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Real-world experience and structured approach to operator transformation

29 March 2010

Read more: Ericsson OSS BSS OSS/BSS telecoms transformation

OTE programme brings real-world experience and structured approach to operator transformation



Ericsson's Operational Transformation and Efficiency (OTE) programme brings a rich set of methods, tools and expert resources to help operators achieve bottom line opex savings and improve customer service. In this article, Ericsson consultants Tom Moyland and Martin Sjölin, explain how operators can gain from Ericsson's broad and deep insights and experience as they prepare and progress their transformations. Co-sponsored feature: Ericsson

 
 
When it comes to effective operational transformation, particular focus needs to be given to what works and what does not work. People, competence, processes and tools are all critical to successful transformation to high efficiency operations that increase end-user service quality whilst reducing opex. For operators it makes sense to access the consulting expertise of an organisation that has successfully completed many such transformations - critically within the telecoms sector.
Based on the lessons learnt from previous, successful transformations, Ericsson has created an offering called OTE to bring that expertise to operators. The OTE services are designed to address operator requirements to drive increased operational efficiency and service quality both in current operational and organisational environments and as part of programmes in which an operator has decided to transform its network, OSS and/or BSS systems architectures.
Ericsson manages and operates networks on behalf of telecom operators supporting more than 370 million subscribers worldwide. That, along with its own consolidation and transformation of its network operating centres in combination with 24/7 managed operation responsibility and the delivery of more than 1,300 consultancy and systems integration projects every year, provides a wealth of experience for the company to bring to customers. Ericsson has acquired broad and deep operational insights and experiences in methods to reach efficiency and quality gains across operations without jeopardising end-user service quality and experiences.
Tom Moyland, principal operation consultant at Ericsson, explains what is done in an OTE customer engagement. "The first step in an OTE engagement is to assess the existing operational targets based on; processes, competence levels, organisational structure and tools and systems," he explains. "Ensuring that the operators business objectives and operational goals are the guiding stars in the engagement, we align operational aspects by defining a revised operating blueprint for the organisation. In this step we bring our knowledge of organisation, competence requirements, process models and experiences of best practices built up to work. We deliver this constructive combination of managed services engagements and our consulting and systems integration customer projects experience to operators worldwide."
One of the most important factors in a change project is to understand current competence levels within the organisation and map that against the level required to achieve transformation and drive efficiencies.
"That is why we always take a holistic approach addressing the three corner stones of people, processes and tools," says Moyland. "Our lessons learned from our own consolidation, started six years ago, of Ericsson's global NOCs which saw realignment of the delivery strategy to a few global NOCs, are to not start with the tools but focus on the processes and people aspects mapped against the business and operational objectives as starting point. When we started the consolidation project in the mid-2000s we entered with the mindset to start the project by looking at the tools first, which meant we had to do everything one more time when we realised that we would not reach our objectives by that approach. So the key lessons we have learnt are that the tools and the architecture, including required data models, are something we take as the last part after the operational process and organisational aspects are defined."
"By starting with the business objectives and mapping those against processes and organisation we ensure we have, from day one in an OTE engagement, the efficiency and operational aspects as the drivers," adds Moyland. "By this method we do not get limitations embedded in transformational thinking, limitations based on lack of functionality or other limitations in various tools to be the force that define the processes and the organisation".
Moyland continues; "The important part is to go through each service by service and understand the required processes combined with the other services offered to the market. This by default gives you a very good understanding of which parts can be automated or what requirements are critical to both tool functionality as well as the build up of architecture and data models. To be successful with this approach it requires that you have 100% full insight and understanding of all aspects linked to telecom operations, otherwise there is a big chance that you get lost in this very complex structure and dependencies between end-user services fulfilment requirements, telecom operation and processes and the networks capabilities."
"Operators are busy and don't always have the ability to take time out and look at the issues they face in depth from a strategic point-of-view so, as a consultancy, we bring our technical background and experience along with our operational experience," adds Moyland. "We speak the same language as operators so, rather than a generic consulting approach, we provide more because we have a unique focus on telecoms."

"Having designed and agreed on the blueprint, the next stage is to execute," says Martin Sjölin, head of operational consultancy practice at Ericsson. "The challenge with operational change is to make it happen on the ground. There's a lot of work required to institute the change plan, manage operations migration, train staff and help lead a transformation programme. To ensure the anchoring process of the objectives with the OTE project, we engage customers' teams and people in the design phases of processes, organisational structures and tools architectures required to operate and support the customer's business."
On the question of how Ericsson utilises the experiences from managed services operations in the OTE engagements, Sjölin explains; "As Tom said, when we sign managed services contracts it involves a phase of required transformation to get cost savings and we have a significant resource base that does that type of work and implements the operations in to our NOCs. We use this skills base, together with our own systems integration and consulting services, flexibly redeploying it into advisory services such as our OTE services. The scale we have means that we can do that with ease."
"The whole point is to re-use knowledge from our operations and come with blueprints and structures that are already proven," says Sjölin. "Our approaches are also standardised, based on eTOM and ITIL best practice combined with our own developed MS-top process map that we developed as a complement to eTOM and ITIL as the result of the experiences we gained at our NOC operations. Those attract operators because they know the work we do will be applicable and standardised for whatever approaches they adopt in future."
Moylan explains there are a variety of situations in which the OTE approach can be highly effective. For example, an operator that operates several entities or OpCos might have focused on rapid growth rather than on structures for efficiency in some of the entities based on the local market conditions. As these operations mature they more and more are interested in standardising operations to achieve economies of scale and other efficiencies. In that scenario, Ericsson would work with the headquarters of the operator to define a standardised approach to the ways of working, the tools and systems across the business and then go and run the change programme across the operating companies.
"We'll go on site and work with management to establish how to deploy new ways of working as described earlier," says Sjölin. "We'll then work with local management to effect and execute on the plans for six or 12 or, in the case of large engagements, 18 months. Out of that, the operator gets a highly standardised approach and efficiency benefits across all its operating companies."
He continues by saying that; "The OTE approach is also applicable where Ericsson works in a standalone capacity with companies or specific departments to help optimise networks or interfacing organisational processes."
"Other examples in which our OTE approach is effective are related to situations in which an operator is transforming its network," says Moylan. "A network transformation project normally requires organisational changes. We e help organisations firstly plan the right approach to the transformation so they can achieve the required savings on opex and the bottom line. We can then go in and look at the operating processes and organisational structures to help fully realise the benefits of the changes planned. We'll then evaluate what is the most cost effective approach and come up with a plan and, of course, then execute upon it. That will involve specific new processes and procedures and training staff on the new processes, systems and tools."
Sjölin concludes by saying; "The OTE engagements we currently have with different operators are good examples of how we combine the skills, experiences and capabilities of Ericsson to help operators not only to become more efficient in the operation but also in how to utilise the capabilities of the networks and its functions to ensure operational efficiency. At the same time, Ericsson helps ensure the network functionality and the network investments to really benefit the operators. With our holistic understanding and capabilities we help our customers to become attractive service providers in their markets at the same time as helping them reduce opex which gives possibilities to our customers to continue to develop their offerings and strengthen their market position.  GTB




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