Managing Transaction Flows

Capturing and processing customer and service orders follows a set of well-defined processes, often based on cascading transaction flows through many systems. In turn, the complex interactions of these flows lead to long delivery times, misconfigurations and high levels of order fallout. With the introduction of a virtualised network and services, digital and communications service providers will be able to benefit from much improved product definition and deployment agility. However, potential for such benefits could be suppressed if those well-defined processes and systems are not modernised – for example, buying an NFV-based firewall service could be completed in minutes and deployed in even lesser time.

Reliable and automated service orchestration demands an architecture of hands-free processes or flows that capture the exact needs of the customer and can accurately translate them into deliverable services, with minimum interaction required. These flows encompass the core requirements to enable, design, create, sell, deliver and maintain the orchestration of services.

The purpose of any network asset is to provide services to customers. Consequently, physical, logical and virtual assets need to be made available to the systems delivering those services. This information needs to be easily available and, even more importantly, accurate. Missing or incorrect information can cause automated delivery to fail, or in the worst case, disturb existing services.

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Selling, Designing and Bringing New Services to Market Faster

Digital and communications service providers are in a perpetual cycle of bringing new products and services to market. These can be driven by an opportunity to innovate, by competitive pressure or by a new capability in the network.

In any case, the process of converting a product concept to a deliverable service is usually complicated and time-consuming, as it involves both commercial modelling and technical service definition. Getting the service properly designed and manageable is the key to reliable automation. For complex, multi-office corporate services, it’s essential to provide up-front visibility of available services during the solution design, which is performed by sales, sales engineers or solution architects. Customers want to understand which services and bandwidths they can get, and what it will cost before they are ready to make an order. This has traditionally required days or weeks of investigation by highly skilled technicians before the first offer could be presented. And if the offer is not what the customer needs, the process must be repeated. When the offer is finally accepted, there is no guarantee that the required resources will be available anymore, or that the solution can actually be delivered. The delivery becomes complex, requires skilled technicians and has a high risk of human error. This can cause delivery delays, a poor overall experience for enterprise customers and unnecessary costs for the provider.

“NO LONGER CAN LEAD-TOACTIVATION BE SUPPORTED BY PROCESSES AND INTERFACES DESIGNED AROUND STATIC WORK ORDERS THAT WERE CONCEIVED 30 YEARS AGO AS A TASK DESCRIPTION FOR WORK TEAMS.”

It’s vital that this flow is accurate and online to bridge the gaps between eligibility and availability of commercial and technical offerings. No longer can lead-to-activation be supported by processes and interfaces designed around static work orders that were conceived 30 years ago as a task description for work teams.

Click here to read part 3.

Antti Koskela, Comptel
Oversees Service Orchestration business unit. Prior Comptel held several management positions, serving as Head of the Communication & Entertainment Solutions Business Line at Nokia Siemens Networks.
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