Centralized Operations Strategies

Centralized Operations Strategies

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Description: Centralization brings immediate benefits for operators seeking to improve network efficiency and quality as well as coming to grips with digital convergence transformation. The digital future will see greater virtualization of operational and business functions, increased automation, more rapid reactions to technological and operational change and a shift of focus towards customer experience management.

 
Author: Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (Senior) | Visits: 370 | Page Views: 449
Domain:  Business Category: Management 
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Contents:
Centralized Operations:
Strategies for Today and Tomorrow
Higher Efficiency, Better Quality, Quicker Readiness
Managed Services White Paper

Contents

1. Executive Summary .................................................. 1
2. Why Centralization Now? ........................................ 2
3. Readiness for SDN/NFV Operations ......................... 4
4. Roads to Transformation ......................................... 5
5. Centralization by Global Operations Centers (GOC) .. 7
6. Conclusion .............................................................. 9

Centralized Operations: Strategies for Today and Tomorrow
Higher Efficiency, Better Quality, Quicker Readiness

1
Executive Summary
Centralization brings immediate benefits for operators
seeking to improve network efficiency and quality as well
as coming to grips with digital convergence transformation.
The digital future will see greater virtualization of operational
and business functions, increased automation, more rapid
reactions to technological and operational change and a
shift of focus towards customer experience management.
The Communications Service Provider (CSP) business is
undergoing radical change as a result of significant shifts
in market dynamics. To remain competitive or grow market
share, many CSPs are determined to evolve from traditional
telecoms business operations towards new business models.
Enabling the evolution of Telecoms and IT convergence, new
technologies such as Self Organizing Networks (SON) driven
by 4G/LTE network rollouts, Cloud-based RAN, Software
Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization
(NFV) will have a tremendous impact on CSP business
models and the way networks are designed, implemented
and operated.

Centralization of operations is core to the transformational
journey to digital convergence. Centralization is essential
if CSPs are to optimize the management of business and
network operations, deliver cost savings, improve time to
market and deliver improved quality assurance and customer
experience, and future-proof their operations. SDN/NFV
will play a particularly important role in centralizing and
optimizing network management, intelligence and control,
although a phased approach is recommended, making use
of a close strategic partner to help guide and implement the
process.
Global Operations Centers (GOCs) will also be needed
to facilitate system, process and organizational changes
through a series of controlled and phased transformations
and migrations and for maximum effect and success these
should be implemented in collaboration with an experienced
solutions delivery partner.
This brief white paper looks at the challenges and benefits
of the Centralization model as well the phased approach
required to deliver a successful centralization transformation.
1

2
Why Centralization Now?
Optimized management of business and
network operations
Operators continually seek greater control over CAPEX
and OPEX in an environment of varied business pressures.
Shifts in markets and technologies, price pressures from
competitors and regulators, declining traditional service
ARPUs and demand for more service features, quality and
bandwidth combine to make this increasingly challenging.
These challenges above are driving transformation, with the
most common objectives being
• Cost Optimization
• Faster Time to Market
• Assured Quality
• Effective Control
• Better Customer Experience
• Future Readiness
Centralization provides a real opportunity to meet all of an
operator’s transformation objectives. In fact, according
to a global survey conducted by Ovum in May-June 2014
(Figure 1), 53% of operators have already implemented or
are implementing a centralized operations strategy of some
kind and a further 23% are considering it. The following
5 Centralization elements can help CSPs to realize these
transformation objectives:
Does Your Company have a Centralized
Operations Strategy?
40%

35%

35%
30%
25%

20%

20%

23%
18%

15%
10%
5%

4%

0%
No

No, but being
considered

Yes, in
planning

Yes, being
Yes, and
implemented completed

Figure 1: Ovum’s global survey: Centralized
Operations Strategy
2

Consolidation
Consolidation of network and IT/OSS platforms is often a
key target for centralization as it offers considerable and
immediate operational savings. In a consolidated platform
environment it is easier to apply automation progressively
to further reduce service delivery costs. Off-shoring labor
and functions to a centralized and consolidated platform
location is generally more cost efficient than multiple local
provision and enables synergy across functions, resources
and benefit from economies of scale. In those scenarios
where CSPs own multiple operating companies (OpCos)
in various geographies, consolidation and centralized
resources provide the ability for visibility across all OpCos’
operations and implementation of consistent and standard
performance and reporting across the whole group. It is

