All this while, the telecommunications industry was looking for a way to integrate their network inventory and have a consolidated control and view. Unlike supply chain management, distribution etc., the telecommunication industry is too complex for an integrated inventory approach. But now, with technology advancements and various migration enablers, integrated inventory approach is becoming a reality. Network inventory consolidation (NIC) provides an integrated view of the whole network and telecom assets with comprehensive dashboards and in-depth, real-time analysis.
Although the logistics involved with the implementation pose a huge challenge, consumers’ growing demand for quad-play, converged services, and the recent M&A trends of CSPs have triggered the need for consolidation like never before.
Business drivers for integrated inventory
- CSP’s need for a single source of truth
- Majority of CSPs are facing synchronization issues between traditional billing system and network inventory provisioned in the live network
- Distributed inventory systems lead to bad quality & inaccuracy in data which results in customer dissatisfaction
- Rollout of newer, disruptive technologies is not easy with traditional network inventory systems
- Slow realization of mergers and acquisition (M&A) synergies i.e., post-acquisition, having multiple systems and redundant entities (causes integrity issues)
Before commencing network inventory consolidation, it is important to understand the current network structure and the expected outcome. This will facilitate cost reduction and avoid roadblocks during implementation.
Depending on the business requirement, CSPs could consider one of the strategies listed below for their inventory consolidation program.
- Upgrading one of the existing inventory systems as the master system
This scenario is applicable for any CSP when an existing system can be chosen as a master system and upgraded to support the current & future needs of inventory. All other inventory systems should be migrated to the master inventory in a phased manner.
|· High throughput||· Data integrity challenges with migration|
|· Less OPEX results in huge cost savings||· High time & effort|
- Phased migration of diverse inventory system into a new master inventory system
This scenario is applicable for any CSP and is implemented when none of the existing systems can be upgraded to support the current & future needs (lacks features for new service launch).
|· Choice of multiple vendor offerings||· High initial CAPEX|
|· Single source of truth & better customer experience||· High maintenance costs|
- SID (Shared Information and Data model) compliant dashboard view: E2E consolidation strategy is most efficient for tactical planning & operations
This scenario is applicable when a CSP does not want to decommission the existing systems considering multiple factors like cost, licensing, effort & timeline, yet would like to have a unified dashboard view at one place.
|· TM Forum SID compliant views of Inventory||· Expensive to build and maintain|
|· Flexible plug-n-play consolidation strategy||· Restricted capabilities may hinder powerful features available in native tools|
|· User experience isolation from underlying data store|
Key accelerators to advance the major phases of inventory consolidation program
For the successful and efficient execution of NIC program, CSPs should consider using the right set of accelerators during various stages of the process. Below are some of those accelerators that will fuel the consolidation process. These are applicable when a CSP decides to have one of the existing systems as a master or migrating diverse inventory systems into a new master system (Scenario 1 and 2 described above). Key accelerators that could help advance the NIC program are Agile Parser, Cleansing Agent, and Accelo-pro & Schema Browser.
Business & Operational Benefits
Benefits of accelerators during migration phase
Post inventory consolidation benefits
Muthukumaravel, Senior Director – O/BSS Delivery,Prodapt
Lakshmi Narayanan Raju, Associate Director – O/BSS Delivery, Prodapt
Mogan AB, Manager – Presales & Insights, Prodapt