Technology is too often dismissed as a company cost — yet used wisely it can create business. For service providers, where consumers are demanding faster and cheaper services with richer content, this means juggling service expectations with budgetary constraints.
Getting more from infrastructure, without paying more, is a key challenge, especially for mobile and telecomms operators that have grown quickly through mergers and acquisitions and are typified by disparate networks running a multitude of technologies. Network management becomes fire fighting — struggling to locate the cause of a network outage for it to be fixed. Often it is a battle to identify the customer or service being impacted — yet this is the critical issue, as it is the customer that drives the business.
IT operators must shift their focus away from managing the network to delivering the service.
Traditional network management platforms monitored the status of IT equipment only.
Today’s service assurance solutions rapidly consolidate the diverse network systems, platforms, applications, equipment and best-of-breed software to pinpoint network faults and decrease the repair time, providing an overview of the network data that is most essential for running the services.
The next stage is to further mine service data to build a picture of the business, its customers, strategy and key differentiators. This helps the service provider identify and plan new streams of revenue. Through the intelligent enriching of network data with information drawn from the business — for example, service information and data drawn from customer-facing packages — service providers can distinguish those customers with a high level of consumption, identify the services that are likely to increase average revenue per user (ARPU), and understand the way that customers want to use those services, uncovering a host of valuable business drivers. Furthermore, they can recognise these drivers in real time, enabling service providers to quickly identify and capitalise on customer trends, market conditions and technological developments.
Those service providers that use the network to shape business direction and strategic goals will be the companies that emerge from this tough economic climate with a strong, sure product offering, a loyal and consistent customer base, and a seemingly intuitive feel for market success.
Ammar Hindi is VP Asia Pacific of Micromuse