Business agility with service automation

Service automation

Service automation is the only way to successfully manage services and applications across network and multi-cloud domains. By automating the service and application lifecycle management, communications service providers can provide a plethora of services in collaboration with many partners and ecosystems.

What is service automation?

Many service providers identify legacy systems and the manual intervention entailed as key constraints in achieving a higher level of service orchestration, assurance and automation. Since this capability is important for launching new offerings and life-cycle manage applications, communications service providers need to take actions to overcome those limitations.

While 5G promises new business opportunities, it also introduces new technology that, when blended with existing technology and the accelerated use of cloud-based services, significantly increases the service management complexity. This threatens speed, efficiency and profitability. A versatile way to simplify operations and maximize efficiency and solutions that close the automation gap is a must. That’s why service automation is needed. Service automation starts in automating tasks and functions that are performed manually today, often including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (ML/AI) components that not only performs but improves operations.

Benefits of service automation

By deploying new services faster, in addition to the cost savings, service providers gain from having more efficient and less manual operations. The ability to simplify the management of advanced services through catalog-driven and automated service creation, order management and provisioning using predefined templates, enables service providers to be more responsive and faster to meet market demands with a low cost of ownership.

Enterprise workloads are running on both public and private clouds, and they are distributed across multiple providers. To support this, enterprises need multi-domain service automation that optimizes the available resources; which will be possible by incorporating an orchestration manage a multi-domain, multi-vendor and multi-cloud environment.

With an orchestrator that combines, coordinates and integrates automated tasks across domains (radio, transport & core) and use cases such as network slicing, SD-WAN, edge services etc. communications service providers:

  • Optimize workflows of automated tasks across disparate systems
  • Support workloads running on both public and private clouds distributed across multiple providers
  • Optimize available resources, placement of virtual network functions (VNF’s) where capacity is needed on demand rather than having fixed capacity
  • Orchestrate network slices, to be instantiated, and life cycle managed based on dynamic consumer needs

Service automation will be a fundamental part enabling sufficient resources for your 5G services. With service automation of e.g. SD-WAN, network slices and edge services operators can expect significant benefits in cost structures and realizing new business opportunities.

Where are you in the automation journey?

The first step is often driven by the challenges of higher total cost of ownership (TCO) and long lead times for testing and deploying a service. To tackle these hurdles, operators are deciding to move towards virtualization, which means migrating from Physical Network Functions (PNFs) to Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). This migration starts with core applications, like vIMS or vEPC, and moves towards the edge with radio applications, like vRAN.

Step 1

In the second step, the network becomes a mix of physical network functions (PNFs) and virtual network functions (VNFs), containing both the legacy hardware and the new virtualized infrastructure. This new duality brings new challenges too, of course. Managing a heightened complexity and dealing with the increase in operational costs in order to manage this hybrid environment are two such examples. To have a single orchestrator that can handle physical and virtual network functions as well as container-based applications is critical for simplifying operations.

Step 2

The main challenges for the third and final step are related to the complexity of a hybrid environment and the need for agility to capitalize on new services. A hybrid environment brings the inefficiency of working in silos (both technical and organizational) and higher operational costs. New service introductions demand faster time to market so that monetization can begin as quickly as possible. However, accelerating monetization has its challenges. Automation can help overcome those challenges by simplifying operations, so the time to market is reduced.

Step 3

Ericsson’s approach to service automation

Ericsson’s service automation solutions simplify operations, moving you closer to the zero-touch experience.

  • A single orchestrator for radio, transport and core – managing physical, virtual and cloud native network functions.
  • AI-powered closed-loop assurance automatically adapts the network in real time, maintaining SLAs
  • Automated onboarding and continuous deployment accelerates time to market in multivendor environments.
  • Network slicing automation enables monetization of new business opportunities.
  • Unified product and service catalog, a single source of truth driving the whole fulfillment flow based on the defined configuration
  • Catalog driven order care with single point of supervision and management of order processes end-to-end
service automation GUI

SD-WAN orchestration

 Enterprise customers require more than basic SD-WAN service, leading service providers to take a multi-vendor approach to SD-WAN and creating a need to manage and orchestrate a multi-vendor SD-WAN ecosystem. By preparing to offer diverse SD-WAN vendor solutions, service providers can provide a comprehensive enterprise-edge solution, but these solutions must be managed effectively in order to assure superior quality of service.

Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration not only manages a multi-vendor SD-WAN environment, it also lays the foundation to a full-stack NFV platform that can go beyond SD-WAN into multiple domains, from network access, to backhaul transport, to enterprise core to 5G edge and network slices. With benefits that span simplified SD-WAN management and the agility to deploy enterprise services, Ericsson's solution has been proven in Verizon’s deployment to support bundles of SD-WAN with security, SD-WAN with WAN optimization and many more variations. 

Explore the components of our Service automation portfolio

Ericsson Orchestrator

The Ericsson Orchestrator enables automation of your hybrid infrastructure including PNFs and VNFs. It supports Resource Orchestration, VNF Life Cycle Management and End-to-end Service Orchestration for both Telco and Enterprise environments.

Ericsson Catalog Manager

Catalog Manager allows customers to rapidly launch and enable new innovative offerings with simple user experience and enterprise product, service & resource catalog capabilities. 

Ericsson Order Care

Improve the customer experience with Ericsson Order Care, an order management system for handling automated workflows and manual work activities across services, systems and groups.

CENX Service Assurance

CENX Service Assurance allows you to see service topology, inventory, fault, and performance from all your disparate systems, correlated into a single view. 

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