Centralized Operations: Strategies for Today and Tomorrow
Higher Efficiency, Better Quality, Quicker Readiness

then possible to apply streamlined and the measurable
benchmarking as achievable targets for the dynamic and
continuous improvement for the whole group.
Expert resource pool for both network & IT
As the merger of telecoms and IT networks continues,
the need for available expert resources with competence
and experience in both domains becomes ever more
critical. Investment in the cohesive development of
people capabilities, competence and professionalism are
increasingly important in the new operational landscape
with technical expertise, process and project management
and quality assurance capabilities critical to successful
operational outcomes.
Creating a pool of these resources in a central location
working to standards specific to telecoms and IT operations
such as ITIL and eTOM will enable faster time to market for
new applications and services launches than was previously
possible.

Operations improvement and business insights
Centralized operations and systems make it easier to
measure and improve customer experience and delivered
service quality. By combining the supervision of networks
and operations into a central location, it is possible to
provide a consolidated and consistent view of the customer
experience, and a wide variety of service operations metrics
relevant to customer experience are gathered. This allows
near real time analysis within a central, dedicated location
enabling both reactive and proactive resolution of customer
experience issues and network and service performance
degradation. Additionally a wide range of valuable customer
behavior business intelligence data may be collected and
analyzed in near real time for example to assess the impact
and effectiveness of marketing campaigns such as: tariff
changes or promotional offers; Customer behavior in
specific locations; analysis of top user/top device; Roamer
behavior and many more.
Preparing for virtualization

Best practices and continuous improvement
Centralized operations centers compliant with TL9000
Quality Management System (QMS) standards, provide
a managed environment where skills may be continually
developed and shared. This is achieved through Knowledge
Management Sharing of best practices, to assure best
possible operational performance, as well as ensuring a
flexible resource pool and minimization of transformation
risk.
In centralized operations centers, the exchange of technical
expertise and knowledge is encouraged. Subject matter
experts, engineers and technicians work closely together,
utilizing the best available tools, processes and best
practices. Service performance across a number of regions
or operating countries may be monitored and measured
by specialized teams. To ensure delivery of dynamic and
continuous improvement across an operator’s companies,
this team applies internal and external benchmarking to
establish baseline and desired key performance metrics
which can provide early warning of KPI or SQI deviation as
well as performing off line root cause analysis to prevent
future performance degradation.

The continued centralization trend will see the emergence of
Software Defined Network (SDN) enabled Network Function
Virtualization Infrastructures (NFVI), whereby network
resource pools may be dimensioned dynamically in response
to network demands, to achieve maximum resource
efficiency and flexibility while delivering superior customer
experience. The transformational challenges to prepare for
this are still being discussed and Centralization is a key step
towards initiating this major change.

Consolidation
Expert resource pool for
networks & IT
Best practices &
Continuous Improvement
Operations Improvement
& Business Insights

Future
Readiness

Cost
Optimization

Better
Customer
Experience

Effective
Control

Faster Time
to Market

Assured
Quality

Preparing for
Virtualization

Figure 2: Common objectives leading to
Centralized Operations

3

3

Readiness for SDN/NFV Operations

SDN and NFV are emerging technologies which will
greatly change the future of telecom operations. These
technologies will allow network management, intelligence
and control to be centralized and optimized, allowing for
more efficient and flexible resource allocation and the
dynamic deployment of network assets.
CSPs have begun to investigate how to transform their
networks into leaner, more flexible and cost effective
platforms. This requires the adoption of SDN, NFV and
associated IT concepts to deliver more flexible and costeffective traffic management and to virtualize network
components, so making the transition from hardware to
software. While these changes are initially occurring in the
data center, both network and data center will become
increasingly unified around a single network, starting
initially with the core network. While it is still early days
numerous NFV Proofs of Concept (PoC) are already in
progress and momentum is growing.
4

