3 Dec 2012

How can operators manage the risks of outsourcing?


Written by Ghassan El-Housseini, 
Regional Director for the Middle East, 
Actix
With budgets getting tighter and networks getting more complicated, more and more operators are choosing to outsource the management of their networks, letting vendors take on day to day management in return for sticking to clear KPIs and objectives. Operators no longer perceive the network as their key asset, instead focusing on their customer relationships, pricing and perceived service quality.

However this presents a challenge – network and subscriber data are some of the most valuable things an operator has, so by giving away this insight how much are they losing? More importantly, how do they maintain visibility into what subscribers are experiencing?

The answer is not a simple one and the solution lies in the strong governance of vendors. Four factors are crucial in achieving this: transparency, enhanced KPIs, automation and joint decision-making.

The only way an operator can hope to keep control of their outsourced network and retain visibility of network performance and customer experience is through seeing what is going on for themselves. Transparency is central to any successful partnership, providing both parties with the peace of mind that all involved are aware of what is happening across the network and key performance targets are being met. A network management and optimization platform that provides an independent shared view of the live network is essential.  With reducing customer churn being such a major focus area for operators it’s also critical that the quality of experience delivered to customers does not become secondary to managing the network. For this reason, in addition to the traditional network centric KPIs it’s vital that the outsource contract includes customer centric performance metrics which allow quality to be assessed at a granular level by location, customer segment and even handset.

However no matter how stringent the agreed performance metrics they will only be effective if they can be measured.  It’s important to recognise that due to the complexities of managing a multi-vendor, multi-technology network, stitching together data collated by a disparate set of tools can be arduous and costly.  As a result when the pressure is on, it may sometimes be sacrificed in favour of more urgent matters.  The only viable solution is a single fully integrated platform, where data collection and analysis is fully automated and reports and dashboards can be produced speedily and easily. 

Finally, with limited time and resource available it’s important to ensure that network optimization efforts are not wasted on activities which have little impact upon customer experience.  For example by correlating the operator’s customer data such as churn records and complaints etc. with real customer experience data taken directly from the network it’s possible to see which network issues are negatively impacting subscriber dissatisfaction and therefore which improvements should be prioritized.  Supported by a transparent network analytics and optimization platform with integrated and flexible customer experience analytics capability operators and vendors are able to work together to make better-informed decisions about the network and leverage the full advantages of their partnership. 

Ghassan will be speaking at Middle East Com on 4th December 2012 at 12:00, explaining how operators can retain control of outsourced networks and achieve transparent, systematic governance processes that ensure customer experience and network performance. 

Actix is also exhibiting on stand 4. For more information, please visit www.comworldseries.com/me and www.actix.com.