February 23, 2017

See the blog featured on HPE's Telecom IQ site.

(Left to Right) Kiran Sirupa, Anuta Networks; Marcus Friman, Head of Engineering & co-founder, Netrounds; Henry Towster, VP, Global Thought Leadership Advisory Services, Amdocs; Brian Yoshinaka (moderator), Intel (Left to Right) Kiran Sirupa, Anuta Networks; Marcus Friman, Head of Engineering & co-founder, Netrounds; Henry Towster, VP, Global Thought Leadership Advisory Services, Amdocs; Brian Yoshinaka (moderator), Intel

The customer is a complex beast. I know, because I am one of them. Some days I may have to spend longer on the customer support chat than I would really like to ask a question about my bill, and sometimes I may wish my Netflix videos started up a bit quicker or my Snapchats did not fail to post, but what really matters to me is experiencing the best possible quality when video chatting on Skype with my nieces. If I have great network quality for that, I seem to forget about those other things. What makes me happiest with my service provider is most likely different from what makes you happiest, but I think that we can both agree, end-to-end quality is a major contributing factor.

I recently found myself listening to the Service Assurance Panel at the Intel Network Builders End User Summit in conjunction with the Carrier Network Virtualization event. Full disclosure, my colleague Marcus Friman, Head of Engineering and co-founder of Netrounds, was also an expert on the panel, but what really piqued my interest was a statement by Henry Towster, an industry veteran who spent over 30 years at AT&T and who is now working with Amdocs. Henry made a rather simple comment, but a comment that in this context, got the ‘ol wheels turning. “What exactly affects individual customer experience?” The golden question for operators. 

Quantifying and determining exactly what makes customers, or subscribers, happy is extremely interesting to those in my line of work. I was recently discussing this topic with an operator partner of ours and he explained the efforts his company went through to correlate different factors that could potentially contribute to customer happiness with their service and their overall satisfaction with their operator in a one-to-one way. Unfortunately, the project never worked out as the most important factor to a customer could change on a day-to-day basis and was also tied to various other interactions, such as how recently they spoke with customer service and what the outcome of that interaction was. Factors affecting an individual’s over satisfaction, measured by Net Promoter Score, for example, may be fluid. Yet, a good proportion of these key factors, or KPIs, start with basal variables that if tested, monitored, and assured, can certainly get the operator on the right track – tick those boxes by actively testing services end-to-end across a range of network and service levels.

From the revenue standpoint, Amdocs conducted a survey in Europe that suggested that customers would actually be willing to pay more not for the individual service that they had subscribed to, but for the overall quality of service that they receive from their provider. Research even showed that subscribers would be happy to adopt new services and divert more of their income toward this spend, but only if they felt that the quality of service they would receive would be sufficient to justify that expense.

Today, key performance indicators of customer satisfaction for an operator from a business perspective include factors such as churn, net adds, coverage, and ARPU. But if we start to think about those basal variables critical to network quality and how a customer is experiencing that service, our new KPIs may look something like this – end-to-end service throughput, video calling quality, and packet loss and latency.

Netrounds is a software-based, programmable test and assurance platform – and one that can start ticking these boxes for you, ensuring that you are more likely than ever to provide your customers with the network quality that truly makes them happy. Netrounds’ wide feature set (Layer 2 to 7) and full lifecycle coverage assists operators in delivering services right the first time with a simple point-and-click test builder and unprecedented visibility into end-to-end network service quality.

Netrounds’ service and NFV orchestrator partners, like HPE’s NFV Director and Service Director, along with players in the adjacent OSS landscape like Performance and Fault Management Systems, can also take advantage of the complete read-write API to Netrounds’ Control Center, allowing operators to introduce DevOps methodologies into their daily network management processes and start assuring customer quality in more complex and agile networks in a fully automated way.

Future-proof and ready for fully virtual environments checkbox? Tick that one, too.

For those attending Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, catch our Netrounds CEO, Mats Nordlund, speaking on DevOps approach to service lifecycle test and assurance: augmenting OSS with active testing and automation in the HPE Discussion Zone in Hall 3, Stand 3E11 on Monday, February 27th at 10:00. If you would like to request a one-on-one demo, please contact info@netrounds.com.

See the full MWC Discussion Zone agenda for more details on this and other sessions.

Kaela Loffler, Director, Marketing & Industry Alliances, Netrounds