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    Fundamentals of EMS, NMS and OSS/BSS   by Jithesh Sathyan CRC Press. (c) 2010. Copying Prohibited. Reprinted for Mahesh Sadashivappa Ghanti, Accenture   mahesh.ghanti@accenture.com   Reprinted with permission as a subscription benefit of Skillport , http://skillport.books24x7.com/   All rights reserved. Reproduction and/or distribution in whole or in part in electronic,paper or other forms without written permission is prohibited.    Chapter 19: What Is OSS and BSS? Overview This chapter is intended to give the reader a basic overview on OSS and BSS, which will help in building a solid foundation for understanding the chapters that follow on the process and applications associated with OSS and BSS. The ambiguity in terminologies used and a brief history on the OSS/BSS evolution is also handled in this chapter. 19.1 Introduction The communication service and network industry is moving toward a converged world where communication services like data, voice, and value-added services is available anytime and anywhere. The services are always on, without the hassle of waiting or moving between locations to be connected or for continuity in services. The facilities offer easy and effortless communications, based on mobility and personalized services that increases quality-of-life and leads to more customer satisfaction. Service providers will get much more effective channels to reach the customer base with new services and applications. With change in services and underlying network, the ease in managing the operations becomes critically important. The major challenge is the changing business logic and appropriate support systems for service delivery, assurance, and billing. Even after much maturity of the IMS technology, there was a lag in adoption because of the absence of a well-defined OSS/BSS stack that could manage the IMS and proper billing system to get business value to service providers when moving to IMS. Operations support systems (OSS) as a whole includes the systems used to support the daily operations of the service provider. These include business support systems (BSS) like billing and customer management, service operations like service provisioning and management, element management, and network management applications. In the layered management approach, BSS corresponds to business management and OSS corresponds to service management, while the other management layers include network management and element management. Let us start the discussion with the complete picture where OSS corresponds to support systems that will reduce service provider operating expenses while increasing system performance, productivity and availability. The OSS is both the hardware and software that service providers use to manage their network infrastructure and services. There are multiple activities in the service provider space associated with offering a service that requires an underlying OSS to manage. For a service starting up, the service needs to be provisioned first, the underlying network including connectivity and the elements needs to be provisioned, then the service and network needs to be configured, the billing system and SLA management system needs to be configured, the customer records need to be updated and when the service is activated the billing system also needs to start working on records. This is  just a basic line up of activities and there are many supporting operations associated with just getting a service ready for the customer. The OSS brings in automation and reduces the complexity in managing the services. After activation of service there needs to be a service assurance operation, customer service operation, service monitoring operations, and many more operations that fall under the service and business management scope of an OSS. 19.2 Service Providers The communication service provider that uses the OSS can be: 1.Local exchange carrier (LEC): The LEC is the term used for a service provider company that provides services to a local calling area. There are two types of LECs, the ILEC (incumbent local exchange carrier) and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that forced the ILECs to offer the use of the local loop or last mile in order to facilitate competition. So CLECs attempted to compete with preexisting LECs or ILEC by using their own switches and networks. The CLECs either resell ILEC services or use their own facilities to offer value-added services. 2.Internet service provider (ISP): As the name suggests, these service providers offer varying levels of internet connectivity to the end user.  An ISP can either have its own backbone connection to the Internet or it can be a reseller offering services bought from a service provider that has high bandwidth access to the Internet. 3.Managed service provider (MSP): A managed service provider deals with delivery and management of network-based services, applications, and equipment. These service providers can be hosting companies or access providers that offer services like IP telephony, network management, managed firewalls, and messaging service. 4.Long distance reseller: This is a service provider company that purchases long-distance telephone service in bulk at a reduced price and then resells the long-distance service as blocks to consumers. The long distance reseller benefits from the bulk purchase and the consumers also can get the service from a long distance reseller at a price lower than what is normally required. 5.Interexchange carrier (IXC): An interexchange carrier offers long distance services. These carriers complete a long distance call by routing the call from its srcinating incumbent local exchange carrier to the destination in a local service provider domain. 