How do intelligent IT operations drive business outcomes?
Traditionally, IT Operations are focused on cost management, however, the role has evolved to encompass the delivery of business outcomes. Automated Business Service Management is the best way to proactively balance business outcomes and cost reduction by monitoring critical business measures such as order success rate.
Envision a day in the world of the OSS and BSS operations director. The morning begins with optimism as reports show that the system is performing flawlessly and technical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are meeting expectations. Yet, the day takes a worrying turn when the Head of Customer Care unveils a surge in customer complaints, attributing them to inefficient applications and customer-facing business processes.
The dilemma of monitoring application-level performance (on technical KPI) but missing the service performance raises a critical question for everyone in the OSS and BSS organization - “How can we swiftly isolate the root cause of poor customer experience to mitigate potential loss in customers and revenue?”
This scenario sounds familiar, doesn't it? Many service providers realize that the IT operations center's view of end-to-end service quality is limited. For example, is there a clear view of the order success rate and where the orders are failing? The complexity further intensifies in a multi-vendor IT environment, where numerous teams are engaged in operations, often with minimal coordination across various teams.
Complexity and manual touchpoints are problematic
Many service providers have adapted multiple technology generations in both networks and IT. The evolution of IT systems to cater for new services resulted in deployment of multiple new systems and associated processes which has resulted in fragmented processes and complex integrations in the IT environment. To handle process fallouts, massive, repetitive, and complex rule-based transactions must be carried out manually. However, it can lead to longer resolution time, increased operational costs, and impact on overall customer experience.
For commercial success with 5G services, the added complexities introduced by partner management processes and handling of network slicing must be managed effectively throughout daily operations. The effective management of partner and network slice management is crucial for commercial success with 5G services. As IT systems shift toward cloud-native approaches, it is crucial to re-evaluate traditional troubleshooting methods and establish effective mechanisms for resolving process and application issues.
The challenge now is to be efficient and forge a way to modernize IT for new revenue possibilities, while improving customer experience.
Enhancing service experience
To ensure that service providers are prepared for their new role in a digital enterprise, the IT operations must change. Service monitoring dashboards with drill-down capability, business process engineering, process automation, and improved intelligence through AI/ML are the key pillars to enhance end-to-end service quality.
Let us take a closer look at each of them.
Service monitoring dashboards
Service monitoring is the critical enabler for executing digitized and data-driven operations. A service monitoring dashboard provides an overview of the state of a specific service and helps to change IT operations towards improved business outcomes. It offers a graphical representation of the process/service flow and the KPIs for each stage of the process. It further allows drill-down to identify the applications and systems that are causing service degradation.
The following sample snapshot provides CXOs with a comprehensive overview of the business services. Additionally, this dashboard has a drill-down feature that allows you to access the service layer, application layer, and infrastructure layer. With this functionality, it is easier to identify the application or infrastructure that is causing service performance degradation.
Business process re-engineering and automation
The automation journey starts with assessing and re-engineering the processes based on leading global practices. Inefficiencies and repetitive manual steps identified in processes help determine automation potential, which can then be implemented using an automation framework.
A repository of “software robots” can be created through Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Run Book Automation (RBA) technologies and utilizing the operational expertise within the organization. These bots can be seamlessly deployed to automatically execute tasks triggered by specific events, effectively alleviating the need for manual efforts.
For example, a Middle Eastern service provider deployed an automation framework to handle order failures. Based on the error codes of the failed orders, this framework executed the corresponding actions to mitigate the failure. It resulted in provisioning process improvement by 60 percent, with 99 percent of orders getting fulfilled in less than 20 seconds.
Similarly, a Southeast Asian service provider used automation to enable one-touch billing. The billing processes consisted of pre-billing, billing, and post-billing activities with approximately 50 sub-processes. The solution automated and orchestrated these sub-processes so that no dedicated agent is required. This did not only improve the costs but also reduced the bill cycle time from four days to one day, thus improving working capital.
Improve intelligence through AI/ML use cases
The next breakthrough can be achieved through the application of advanced data analytics, AI, and machine learning (ML) use cases. The AI and ML-based solutions collect and correlate data from multiple IT layers and OSS/BSS systems and generate insights on the process performance. For example, after implementing AI-driven automation to improve the performance of order management processes, the order failure rates decreased by 90 percent for a North American CSP. The AI system pinpointed anomalies in order flow by collecting and processing data from multiple IT layers – including hardware, databases, applications, and multiple OSS/BSS systems such as service bus, order management, activation, charging, billing, and product catalog. The scalable and replicable AI framework analyzed the root cause to predict and prevent order fallouts.
Move towards intelligent IT operations
Building automation bots, applying AI/ML models, and creating service dashboards are necessary to carry out intelligent IT operations. These assets need to be created and continuously enhanced by expert staff who have access to quality data sets. At Ericsson, we are helping our customers along this journey by developing and continuously enhancing automation and AI/ML models using varied data sets. Our research and development teams are continuously identifying and developing new RPA, RBA bots, and AI/ML models and creating a repository of these use cases for further reuse, expediting future deployments.
With this repository of AI/ML and automation use cases, Ericsson Automated Business Service Management can potentially reduce OPEX by 25 to 30 percent and customer complaints by up to 30 percent. The scale of operations is already increasing day by day, it is time to step up a gear on the automation journey toward business-driven management.
It involves regular assessment of the key issues in delivering service to the subscribers, continuously focusing on automating the manual touchpoints, and following intelligent routes to deliver the business outcomes. It will help the CSPs to go beyond reactive response to proactively fix the issues so that the subscribers enjoy superior service experience thus mitigating the customer and revenue loss.
Automated business service management is the best way to balance the delivery of business outcomes and cost reduction.
How can you ensure that your entire transformation life cycle is supported?
As a trusted partner, we work collaboratively with our customers, providing the right level of service at every stage of their journey. We Advise, Build, Operate, and Ensure before, during, and after discrete software implementation or in larger end-to-end business transformations. Within the realm of Ericsson’s Services offerings, Automated Business Service Management is part of the Operate services portfolio.
Beyond the conventional boundaries of technology provision, we transcend into a commitment to transformation through our services. Acknowledging the unique path of each transformation, we provide services to address distinct needs. Our unwavering focus is on the customer transformation life cycle, where we tackle challenges and opportunities from strategic planning through implementation to ongoing support and operation.
Our objective is to deliver tangible business outcomes and exceptional experiences, right from enhancing operational efficiency to elevating customer satisfaction to driving revenue growth. In essence, our OSS/BSS portfolio is not a mere collection of products; it embodies a holistic commitment to comprehensive, end-to-end transformation. It ensures that CSPs embark on a journey of continual success when partnering with us.
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