BMC – Enabling the CSP of tomorrow, today
For communications service providers (CSPs), the pressure is on. As new experiences, consumer preferences, and competitive pressures transform the landscape, companies throughout the industry are moving fast to establish leadership in a new era of digital innovation. To drive growth and retain customers, they must introduce new products faster, maintain higher quality across their service portfolio, and make better use of data to drive business decisions—all while mitigating risk and lowering operating cost. Simply put, they must elevate their network operations to new levels of excellence.
For over a decade, Vodafone and other leading CSPs around the world have relied on BMC Software solutions to transform and advance their IT services and operations capabilities. Now, the same technologies and practices can deliver a similar impact for network operations—and help CSPs secure their position in the industry vanguard. In this blog, we’ll discuss the drivers for this change and the results it has delivered for Vodafone.
Driving growth in a customer-centric society
Competitive differentiation for CSPs in today’s customer-centric market depends on two interrelated factors: innovating with new digital services, and delivering an outstanding customer experience. As trends like multi-access edge computing (MEC), 5G slicing, IoT, and mobile private networks (MPN) redefine the landscape, exciting new possibilities are emerging for both consumer and enterprise offerings. Creating new product offerings is only the beginning; to build customer loyalty, protect their business, and drive long-term growth, operators need to keep subscribers so satisfied with their services and customer experience that they’d never think of looking elsewhere.
Capitalizing on this new wave of innovation isn’t just an opportunity for CSPs—it’s a necessity. Having made massive investments in 5G and MEC, and in the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, operators need to ensure that these expenditures will translate into long-term profitability. The digital economy will be shaped by the leading gigabit networks—those with connectivity & digital solutions delivered by customer centric, AI-powered systems.
Delivering scale, productivity, and agility for a market in transformation
As operators move quickly to meet changing market demand, they often run into the constraints of traditional delivery models, platforms, and management methods. The network infrastructure in place has typically grown incrementally over time into a patchwork of separate delivery platforms for different types of services. Therefore, network operations teams struggle with legacy infrastructure, non-standard tooling and processes, limited automation, and a lack of visibility across this complex environment. As a result, they spend too much time and effort on even routine tasks, and fall back on reactive service assurance and management rather than working proactively to ensure the best possible customer experience.
CSPs already use BMC Software solutions to help IT operations and service management teams improve quality, resiliency, and agility within the systems that support their enterprise. The same technologies can now help operators modernise their network environment operations to meet a new generation of challenges.
Enabling efficiency with zero-touch operations
The most effective way to simplify and accelerate operations is to automate as much as possible. By minimizing human interaction during the deployment, operation, and remediation of network services, CSPs can complete these tasks more quickly and consistently while freeing valuable human talent for higher-level work. This includes evolving service assurance to detect and resolve faults automatically to minimize disruption to customer services—and even proactively identify performance degradation or network malfunction before they create problems and generate alarms. Ultimately, network operations will move to a closed-loop, lights-out model where service assurance activities are driven entirely by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).
As CSPs extend the role of automation across network operations, it’s important to understand its purpose—not simply to define a set of conditions and actions, but to achieve a specific goal for the business. By taking an intent-driven approach to automation, operators can start with the desired outcome—for example, maintain service at quality X—and let AI/ML determine the best way to achieve this outcome. To capture and harness the data needed to build this capability, CSPs can leverage the data within their existing IT service and operations management platforms, realizing even greater value from these investments.
Gaining flexibility with cloud-native networks
The widescale adoption of cloud-native technologies and cloud platforms has enabled a new era of more open, software-defined, and autonomous networking. Trends like software-defined networking (SDN), cloud network functions (CNF), and ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform) make it possible to orchestrate and deliver network functionality faster, at a lower cost, with greater resiliency. In this way, operators can respond more quickly to specific customer requests, helping strengthen their satisfaction and loyalty while removing the temptation to consider competing products.
Helping Vodafone drive transformation
Scott Petty, Chief Digital and IT Officer at Vodafone, has seen firsthand the difference BMC Software can make in the Digital Transformation required when building the CSP of tomorrow, as recounted in a recent video interview; “BMC has been a great partner for us,” he says. “BMC plays a critical role in the ITSM world, arguably our most important application in operations, and can help bring along the rest of the industry in that standardization.”
Petty calls out several key outcomes BMC Helix solutions have delivered for Vodafone. As a key element of the operator’s strategy, Vodafone uses BMC Helix to free its network operations team from routine tasks like opening and closing incidents and allow them to focus on automation to enable zero-touch operations. “A great example is our service failure prediction services that were built with BMC, taking all of the data that we have from our ITSM platforms, understanding what’s happening in our technology environment, and starting to predict incidents before they happen,” he says. “We’ve been able to predict significant incidents two hours ahead of when the incident actually occurred. We’re now automating the discovery of the root cause and avoiding that incident by automating the processes to fix the issues that were starting to emerge in our estate.”
Working with BMC, Vodafone is already realizing its vision as the CSP of tomorrow. “We’re able to create great new revenue growth opportunities and service our existing customers to improve our net promoter score and hopefully generate more revenue,” says Petty.