6.Application service provider (ASP): An application service provider traditionally offers application as a service over the network. It can be on-demand software or SaaS (software as a service) based application. Application, systems, and network management can be combined as a single bundled offering. The application is expected to follow a service level agreement and a complete business application can be offered by an ASP. 7.Wireless service provider (WSP): As the name suggests, these service providers correspond to carriers who provides cellular, Fundamentals of EMS, NMS and OSS/BSSReprinted for OET7P/1248301, Accenture CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, LLC (c) 2010, Copying Prohibited Page 2 / 8  personal, and mobile communication services over a wireless platform to the end user. 8.Content service provider: Content providers were mostly popular in offering Web content on Web sites. In telecom space the content service provider has a wider scope in providing value-added content in eCommerce and mCommerce environments. Since content service providers mainly offer value-added service (VAS) over an existing service offering, they work closely with ISPs, ASPs, and WSPs who provide the basic service on which content can be added. 9.Network service provider (NSP): The NSP offers networking infrastructure as a service. There will be specific network access points (NAP) through which the equipment and facilities in the network can be accessed. AT&T in the United States and BT in the United Kingdom are some of the top players in NSP space. 10.Master managed service provider (MMSP): These service providers offer one or more managed services for resale as point solutions generally on a pay-as-you-go model. In general any organization/company that offers some form of service can be called a service provider. The listings in this section are just some of the popular terminologies used in association with a service provider in the communication industry. 19.3 Drivers for Support Systems There are both technology and business drivers influencing the market of support systems. Some of them are: n Multiplatform environments: The technology focus is now toward multiplat-form-based environments. This increases the complexity on the infrastructure and business process to be managed. The net result is the requirement for a support system that can manage this environment. n Emphasis on system integration: In telecom space there is an increased focus on interoperability and quick integration of products. The release of the product package in the minimum time (time-to-market) is a key factor for success of the product with multiple competitors and quick change in technology. Easy integration is possible only when the support systems managing the package are flexible to adopt the change. n Mergers and acquisitions: In the current industry there are lot of mergers and acquisitions happening. Merger and acquisition is facilitated only when the new company and its product can easily be adapted to the business process and products of the master company. For example, the company being acquired has a product on order management and the master company wants to integrate this project with its existing OSS solution. If the order management product and the OSS solution are both eTOM compliant and both have a standard set of interfaces, then very little effort is required in adopting the order management solution. n Convergence in telecom space: The convergence has a major impact on OSS. With convergence in network, there is a drive to have a single OSS solution that can manage a variety of networks used in different domains. Most OSS solutions now support both wire-line and wireless networks. Also when new network and management standards are defined for convergence, the OSS solution has to easily adopt these standards. n Off-the-shelf products: COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) products are becoming increasingly popular in telecom and so are standards around the same. The aTCA (advanced telecommunications computing architecture) is one such standard in telecom space. Most OSS solutions are expected to have a standard set of interfaces that make it easy to use it, such as a COTS product. The move to comply with standards is also a driver in changes to OSS space. n Increasing network complexity: In addition to convergence at domain and technology level, there is also convergence in functionality at network element level that adds complexity to the network. A typical example of this is an L3-L7 switch in a converged network. In addition to the basic switching operation, the switch would be performing multiple other functionalities including authentication, encryption, and application routing. The support systems need to be able to handle the changed network with complex elements having an aggregate of functionality and a complex information base. n Emerging standards for service providers: The deregulations and defining of standards for interoperability is a big influence in changing the OSS industry from legacy modules to interoperating standards compliant modules written by different vendors. Open OSS solutions are also available for download, changing the competition landscape in OSS space. n Customer oriented solutions: Customer focused modules are also becoming popular in support systems. Customer management and assurance of service is becoming an integral part of business support systems. This change in focus can be seen even in management standardizing forums with work groups specifically for customer centric management. 