Skip navigation
Like what you’re reading?

How to take an operational approach to network slicing

Network slicing emerges as a pivotal strategy for CSPs to seize revenue opportunities. OSS/BSS systems must get ready to operationalize new use cases and focus on key areas like multi-domain orchestration, scaling network slicing profitably, and aligning business outcomes with operational processes.

Principal Consultant – Orchestration and Automation – Ericsson Global Consulting

Solution Marketing OSS/BSS

How to take an operational approach to network slicing

Principal Consultant – Orchestration and Automation – Ericsson Global Consulting

Solution Marketing OSS/BSS

Principal Consultant – Orchestration and Automation – Ericsson Global Consulting

Contributor (+1)

Solution Marketing OSS/BSS

Evolution of network and service operations in the 5G era 

In a recent eBrief Network slicing – operational enablement, we see how important it is for network and service operations to transform in the 5G era to effectively manage complexity and drive revenue. Network slicing presents new and interesting revenue opportunities by enabling the creation of differentiated connectivity services. However, traditional network and service operations are insufficient for realizing innovative slicing scenarios and seamless service experiences. A structured operational enablement approach is necessary to align slicing capabilities across business, technical, and operational domains, transforming the existing operating model.  

Multi-domain and multi-technology service orchestration and assurance simplify operations through automation. This is made possible by Ericsson Service Orchestration and Assurance as an engine of innovation for multi-domain service orchestration in multi-vendor environments. It is extended by Ericsson Dynamic Network Slicing solution assets to realize network slicing life cycle management and service life cycle automation. Associated Ericsson OSS/BSS Services drive better business outcomes across service orchestration and assurance.  

Services for successful OSS BSS network slicing journey 

To support CSPs along OSS/BSS network slicing journeys, Ericsson has identified the need to deliver a set of new services that combine expertise of Ericsson to – Advise, Build, Operate and Ensure.   Determining the best and fastest route to market for their new services, while reducing common risks to implementing network slicing is no longer entirely uncharted territory - frontrunners are already making progress.  

Several critical steps in the journey deserve special attention:  

  • Network slicing monetization - Market assessment, use case prioritization, value proposition, GTM and pricing strategy
  • Network slice readiness and operationalization - Technical assessment, operationalization of network slicing strategy, evolution strategy
  • Multi-vendor integration and support - Dynamic Network Slicing solution extendibility with integration of new vendors into network slice ecosystem
  • Automated Service Orchestration and Assurance platform operations - Overall performance monitoring of the platform enabled by AI/ML capabilities
  • Business-driven slice management and operations - Management of new slice templates based on tailored requirements and end to end automated business process operations

Critical success factors include:  

  1. Reducing the risks associated with network slicing operationalization  
  2. Providing effective implementation for end-to-end network slicing lifecycle management, automation and operations at scale  
  3. Introducing new services to market faster, ensuring a faster time-to-launch and a higher rate of successful orders  
  4. Transforming network operations for a better service experience through seamless process and application monitoring for peak performance and unmatched quality 

Ericsson Digital Target Operating Model (DTOM) 

A well-structured operational enablement for network slicing requires alignment of capabilities across business, technology, and operations. Assessing the CSP’s operating model across customer, processes, product-offerings, organization, people, eco-system, and tools, delivers insights on the technology roadmap and prioritization required for slicing use cases. The goal here is to achieve better operational efficiency and business readiness for innovative new services that demand new business models and operational alignment. 

Network slicing – operational enablement eBrief details how the Digital Target Operating Model (DTOM) supports the alignment of business models with network slice operations. The DTOM has eight dimensions that warrant careful consideration to assess the impact of slice-based service operations and plan necessary steps to bridge the gaps across the impacted dimensions.  

Figure 1: Operational impacts across the eight dimensions of the DTOM

Figure 1: Operational impacts across the eight dimensions of the DTOM

Figure 1 depicts the top-level DTOM structure and dimensions that must be considered for a fruitful, operational impact assessment and design. 



Digital strategy 

Align with the CSP’s overall digital strategy, encompassing such factors as the business model, channel strategy, and centralized vs. CSP specific variations. 


Manage customer-specific journeys and the superior service experience that CSPs want to provide targeted customer segments. 


Cost-effectively manage, automate, orchestrate, and assure a slice-enabled network and overlay services. 


Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Service Level Indicators (SLIs), Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) to monitor the performance of digital operations that are delivering and managing slice-driven services across the partner ecosystem. 

Digital architecture 

Embrace capabilities driven by next-generation systems to achieve greater operational efficiency. 

Organization and governance 

Establish or improve operational governance with a horizontal as well as vertical view to meet more demanding organizational objectives. 

Value chain and ecosystem 

Improve capabilities to achieve zero-touch partnering, such as standard open API-based integration and visibility towards E2E service quality. 

