud environments as well as bare metal, and supports multi-tenancy. Tenants’ functionality can be finely configured.
The result of this is that enterprise customers can actually use the solution themselves, for first-level triage, identifying if there is an ongoing issue with their voice services, whether these are originating from the WAN or LAN that’s managed by the enterprise, or the network and service that the operator provides. This means faster resolution times for issues originating from the enterprise-managed network, and fewer unnecessary calls into the service provider’s operations teams. As such, as the service provider’s list of enterprise customers grows, rather than its service assurance workload increasing linearly, it becomes incrementally most cost-efficient as more of the totality of assurance work is done by the customers themselves.
When we built Ativa™ and its solutions, we were guided by the principle that our job is to make the service provider more successful. That isn’t just a generic mission-statement. It translates into specific features and capabilities that we knew we need to enable from the underlying architecture. Pre-configured solutions, flexible self-service portals, holistic and correlated intelligence, and wide-reaching automation are examples of the features and capabilities that drive genuine business advantages for Ativa customers.
You can find out more about Ativa by visiting our website or request a demo from our experts to explore exactly how it works and find out how quickly it can deliver mission-critical customer experience differentiation in your business.