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PIPELINE RESOURCES

Managing Resources in a Digital World

By: Bernd Pruessing

Now more than ever, automating processes is critically important. When organizations struggle to fulfill new products and services, the manual planning and management of processes may be to blame. To overcome such challenges and remain relevant in today’s digital environment, telco operators need to automate.

The best place to begin is with resource management. Why? Because by getting resource management right, telco operators unlock key benefits: a holistic view of all assets and network resources; end-to-end visibility across their entire network infrastructure; and access to critical resource information within a fully integrated and automated management tool. As a result, organizations gain the agility to keep pace with competitors, the insight to ensure service quality, and the means to reduce operating costs.

Selecting the right management solution matters. It can help CTOs and network operators keep track of available resources, speed time to market for new services, prevent misconfiguration, reduce recovery time from network outages, and significantly lower overall OPEX. To ensure the cost-efficient and smooth implementation of a new solution, it’s important to take common challenges into consideration and strategize a plan to overcome them before beginning the process.

Start by Evaluating Systems and Technologies

The most common resource management challenges an operator may face include fragmentation, working mode, and interface limitations. These are all related to the landscape of systems and technologies in an operator’s network, which is typically very disjointed as a result of the number of different devices from different vendors and the fact that each vendor has its own management system. Furthermore, acquisitions are common among operators, which ratchets up an already-complex landscape. In many cases, the merging of IP and transport departments results in a multi-technology network. This reality must be factored into any resource management solution.

Over the years, each operator has developed its own workflows and processes. These are the result of organizational structures, self-developed tools and the legal restrictions at the time of development or implementation. Regardless of how an operator arrived at its present state, it may now find itself in a situation with very specific working modes. This is problematic because any change in the working mode will force changes throughout the entire organization. Adapting the organization from its Present Mode of Operation (PMO) to a new Future Mode of Operation (FMO) will take time, especially as people learn and adapt to the new processes. It also requires the new solution to be flexible enough to support the specific working modes and any subsequent changes down the road.

Another challenge is the northbound interface on network management or any other systems. Even though they are based on standards, these interfaces have limitations, or vendor-specific behaviors and extensions. They may not support the required functionality or there may be different data models within the management systems below. This creates additional challenges to develop a common resource management solution on top, especially in a multi-vendor and multi-technology network.

Key Resource Management Principles to Keep in Mind

Since a network is a “living” system, changes are frequent and expected. Data consistency is therefore important—and managing it should be a high priority. The “Closed Loop” principle is integral for high data consistency. By definition, “Closed Loop” means that network configurations created in a planning phase are transferred, step-by-step, into a bill of material and a purchase order, followed by rollout, installation and operation phases. The loop is closed when the resources in operation are compared with the original planned resources, and any data discrepancies have been resolved.



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