This centralization trend will see future networks with SDN
enabled Network Function Virtualization Infrastructures
(NFVI), where resource pools can be orchestrated to
dynamically provision and de-provision virtual network
functions at any time and any place based on user
and network demands, Quality of Service assignments
etc. to achieve maximum network resource efficiency
and flexibility as well as delivering superior customer
experience. Virtualized network function infrastructures
such as cloud based RAN will significantly reduce OPEX
and improve network performance.
Furthermore, in future cloud based operations and
virtualization, network and data security and business
continuity management are mission critical issues. Having
these functions delivered in a controlled standards
compliant environment such as the GOC will be essential
to delivery of robust secure network operations.

Centralized Operations: Strategies for Today and Tomorrow
Higher Efficiency, Better Quality, Quicker Readiness

However, the evolution to software-centric network
architecture will not be an easy transformation for CSPs.
They will require strong vendor and MSP partnerships to
bring expertise and competencies to the table and help to
transform their operations. CSPs are likely to need to tap into
MSP expertise with the assistance of professional services,
including not just outsourcing of specific tasks but also
consulting around NFV architecture issues, network design
and systems integration of SDN, NFV and OSS elements
and interworking. From a broader perspective, CSPs will
require partners who can help implement changes that

4

transform traditional OSS and BSS, make effective use of
Big Data analytics and CEM and break down functional
silos by supporting open digital operations and ecosystem
management. Effecting all these changes will require service
platform and competence improvements and assistance
with operations centralization and the implementation of
standardized processes.
Therefore a phased approach to transformation and
centralization is recommended, making use of a close
strategic partner to help guide and implement the process.

Roads to Transformation

Step by step approach to minimize risk
The benefits of centralization are clearly visible, as are the
challenges to change. As with most transformation projects,
change resistance will be experienced across the in-scope
organization, necessitating not only systems transition
expertise but also enhanced people and communication
skills to achieve acceptance of the centralized operations
objectives.
To minimize risks of ambitious transformations, a
methodology based on three phases is recommended. Each
phase consists of a series of systematic steps that map the
journey for successful migration from a distributed to a
centralized operating model.
Through years of experience and knowledge gained from
successful centralization projects around the world, the
proven 3 phase systematic approach is illustrated in Figure 3.

5

Phase 1
It is the preparation phase, involving establishment of business objectives for centralization: “As-Is” capture; “To-be” objectives
definition; and gap analysis resulting in a detailed scope of work, agreed phasing and technology road maps with detailed risk
analysis and mitigation planning.
Phase 2
It involves production of a high level solution design, collaborative agreement with the customer of the solution scope and
implementation of the agreed plan. During this phase the transition of personnel, tools and processes takes place to the new
centralized operation center. A period of stabilization is then implemented during which adjustments and process optimization
will occur.
Phase 3
It is the completion of the transformation to steady state operations, after completion of the stabilization period. During this
phase, evaluation will take place of the established centralized people, tools and processes against the objectives agreed
in Phase 1 and necessary corrections made. This phase also involves benchmarking of the centralized performance and
establishment of baseline metrics. A continuous improvement process will be implemented from this point onwards.
Phase 3:
Continuous Improvement
Phase 1:
Business Alignment

Identify
Centralization
Scope

Phase 2:
Operation Model Design & Execution

Gap Analysis

Centralization Model
Design

Migration & Operation

Lifecycle Evaluation & Benchmarking

Figure 3: Phased systematic approach to Centralization

6

Centralized Operations: Strategies for Today and Tomorrow
Higher Efficiency, Better Quality, Quicker Readiness

5 Operations Centers (GOC)
Centralization by Global

We have discussed the relevance of centralization, the
emergence of new technologies and the need for a phased
approach to Transformation. Whether transforming to
accommodate the introduction of the new technologies,
or simple cost reduction, it is unlikely that the changes
discussed will occur as a single “big bang” event, but rather
as a series of controlled and phased transformations and
migrations.
To facilitate this approach, an effective centralized operation
approach will address system, process and organizational
a l i g n m e n t , o p e ra t i o n a l g o v e r n a n c e a n d o n g o i n g
improvement strategies incrementally supported by high

quality, flexible secure platforms, within a customer-centric
service culture – Global Operations Centers (GOC).

