More than ever before, the economy is dependent on reliable and high-performing network connections. However, recent research shows that most business service providers are unable to successfully onboard their customers fast enough.
The fact is that service delivery teams are not able to quickly confirm that SD-WAN and wholesale transport services have been configured properly. Most business service providers skip the turn-up testing phase, or use inadequate methods, resulting in failed deliveries to customers and expensive repair.
The solution is to automate the activation testing process to guarantee that service levels are delivered, and confirm customers can be successfully onboarded. Such an initiative, also called “Zero-Touch Testing (ZTT)”, has recently been implemented by a leading business service provider. By fully automating their service activation testing and troubleshooting processes, they have been able to improve overall customer satisfaction and lower operational cost. Thanks to these automation efforts, services are now delivered right the first time, every time, and failed delivery rates have been reduced by 13%. This can be primarily attributed to being able to discover, troubleshoot and resolve network misconfigurations along the end-to-end service path before the customer starts using the service. The benefits associated with automating the service activation testing and troubleshooting processes have been particularly important when engaging with third-party regional access providers for last-mile connectivity.
Automating Activation Testing Using Synthetic Transactions
With Netrounds, multiple virtual Test Agents (TAs) can be deployed as VNFs in telco cloud locations or can be launched as containers in network equipment alongside the end-to-end path. Reflector technology can be used to respond to TA requests, which provides complete coverage of the testing process, regardless of where the customer is located. By automating test sequences that combine powerful active tests from Layer 2 to Layer 7, service providers are able to fully automate the testing process as soon as a new business service connection is established. The solution control center automatically creates birth certificates for customers, engineers and the account team after every service configuration change. Birth certificates confirm that a service is performing according to a service level agreement (SLA) and pinpoint potential issues so they can be resolved before impacting customers.
Image 1: Zero-Touch Testing Automation Process
Test automation sequences can be triggered from network or service orchestrators, or from provisioning or service assurance solutions.
With zero-touch testing, service delivery teams can troubleshoot service issues remotely and avoid traveling to customer sites and exchanges along the path. Engineering teams can identify if a third-party partner is not delivering the required connectivity in a matter of hours instead of the usual days. As a result, staff efficiency is increased as they are not relying on remote resources to perform tests.
Overall there are many benefits that communication service providers can realize with zero-touch testing, such as:
- Reducing service delivery failure rate – as services are only delivered when performance is confirmed.
- Accelerating time to revenue – as services can be tested quickly without sending engineers on site.
- Empowering engineering and operation teams as they now understand customer experience as well as the service chain supporting each service over complex, multi-layered networks.
- Refocusing staff to improve overall efficiency, not wasting time on repetitive assurance tasks.
- Quickly locating issues in third-party network performance.
If you are interested to learn more watch our ZTT webinar with Light Reading and Appledore Research where we will review how communication service providers can empower their teams to increase service quality and customer satisfaction, while lowering costs.