19.4 What Do Support Systems Offer? The support systems handle the customer, the services that are offered to the customer and the resources that offer the services (see Figure 19.1). Managing the customer is a part of the business support while billing is a business operation of the service management that finally applies to the customer. So in most scenarios the three entities that influence the support systems are the resource/infrastructure, service, and customer. 19.4.1  Support Systems to Manage the Customers   The main part of customer management is to manage the customer account. This account has details on the customer contact, information on the services the customer has prescribed, and the contracts between the service provider and customer. Tracking on customer raised issues Fundamentals of EMS, NMS and OSS/BSSReprinted for OET7P/1248301, Accenture CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, LLC (c) 2010, Copying Prohibited Page 3 / 8  and the usage of the service is all mapped to this account. In most cases a unique identification number is associated to each customer as part of the account and used as reference in all transactions associated to the customer across the different modules in support systems.  Another aspect in customer management that needs to have a defined process is the sales process. First the sales process should ensure that the customer requirements are satisfied with the specific service offering. The different phases in the sales lifecycle that affect the customer like the ordering process, the change of service or add-ons to the service, and even termination of service needs to be managed. It could be a bundled OSS/BSS solution that takes care of customer management or stand alone modules like an order management system. Figure 19.1: Holistic view of support systems. Customer billing is also a key aspect of customer management that forms the mainstream activity in business support system. This will include determining how much the customer owes, preparing the customer invoice and also applying any payments made along with adjustments based on discounts or breach in service level agreements. Managing the customer expectations is also becoming an important aspect in customer management. Parameters like quality of end user experience and providing features for customers to manage their service is now part of most customer management systems. Other aspects of managing the customer expectations include communicating the service performance to customer, informing about any scheduled outage well in advance, resolution of any failure in shortest time possible, and obtaining feedback on how much satisfaction the customer has with the resolution, giving offers and discounts, and also having a good customer support desk. 19.4.2  Support Systems to Manage Service   The support systems play a major role in managing the services that are offered to the customer. Each service is associated with a set of legal and contractual specifications that needs to be tracked and managed. Automated support systems keep track of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are linked to the SLA and take corrective action whenever the possibility of SLA breach is flagged. In addition to the contracts for the service, the product offerings in the service, the pricing, promotions, and discounts also need to be planned and tracked. While fulfillment, assurance, and billing of the service are the day-to-day activities, there is also a platform and product planning to be done in the backend. This includes deciding when the services should be made available, what features should be offered, and decision on the possible quote for offering the service. The order management process also needs to be managed by the support system. This solution is closely integrated with the service provisioning module. So once the order is confirmed, the provisioning is triggered, which includes configuring the network to deliver the ordered service for the contractual specifications agreed upon. Service management does not end with provisioning and configuring of the service. This is followed by active monitoring on the service and an infrastructure to determine the quality of service (QoS) actually delivered by the network. Based on the events generated during monitoring, the network configuration is fine tuned to reconcile the delivered QoS with customer expectations. These events also help in network planning, so that next time a similar service is configured, better results can be obtained from initial settings of the network. Service level events are handled by the support systems. The customer, as well as service providers, also require reports on the service. The customer would be interested in reports like billing, value-added services used, and when a service outage occurred. The service provider would be working on reports related to resource capacity, utilization, bugs raised, and the SLA breaches to be compensated. The generation of reports is a functionality of the support systems. 19.4.3  Support Systems to Manage Resources   The infrastructure management is traditionally a part of the support systems. The support system is expected to ensure the proper operation of the network and elements that make the infrastructure for hosting the services. The installation of software and updates in the elements needs to be managed. When service configuration is triggered, the network and its elements need to be configured before setting the service level configuration. Once the elements are configured with necessary hardware and software, the system needs to be tested. This full cycle of Fundamentals of EMS, NMS and OSS/BSSReprinted for OET7P/1248301, Accenture CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, LLC (c) 2010, Copying Prohibited Page 4 / 8
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