Let's face it, apps are hot. They're big business. A reference to apps is de rigueur on any self-respecting tech PowerPoint presentation. In the two years that the Apple App Store has been in existence, users have downloaded 6.5 billion apps, and Google's Android Market app store is rapidly gaining steam. Consumers are downloading and increasingly buying apps, developers are creating apps and service providers want to create an infrastructure that supports apps–particularly mobile apps which comprise about 90 percent of application downloads.
Service assurance? Not quite as sexy. Yet it is critical that operators consider service assurance as part of their app store strategies, especially if those app stores are to include third party content. In a recent Infonetics survey of operators on their service delivery platform deployment strategies, over half of respondents identified better enabling a developer community and integrating with third party content providers as key business drivers behind their SDP investments. Service providers clearly want to create an ecosystem in which they rely on content from third parties while maintaining the primary relationship with the subscriber.
The challenge? That model means that when something goes wrong with a content download, or if a streaming video session is disrupted, or any other number of things occurs that impacts the customer experience, that subscriber is going to hold the operator responsible, regardless of where the fault actually resides. That angry customer is looking for a throat to choke, and that throat is going to be its primary relationship: the operator.
Operators must be able to maintain control of the entire service value chain and manage the service from the content provider down to the end user. That necessitates a service assurance solution that:
- Supports comprehensive service quality management by integrating multiple management tools (fault/performance/SLA management, etc.) in a way that provides a seamless flow of information among systems
- Includes the integration of that assurance strategy into an overall service delivery framework that supports the end-to-end delivery of content services
Admittedly, it's not as attention-grabbing as a splashy app store strategy, but without a solid service assurance solution that includes monitoring of the end-to-end mobile infrastructure, an operator's app store could end up being the equivalent of a weak cardboard cutout masquerading as a storefront. Reliable service assurance is the mortar that service providers need to keep their digital warehouses operating smoothly.
For more information on end-to-end mobile service assurance, I invite you to view this recent webinar hosted by myself and Infovista.
Shira Levine is a directing analyst, next gen OSS and policy at Infonetics with 15 years experience working as an analyst and journalist in the telecommunications industry. She authors several Infonetics equipment market size and forecast reports on policy servers, service delivery platform (SDP) software and services, and subscriber data management (SDM) software and services, as well as an ongoing series of Continuous Research Service (CRS) notes and surveys on important communication industry players, technologies, and service provider trends.
This guest blog post by Infonetics is a feature of the End-to-End Mobile Service Assurance Expert Blog Series, which includes contributions from Heavy Reading, Infonetics and TMForum. We look forward to your comments.