The Service Assurance Company

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POSTED:
14 February 2017 by
Patrick Buttimer
Patrick Buttimer is CEO to Eirteic and Galileo Software. He is a visionary who uses his lifetime of industry knowledge to spot the trends of tomorrow and help CSPs to navigate their journey. A regular speaker and contributor at industry meetings and think tanks, Patrick’s current focus is on 5G - which is both a huge opportunity and a disruptive threat to the industry. Patrick began his career as a programmer in the Irish Naval Service before joining Telecom Italia. Here, he developed a passion for telecommunications and OSS prior to joining Micromuse, the Netcool company. Forming Eirteic in 2000, Patrick set the company on a course to deliver the future of service assurance and help their customers unify, simplify and enable growth and agility.

Which Network Operators will Survive 5G?

Beginning in 2020 we will live in a 5G enabled world. 5G will deliver huge benefits for users and numerous opportunities for new services and their providers. But delivering 5G will not be easy for network operators. Delivering 5G services will require network operators to make fundamental changes. Some network operators will not be prepared. So which operators will survive the arrival of 5G?

Complacency may lead some to think that survival is not an issue; they may assume that they’re too big to fail. However, history has taught us that failing to prepare for technological change can bring down even the largest businesses. In 2002 alone, 23 telecom companies went out of business costing half a million jobs – including the biggest bankruptcy in US history.

Today’s markets are competitive and managing the networks is challenging, but they will appear arcane and relaxed when we look back from the 5G world. Data volumes and the number of connected devices are just two of the measures which will multiply – seemingly overnight. In the 5G world, the network won’t matter to users – they will simply expect it to be available everywhere. When a HD film can be downloaded, anywhere, in the same time it takes to read its title aloud, winning customers will be about services and not networks. And yet the services we’ll use in the 5G world – the killer apps of tomorrow – have yet to be conceived. Which is why 5G is a huge opportunity.

But 5G is also a threat. Consumers, content providers and the makers of the killer Apps of tomorrow will simply expect excellent service and move, swiftly, to another provider if they don’t get it. Networks will have to thrive while handling much larger volumes of data and connected devices interacting with layers of services old and new. This will require new thinking, clear planning, design and transition strategies. The ultimate goal for operators will not be survival, but to be competitive in this changing market. But survival is the first objective.

Survival requires action now. Network operators need to find ways to Unify system management and Simplify its visualisation and control. Some proactive Network Operators are already discovering that these two steps bring immediate benefits including huge cost savings as well as increased capabilities.

They are now looking to step further ahead by adding intelligent automation to eliminate repeated processes and deliver even more efficiency savings. In addition, they are preparing further enhancements to Enable their new customer solutions that are flexible and agile.

Our advice, and our mission, is to enable our customers so that they can seize the opportunities and thrive. Not everybody will heed the advice. But to those who want to thrive – those who recognise the challenges and want to be prepared – I say: Unify, Simplify, Enable.

Eirteic CEO, Patrick Buttimer

POSTED:
29 April 2016 by
Patrick Buttimer
Patrick Buttimer is CEO to Eirteic and Galileo Software. He is a visionary who uses his lifetime of industry knowledge to spot the trends of tomorrow and help CSPs to navigate their journey. A regular speaker and contributor at industry meetings and think tanks, Patrick’s current focus is on 5G - which is both a huge opportunity and a disruptive threat to the industry. Patrick began his career as a programmer in the Irish Naval Service before joining Telecom Italia. Here, he developed a passion for telecommunications and OSS prior to joining Micromuse, the Netcool company. Forming Eirteic in 2000, Patrick set the company on a course to deliver the future of service assurance and help their customers unify, simplify and enable growth and agility.

Preparing networks for 5G

5G is one of the most anticipated trends this year. It promises a new era of connectivity, with seamless broadband, billions of IoT devices, HD voice, faster data speeds, ultra-low latency as well as significant revenue opportunities. It’s a way off yet, so what do service providers need to know about planning for and managing a 5G network?

While there’s been a host of announcements from major players Deutsche Telekom, China Mobile, Nokia Networks, SKT, Samsung and Qualcomm all testing 5G and demonstrating the possibilitie, but the reality is that there’s still a lot of work to do.

The industry needs to agree what the 5G standard will look like, and iron out the uncertainties about what future problems it might solve. And while that’s happening, the network and infrastructure guys need to figure out how it will be integrated and deployed. These teams are already battling with increased pressures of providing more complex and on-demand services, meaning existing infrastructure and management will need to change.

