Network Operations Centres (NOCs) are tasked with ensuring the smooth functioning of vast telecom networks, but they often find themselves inundated with a deluge of data and alarms, struggling to pinpoint real issues amidst the noise.
This is where the power of automation steps in, promising not only to alleviate the burden on NOC staff but also to revolutionise network operations in ways previously unimaginable. In this blog, look further into how automation can transform network operations; enhancing performance monitoring, processes and efficiency.
Performance Monitoring and Optimisation
In Network Operation Centres, staff are often overwhelmed with the amount of data they must process, leading to noise and difficulty in identifying and prioritising genuine problems that affect services, customer experience or revenues. Process Automation can help by aggregating and correlating events to reduce noise and allowing staff to focus on real issues. It should be emphasised that this is only the first step of a journey towards Service Assurance ZTA; and it is one that many operators will have already taken (or at least, will believe they have already taken).
Automation also captures business memory and moves towards best practices and standardised or regularised operations. This is a virtuous-circle journey; as more activities are moved from human to automation, humans will have more time available to work on more important or complex issues. It can also rapidly enrich data sets and distil a series of events to a root cause, improving ‘mean time to repair or resolve’ (MTTR) and helping clean the data in ways which allows for identification of net new scenarios.
For a CSP, clean data is hard to achieve owed to volume of data generally, so leveraging Automation to achieve less cluttered data to see the business differently will improve analysis and enable better decisions. Once the approved response to a root cause is known, the automation will reliably perform that the next time the root cause is seen, whether it’s in 1 hour or 1 year; there is no delay in recalling how to respond to it, and no mistakes in misremembering how to respond to it. In turn, this will lead to increased overall efficiency, lower risk, and a leaner organisation.
Use Case: Service Assurance
A major Communication Service Provider (CSP) faced challenges with prolonged fault resolution times (MTTR), a backlog of alarms, and overstaffed NOCs. They engaged the We Are CORTEX team to develop an automation solution. CORTEX integrated with the Network Management System (NMS) to validate, classify, enrich root cause analysis, and automate alarm resolution, reducing MTTR by 40% and cutting trouble tickets in half by identifying false and duplicate alarms. This enabled the reassignment of 30 FTEs from NOC to customer-facing roles and new product development, resulting in improved employee experience and increased revenue within a 6-month timeframe.
Use Case: OLO Network Traffic Management
A Communication Service Provider (CSP) faced challenges in optimising their international voice network services while minimising costs. Their ticket-based model overwhelmed engineers with queues of tickets, and existing automation couldn’t handle stuttering connections and complex alarm correlation. To address this, an automation initiative was launched with the goal of achieving zero-touch routing changes based on traffic alarms. CORTEX was chosen to assist the internal automation team. The solution implemented three stages: fault identification, user-approved mitigation actions, and fully automated fault resolution. As a result, the CSP significantly reduced diagnosis time, streamlined incident response times from 30 minutes to seconds, and achieved automated fault resolution, allowing engineers to focus on higher-value tasks and improving customer satisfaction.
Routine Tasks and Compliance
Use Case: Routine Maintenance
A Communication Service Provider (CSP) faced challenges with monthly maintenance checks that led to network issues, extended downtime, and a negative impact on their engineering team’s work-life balance. Over 25,000 monthly checks on numerous devices were conducted inefficiently, causing frustration among the team who often worked long hours, including nights and weekends. To address these challenges, an automation initiative was launched with CORTEX, reducing downtime by 10%, increasing compliance by 90%, and allowing engineers to work more efficiently within four months.
Use Case: System Access Management
A major UK operator serving a vast call centre faced SLA challenges due to high employee turnover. CORTEX was deployed to automate Starter, Leaver, and Mover processes, integrating with HR and IT systems. This automation significantly accelerated request processing, with over 80% of HR requests fully automated within a year. CORTEX handled 500+ change requests daily, reducing processing time from 5 days to under 2 minutes for exceptions. After 18 months, SLAM accuracy exceeded 90%, ensuring SLA compliance despite evolving requirements.
Use Case: Configuration Compliance Checks
A large Communication Service Provider (CSP) faced extended Mean Time To Resolve (MTTR) issues, causing repeated SLA breaches due to the inability to perform 10 million compliance checks on 150,000 devices across nine networks. Implementing CORTEX, they achieved a 90% compliance increase, saved 4 FTEs by reducing manual intervention, and reduced MTTR from 24 hours to machine-speed resolution. This transformation involved approximately 950 functional blocks and was accomplished in just four months.
Through real-world use cases, we’ve shown just how automation can transform operations in areas such as service assurance, network traffic management, routine maintenance, system access management, and configuration compliance checks. These examples showcase how automation can reduce downtime, enhance compliance, and streamline operations, ultimately leading to improved customer experiences and increased revenue. With automation at their side, CSPs can navigate the complex landscape of the digital age with confidence.
If you want to find out more about the challenges of Automation for CSPs, download our free eBook A Buyer’s Guide to Automation for CSPs.