People and culture 

Adopt an innately agile mindset and better collaboration across the CSP and supplier/partner landscape. 

Enabling successful operationalization of network slicing with DTOM 

Identifying slicing-enabled commercial use cases and determining business models are essential steps for CSPs to succeed in the 5G ecosystem. Understanding the interconnected 5G, IT, and industry-specific ecosystems is crucial for offering innovative services.  

It is essential for CSPs to address the shortcomings of their IT capabilities and process setup if they are to simultaneously optimize service operations. CSPs are now approaching service design, fulfillment, orchestration, and assurance as a consolidated transformational element. Automating processes across these consolidated closed-loop service operations is the overarching goal of many of the IT transformation projects in the industry currently. 

Closing the loop: CSPs aim to automate service orchestration and assurance - Ericsson


CSPs need to define slice-enabled product offerings and analyze customer and back-office journeys to ensure superior service experiences. Mapping out customer touchpoints and partner interactions is crucial for delivering seamless service and managing operations effectively across own departments as well as across partner landscape. 

Network slicing capabilities significantly impact CSPs' operations and OSS/BSS domains, requiring advanced capabilities for dynamic offer creation, fulfillment, assurance, and billing. CSPs need to invest in advanced OSS/BSS capabilities to enable a new state of cost-efficient and agile slice orchestration and assurance. To do so, CSPs need to perform a detailed maturity assessment of their legacy OSS/BSS architecture and identify the capabilities that need to be enhanced or newly added to prepare for slice-based service orchestration and assurance. 

Openness matters 

An Open Digital Architecture (ODA) based approach supported through OSS/BSS functional capabilities recommended by TM Forum’s (TMF) Applications Framework (GB929) is the recommended way to approach the overall assessment of a CSP’s “As-Is” functional architecture, perform a gap analysis and formulate a target digital architecture blueprint to drive the architectural evolution needed. 


Efficient business and measurable processes are essential for removing silos across OSS/BSS building blocks and enabling seamless operations. CSPs need to define clear operational activities, sequences, prerequisites, and steps for various scenarios like slice-enabled service ordering and provisioning. Business process reengineering and alignment with IT capabilities are crucial for achieving operational efficiency. 

Setting up performance metrics is essential for tracking operational effectiveness and driving continuous improvement. CSPs need to define metrics related to slice operational efficiency, service fulfillment, speed and agility, quality of experience, cost efficiency, innovation, and partner efficiency. An indicative-layered approach is suggested for defining and monitoring slice operational metrics. 

Collaboration with partners and ecosystem integration are critical for zero-touch slicing operations. Network APIs and standardization efforts drive automation and innovation, enabling CSPs to offer complex digital services. CSPs must adopt open API-driven integration and collaborate with standardization bodies to facilitate ecosystem integration effectively. 

Agile transformation of people and cultures is necessary to manage operational complexity and coordinate SLAs with customers and partners effectively. Cloud-native transformation requires adopting an agile mindset, improving collaboration, and transforming software delivery and lifecycle management processes. CSPs must focus on roles and skills, governance, organizational structure, collaboration improvement, and reusable infrastructure services to drive agile orchestration and assurance. 

Operational alignment is the key to CSP success 

A top-down approach aligned with business readiness and operations is crucial for de-risking network slicing operational enablement. CSPs must align solution development with operational readiness and partner with trusted advisors like Ericsson to ensure successful transformation. Proper planning and synchronization between technical and operational tracks are necessary to meet expectations and realize business value effectively. 

Successful transformation of complex network slice-enabled digital services requires more than basic implementation of service orchestration and assurance platforms. CSPs must focus on maximizing value realization through network slicing monetization and operationalization. Ericsson offers advisory services to guide CSPs in unlocking revenue growth, driving efficient operations, facilitating digital services, and leveraging regional knowledge for accelerated transformation. 

To explore the essential role of service orchestration and assurance in enabling CSPs to profitably capture new service opportunities quickly and easily, you can catch up on demand this recent LinkedIn live  featuring Telia, Telstra, Rogers and Telefonica sharing their success and progress:  Fuel innovation with service orchestration and assurance | LinkedIn

Read more:

OSS/BSS solutions to maximize business efficiency - Ericsson

OSS/BSS evolution for successful 5G monetization - Ericsson 

Network slicing – operational enablement - Ericsson 

OSS/BSS Services for better business outcomes - Ericsson 

Service orchestration for better service quality - Ericsson 

Brief Ericsson network orchestration and assurance services 

Brief Ericsson Service Orchestration and Assurance 

Brief Accelerating 5G business growth with Ericsson Dynamic Network Slicing 

The Ericsson Blog

Like what you’re reading? Please sign up for email updates on your favorite topics.

Subscribe now

At the Ericsson Blog, we provide insight to make complex ideas on technology, innovation and business simple.