A typical CSP infrastructure is complex, consisting of a range of legacy network management tools and services, which are ageing, siloed and costly to maintain. They have created an inability to support end to end visibility, complex integration points across the OSS stack and ultimately, an exposure to not being able to support new technologies and services such as SDN, NFV or 5G. In fact, according to TM Forum, CSP’s are stuck spending too much time managing legacy OSS environments, so are unable to focus on the future; “21.4% of CSPs believe their operations/legacy OSS/BSS infrastructure are not agile enough to support new service offerings and silos are required.”

It’s no surprise then that some telcos are looking at new technologies to unify their OSS architectures, which provide an end to end service-centric view of the network and the agility to deploy new services quickly and efficiently. An example is eir, Ireland’s largest telco provider and the first to launch 4G in the region, undertook a project to unify voice, data, Internet, value-add services and IT (for example internal help desk) into a single management platform. The project resulted in a 65% reduction in OpEx as well as a significant reduction in time to market because of streamlined service management capabilities.

Projects like eir’s are already helping telcos achieve a service-centric environment that helps them improve reliability and customer experience (and reduce churn), better meet SLAs, increase speed to identify and respond to faults, and importantly be able to quickly deploy new services as market demand changes.

It’s a few years until 5G will be fully understood and ready to roll. In the meantime, CSPs have their work cut out creating more agile, flexible environments that answer industry problems of today, while paving the way for a smooth transition of 5G and other technologies in the future.

POSTED:
3 June 2014 by
Patrick Buttimer
Patrick Buttimer is CEO to Eirteic and Galileo Software. He is a visionary who uses his lifetime of industry knowledge to spot the trends of tomorrow and help CSPs to navigate their journey. A regular speaker and contributor at industry meetings and think tanks, Patrick’s current focus is on 5G - which is both a huge opportunity and a disruptive threat to the industry. Patrick began his career as a programmer in the Irish Naval Service before joining Telecom Italia. Here, he developed a passion for telecommunications and OSS prior to joining Micromuse, the Netcool company. Forming Eirteic in 2000, Patrick set the company on a course to deliver the future of service assurance and help their customers unify, simplify and enable growth and agility.

The Service Assurance Challenge of Sharing RANs for Mobile Providers

The Service Assurance Challenge

Mobile Networks are complex things that appear to be getting more complex all the time and not just due to the technology involved.

There are just over 4 million people in Ireland, yet we have 8 Mobile Networks (4 physical and 4 MVNO’s) to choose from, and thanks to Irish and EU legislation it has never been easier to move operators while keeping your phone number.

I read an article recently about how the EU is going to make a final decision soon on the proposed acquisition of O2 Ireland (Telefonica – Spain) by Three Ireland (Hutchinson Whampoa – Hong Kong) which may result in UPC (Liberty Global – USA) getting its own mobile offering — allowing it to compete with eircom (Ireland) in offering converged quad play services (Mobile, Landline, Broadband and TV) in the Republic of Ireland. Mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, regulators, legislation, MVNO’s, and outsourcing are all things that increase the complexity of modern mobile services. Everyone knows that most, if not all, operators are launching LTE/4G services, and we all will have super-fast services to our phones as a result.

Most people probably don’t realize that operators in most countries reduce the cost of their infrastructure by sharing their networks with their competition. In the UK for example, there are only two mobile Radio Access Networks (RAN’s), MBNL (EE and Three) and Cornerstone (Vodafone and O2), which most people have probably never heard of. RAN sharing is where the operator’s networks most expensive pieces – the cell sites and towers, base station equipment, and the transmission network – are built and managed separately and then shared between competitors. This results in lower costs, by reducing duplication of network assets and allowing operators to deliver better services for less money.

The Shared RAN is a great idea but the management of it is vitally important, because the speed at which new services and converged offerings are being deployed is putting a lot of strain on the networks. The ability to quickly and efficiently manage those services while keeping track of the entire infrastructure is a very complex set of tasks. Operators and MVNO’s are requiring detailed monitoring and reporting of the services provided to them by the Shared RAN and without the proper tools this is an increasingly complex and difficult task.

