Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), the largest carrier for converged services in Pakistan, needed to get more agile and wanted to reduce costs while supporting the rollout of new revenue-generating services. It's a familiar refrain, but the integrated carrier put its money where its mouth is and embarked on the “Centralized NOC Project," which ended up as a complete OSS transformation program. It embraced the TM Forum’s standardized Business Process Framework (eTOM) for the project, including designing the NOC organization, defining roles and responsibilities and the supporting business processes and implementing the software solution.
Result? The carrier, through improved time-to-market and service flexibility, tripled its number of broadband subscribers in one year and doubled the area of coverage in one year (this is data for 2009). Now that's a nice business outcome.
PTCL says it has reaped significant benefits on the cost side as well, like operational expenditure reductions, including a 40 percent reduction in fiber cut average restoration time, which led to a 30 percent reduction in WLL, broadband and MPLS outages. In addition, the carrier realized an estimated 5 percent indirect capex reduction in transmission/DXX domain due to improved visibility of network resources and their utilization.
So from a business standpoint, the main goal was to bolster PTCL's competitive advantage with superior levels of service, and improved time-to-market for new offerings over the NGN while cutting costs. But operationally, that meant implementing automated assurance processes to aid the cause, along with a modular design and a highly scalable architecture which provide ease of expansion over time.
Thus, the NOC operational processes were designed to be highly reusable. Both national and regional NOCs are treated as one virtual entity. Processes are now domain independent, so the same processes apply regardless of the network technology or location. Also, standard operating procedures are linked to domain- or vendor-specific activities.
The project also is a study in standards implementation, start to finish. As part of the overall OSS transformation program, the TM Forum’s Applications Framework (TAM) was used to identify the applications that meet the requirements for supporting the execution of the business processes defined in the program. The OSS/J Trouble Ticketing API was used to implement the interface between the Fault Management system (JSR91) and the Trouble Ticketing system, which will make future development of incident and problem management easier, more flexible, and less costly.
PTCL also made use of the MTNM interface, which helped to reduce integration cost and risk since both OSS system and NMS Management system supported the interface already.
Overall, PTCL saw increased efficiency through automation: in fact, service availability has considerably increased due to a more than 50 percent reduction in network alarms. Automation projects includes automated problem detection across all network technology domains, automation of the problem detection and trouble management processes and automated escalations when critical problems remain unsolved.
PTCL also wanted full visibility into cross-domain performance, traffic and trends, to allow effective planning of network expansion and optimization. Visibility into operational data for networks and operations allows for better decision making.