Today’s mobile network operators are certainly familiar with change within their operations centres; they have rapidly transitioned from a single technology, single service network to a multi-technology, multi-service network in just a few decades. And now they face their next big operational change; the advent of the Service Operations Centre (SOC).
So what is a Service Operations Centre (SOC) and how does it differentiate from existing Network Operations Centres (NOC) in telecoms?
The transition to service-centric operations
To differentiate in today’s highly saturated marketplace, network operators need to deliver superior services to their subscribers. To do this, they must transition from network-centric operations to service-centric operations; instead of optimising the network for improved performance per network domain, they must optimise the network for improved performance across each service. This means that operational teams need to monitor the network from end-to-end rather that in domain specific silos. They need to become more commercially aware, introduce new service models and monitor a whole host of new metrics. To achieve this, Service Operations Centres are formed, focusing on the correlation of service performance thresholds alerts, network element fault alarms and probing data to quickly locate issues, and prioritise workload based upon service impact and customer affected.
SOC Engineers also need the functionality to take a highly proactive approach; instead of monitoring issues as they occur, they need to be able to predict what is going to happen and how significantly it will impact the business. They can then provide recommendations based on the potential financial impact. In effect, the SOC facilitates the bringing together of OSS and BSS.
The difference between the NOC and the SOC (Infographic)
The advent of the Service Operations Centre (SOC) does not mean the end of today’s Network Operations Centres (NOC). They will run parallel to each other, each with a different focus, skill-sets and objective. Some network operators may choose to integrate their SOC with their NOC, and some may choose to run it separately. Since there is no defined format for how a SOC should operate, we have created a handy infographic to explain some of the major differences between the NOC and SOC.
The future of the telecoms operations Centre
As network operators continue their transition toward service-centric operations, the role of the SOC will undoubtedly expand as new services are rapidly launched into the marketplace. With ever increasing competition, differentiation through a superior service will remain a priority in the near future. We will also likely see a deeper integration of customer experience data into the SOC, providing true visibility of how customers perceive and respond to service quality.