Legacy OSS tools don’t exactly make it easy for the operators of these Shared RAN’s to provide real-time Unified Service Assurance reporting to their customers. Multi-tenancy is a core requirement for these businesses and this is something that is lacking in a lot of legacy systems. The ability to quickly, securely and accurately provide detailed, relevant, information on their services to the appropriate customers is a core requirement for Shared RAN’s. Monolith Software’s AssureNow™ platform enables them to do this and provides the solid foundation for monitoring of future services and technologies.

POSTED:
8 April 2014 by
Patrick Buttimer
Patrick Buttimer is CEO to Eirteic and Galileo Software. He is a visionary who uses his lifetime of industry knowledge to spot the trends of tomorrow and help CSPs to navigate their journey. A regular speaker and contributor at industry meetings and think tanks, Patrick’s current focus is on 5G - which is both a huge opportunity and a disruptive threat to the industry. Patrick began his career as a programmer in the Irish Naval Service before joining Telecom Italia. Here, he developed a passion for telecommunications and OSS prior to joining Micromuse, the Netcool company. Forming Eirteic in 2000, Patrick set the company on a course to deliver the future of service assurance and help their customers unify, simplify and enable growth and agility.

Service Assurance Successfully Deployed

Service Assurance Successfully Deployed

“86 days of product training for each administrator” – those words were the straw that broke the camels back.

It was 2010 and we were after a number of successful meetings with the potential customer and the legacy monitoring vendor. The customer loved the powerpoints that the vendor had presented and we had setup the technical architecture meeting for all three parties. The customer got a little worried at “2 years to deploy but it may be more.”, They got even more worried when they saw the architecture diagram – the Integrated solution was actually 18 separate products. The fact that there wasn’t a reference customer, anywhere, for the “solution” was also very troubling but the seemingly simple question, from the manager of the support staff of “how much training will my team need?” brought forth the answer that ended the meeting “86 days of product training for each administrator”

86 days = 17 weeks 1 day of PRODUCT TRAINING on an “Integrated” solution, and that didn’t include one product where training wasn’t available.

I got a phone call from Bill Cannon (Monolith’s CEO) a week later asking me to come to Chicago to see what the guys at Monolith had delivered. Talk about perfect timing.

We took Monolith Software to see six companies in Europe in early 2011 –

The most common phrase we heard from our customers in relation to AssureNow is that the solution is a “Game Changer,”, initially preceded by “If its real.” . However once we had the solution deployed, in considerably less time than legacy framework solutions, and companies like Equinix and Tele2 were willing to be references for us and Monolith, then the truth started to get out – it is now possible to have a Unified Service Assurance solution.

We now have experience installing Monoliths AssureNow in over a dozen companies worldwide. We have migrated our deployment methodologies, trained our staff, developed enhanced integrations, successfully migrated people off legacy systems, implemented greenfield sites, developed new products to sit on top and below and to the side of AssureNow and in all these cases we have yet to charge more for Services than we did for the Software. In most cases Services have been less than 50% of the software cost. In all cases TCO has been significantly reduced and time to deploy new services has been considerably improved.

These are all facts backed up by our happy customers who are willing to be references for us. The potential customers who we are currently talking to no longer say “If this is real?” They just say “This is a Game Changer.” Oh and the Administrator training for Monolith AssureNow is not 86+ days its 4 days.

Attend our webinar to learn what is possible: “Achieving End-to-End Customer Experience and Business Agility with Unified Service Assurance,” on April 9 at 9AM EDT / 1PM GMT. Patrick Kelly, Research Director at Analysys Mason; Allan Rochford, Head of Service Management at eircom; Patrick Buttimer, CEO of Eirteic; Bill Cannon, CEO of Monolith Software will present.

https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/10883/104281

POSTED:
27 October 2013 by
Patrick Buttimer
Patrick Buttimer is CEO to Eirteic and Galileo Software. He is a visionary who uses his lifetime of industry knowledge to spot the trends of tomorrow and help CSPs to navigate their journey. A regular speaker and contributor at industry meetings and think tanks, Patrick’s current focus is on 5G - which is both a huge opportunity and a disruptive threat to the industry. Patrick began his career as a programmer in the Irish Naval Service before joining Telecom Italia. Here, he developed a passion for telecommunications and OSS prior to joining Micromuse, the Netcool company. Forming Eirteic in 2000, Patrick set the company on a course to deliver the future of service assurance and help their customers unify, simplify and enable growth and agility.

‘Monolith’ the integrated OSS platform and ‘Total Cost of Ownership’.