GOC - resources, future readiness and global
expertise
People and organization excellence are the stable
foundations for GOC. As the core assets of the GOC, bestin-class resources are gathered together employing global
best practices compliant with internationally recognized
standards, ensuring the best possible operational outcomes.
Continuous recruitment and development training programs
based on experience and knowledge sharing ensure
competence readiness and resource availability.

7

GOC enables OSS as a service

GOC is multidimensional in capabilities

We mentioned earlier that one of the key objectives
of centralization is consolidation and rationalization of
Operational Support Services (OSS). In the GOC model, this
can be taken a stage further with centralized OSS services
offered to multiple operations from a single location by
provision of a Centralized data collection platform and
consolidated automated OSS systems supporting customer
support, B2B, network and service operations, front and
back office and field maintenance functions. This GOC
approach to OSS is of course, multi-vendor, multi-technology
and multi-language ready and allows for the management of
multiple SLA across different operators.

Another advantage of the GOC operational model is that in
addition to delivery of the standard operations capabilities
of process, platforms, tools and people; a systematic
program management capability can be imposed centrally
to assure consistent service delivery in terms of multi country
transformations, performance management initiatives etc.
and move the organization towards a more service and
experience focused culture. Some global operators have
partially implemented this concept with establishment
of centralized but non OSS integrated service assurance
functions serving many countries.

An example of how the GOC centralized functions may be extended is illustrated in Figure 4.

Centralized Functions
Network Perform Management

IT Operation

Service Quality Management

Managed Planning & Engineering

NOC Operation

Spare Parts Mgmt

Operation Model
Migration & Consolidation

Organization & Governance

IT & Connectivity

Baseline & Benchmarking

Security Management

BCP & DR

Enabler
MSUP
(Unified Process Framework,
Operation model)

MAI
(Continuous Improvement)

Figure 4: Functional areas of GOC Centralized Operations

8

OSS GHub
(Cloud-based OSS)

Centralized Operations: Strategies for Today and Tomorrow
Higher Efficiency, Better Quality, Quicker Readiness

6
Conclusion
CSPs have wrestled for some time with the multiple conflicting challenges of how to introduce new network technologies
and services, remove barriers between network services and infrastructure, reduce CAPEX and OPEX, and achieve network
elasticity and scalability to meet demand, all without degradation of service and indeed with significant improvements to the
customer experience.
Centralization is the key for CSPs to make the transformation to become digital service providers and prepare for future
technology introductions.
Choosing the right partner to share responsibility for centralization transformation to achieve the desired measurable business
outcomes is crucial. A partner with a track record of delivery excellence in Centralization projects is recommended, with a
culture of best practice knowledge sharing and demonstrated expertise.
As a leading Managed Services Provider, Huawei has achieved global best practice recognition in the delivery of cost-effective,
transparent and secure operations for multi-network, multi-vendor and multi-technology centralization projects around the
world for a diverse range of operators.

9

Romania, Bucharest
Multi-Network, Multi-Technology, Multi-Vendor
Multi-Language
Platform Consolidation for faster technical solution
R&D Experts for technical support

India, Bangalore

Innovation for ICT solution

ISO27001
certified

Dedicated Security Operation Center

Standards

Migration

TMF Certified MSUP Process Framework
Certified Security Framework

System

Best
Practices

Migration Activity Standards
Practical Shadowing & Reverse Shadowing

Competency
MAI Library Operation Metrics
Operation Baseline & Global Benchmarking
MS Competence Center

Flexible Integration to OSS-GHub
Automation in ITR Process Multi-vendor management

GOC Romania

GOC India