‘Monolith’ the integrated OSS platform

Companies dedicate vast resources to its ‘Operational Support Systems’ (OSS) monitoring platforms in both in human and monetary commitment. Initial costs can be high, and hidden costs compound the burden.  Sometimes the cost of a monitoring platform can be become almost undefinable. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a method that helps OSS managers comprehend and control the planned and planned costs of an OSS platform throughout its lifespan.

The lifespan of an OSS platform has six stages:

The upfront expenses of a network comprise only 1/5th of the total cost. The remaining 4/5th’s can take company management by surprise, often unacquainted of some elusive TCO aspects.

Planned Costs:

Planned costs are usually two-fold. The first part of expenditures can be directly linked to the OSS platform, like hardware and software. The second part of planned costs is labour, including developers and support personnel.

Management should budget for costs of all employees directly managing and supporting the platform, in addition to outside management and maintenance fees. On the support end, costs can be broken into Operations labour, Operations fees, and Help Desk support. Operations labor includes management and administrative assistance needed for support. Formal training of platform admin staff is also a factor, in addition to end-user training.

Un-planned Costs:

The more elusive figures fall under the unbudgeted category. Includes productivity lost to end-user frustration, troubleshooting problems and providing informal IT assistance to co-workers.  Productivity drops and revenue is lost when as OSS platform is inoperable or inaccessible. If the platform simply is unwieldy (slow to respond etc.) then this also effects then this also effects productivity.

Unbudgeted expenses often add enormously to the TCO. And, without understanding precisely what the costs arise from, management cannot control them. Fortunately, there is a way for management to keep expenses in check. Knowledge establishes control. Awareness of the root causes for network expenditures gives Management and IT personnel the power to evaluate unacceptable conditions and change them.

6 Ways to Control the TCO:

1. Standardize hardware and software purchases. Fewer technology platforms mean lower costs. Defining standards takes only upfront time, with periodic evaluations. As components wear out and become outdated, replace them uniformly across the organization. Upholding policies becomes the test. In the end, the strongest policy will fail without actions to enforce it. Defined standards will help a company establish training requirements and reduce the costs of hardware upgrades.

Monolith Software coupled with Red Hat Linux (or Centos) allows this to happen. Having a single OSS platform, that can deliver event management, performance management, integrated dashboards, topology, multi-tenancy, basic service level management and excellent scalability means that Monolith scores top marks.

2. Inventory of devices. A company’s network administrators need to know the company’s IT environment for efficient decision-making. This information should be readily available to key people, and easily accessible in each department. This means that a company can improve its resource management practices by keeping a current catalog of hardware.

Monolith software’s device catalog, coupled with its topology module goes a long way towards providing this information. These Monolith features show at a glance the inventory information, including the number and type of devices and their interfaces.

3. Reduce opportunities for trouble. Restricting user access and implementing version control helps prevent users from delving into areas better left unexplored and fixing configuration errors once they have been made.

Monolith’s comprehensive list of access permissions and built in ‘version control’ reduce the chances of user error and makes it easy to fix errors, by rolling back, once they have been made.

4. Implement an efficient OSS support system. Users will always need some technical support. Insufficient support is a leading complaint among NOC users. Efficient platform support will reduce the TCO and frustration at the same time.

By using Monolith as the single integrated OSS management platform within a company, means that the support team and end users need to be only trained on a single product, reducing TCO.

5. Minimize upgrades. Hardware and software upgrades are expensive. A company can save money by purchasing the power it needs upfront. Surprisingly, upgrading hardware and software often costs more than the initial purchase.

Again, by using Monolith as the sole OSS management platform, as opposed to having separate platforms for fault, performance, topology, service level management, the amount of software upgrades are reduced considerably.

6. Spread knowledge. The efficiency of the system increases proportionately with the knowledge of the staff. Users should be encouraged to understand the network environment and spread this knowledge.

Monolith’s in built knowledge base provides a searchable wiki server within the product. This knowledge base can be easily populated over time by the end users or information can be imported from other sources in bulk. In addition to this, Monolith’s integrated historical database will allow end users view the historical record of any alarm to see if a problem is a ‘one off’ or is the problem a recurring one.

So can Monolith really reduce TCO?

Companies around the world run the gamut of OSS platforms from virtually worthless to fairly cost-efficient systems. OSS platforms are continually being purchased and replaced. Till now there has been no single panacea for providing a fully integrated OSS platform and Monolith certainly has the opportunity to provide the antidote to TCO.