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Entries with tag <em>cem</em>.

Mobile Customer Experience Management (CEM) and High Performance Computing

In previous blogs we discussed the goals and industry definitions around Customer Experience Management (related CEM blogs).  OSSera's Customer Experience Manager functional architecture includes the following from the bottom up:

  • Data Collection - leveraging the OSSera adapters to collect and normalize data (such as xDR, syslog, performance matric, etc) from different data sources.
  • Data Indexing - messages are indexed appropriately such as by customer group.
  • Data Mining - for quickly and effectively finding valuable data.
  • Data Warehouse – Large volumes of data are processed efficiently stored for hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or any user-defined time reports.
  • Data Correlation - Filtering, suppression, and correlation logic is applied where appropriate for real-time and on-demand.
  • Administration Tool - used to modify the above items. 
  • Reports –present customer experience.
  • OSS Interfaces - such as integration to existing CRM, Service Management, and SLA

We recently started working with a CSP which has two probe vendors for Wireless xDR processing. Sample data was downloaded for a relatively short period (~1 week) and this was around 1Teribyte of data.  Processing xDR data requires tremondous high computer power and we believe OSSera's symmetrically distributed load balanced platform is the key to enabling high performance computing for CEM.

Download our latest brochure for more information on OSSera's CEM:

Executive Brief: OSSera Customer Experience Management

Customer Experience Management (CEM) has been described in various ways from the broader aspect of ordering, billing and B2B/B2C relationships to the technology experience with the actual services delivered by a communication service provider (CSP).  In this blog series we will look at CEM and the actual customer experience with the service technology.

Challenges:

  • How does a CSP monitor and measure true customer experience of the services delivered? - Today a bottom-up network to service model does not capture the experience of individual customers.
  • How does a CSP plan and model individual customers? - Modeling customers can require millions if not ten's of millions of managed objects in a database.  This may take hours to model and hours to load into any runtime system.
  • How does a CSP monitor and measure customer service usage data which requires a huge amount of processing power? Solutions for service usage data processing requires tremendous scalability and throughput.

Different Customer Experience Data Sources:

Disclaimer:  Monitoring the Customer Experience of your service is often bordering upon privacy issues.  Each CSP must take this into account based upon their internal policies and set clear rules to ensure privacy is maintained.  Approaches below describe how the customer experience data can be gathered.  OSSera's position is that we have the platform to process the data whatever the source, however we either partner or work with your service usage data sources to process and analyze it against your service models.

  1. Agent Approach - Some vendors offer an agent which resides upon the set-top-box (STB), smartphone, or broadband laptop. These agents provide a view into what are the KPI's upon that device.  Metrics are collected and stored in a database and thresholds can be set against KPI/KQI's.  The challenge is the agents are only running when the device is being used, and therefore data is intermittant.  It provides a good set of data for Customer Care to spotlight the problem but usually does not give the root cause.
  2. Call Usage Data Approach -  Call Detail Records (CDR) or SMDR (Station Management Detail Records) are generated for each telephone call from the switch and pieced together to form a billing record.  CDR/SMDR records contain the originating, terminating Telephone Number (TN), duration, and any information that may be used for billing (i.e.: Telephone Card usage, Long Distance, Inter/Intra-exchange).  CDR/SMDR can be used to look at Service Usage.  The challenge is this typically looks at voice call service and only calls that are completed.  Calls that did not complete may be thrown away during processing if analysis takes place after the billing record is created.
  3. Signaling Usage Data Approach - xDR's are captured and correlated by signaling probes.  Various signaling probe vendors have probes which capture the protocol stack (i.e.: GSM, GPRS, UMTS, PSTN, VoIP, NGN, CDMA, and W-LAN) signaling data.  The xDR has a wealth of condition codes that can be leveraged to analyze network, service, and customer quality.  The challenge is the cost of probes can be high and also the volume of signaling records may be hundreds of times greater than Call Detail Records.  xDR's will include SMS, MMS, and the individual set-up communication signals.

OSSera's Solution:

OSSera's solution encompasses the OSS explorer platform and its symmetrically distributed architecture to be able to process data at high volumes.  It also involves the Data Mediation Platform which can process the incoming data records.  Let's look at the three main questions discussed earlier.

How does a CSP monitor and measure true customer experience of the services delivered?

As noted above the the OSSera OSS Explorer CEM solution requires data from an agent, switch, or probe.  Each has its pros and cons however the data can be processed and analyzed.

How does a CSP plan and model individual customers?

With OSSera you do not need to model every single customer but has a feature which allows a single managed object to represent millions of customer nodes or node groups.  This way the model is much simpler to model and much quicker to start and load.  This is a unique feature of our Service Planning and Modeling tools which are extended up to model the customer device.

The OSSera platform does however allow you to model individual customers if you choose to because of its flexible data model.  Business customers can be modeled.  For example we are working on leased line services and these services can be modeled with a direct one to one link to business customers.

How does a CSP monitor and measure customer service usage data which requires a huge amount of processing power?

To date our xDR processing and data mining benchmarks have been extremely well received.  

"Real-time applications are supported by the high performance and symmetrically distributed nature of the platform. When the data volume is relatively low, a single instance of the platform and application logic can handle the load. When the data volume is higher than what a single instance can handle, it can be handled by simply running another instance. Data sources can be split based upon the application logic and processed data can be re-joined later such as through a correlation.  Application components/objects are inserted at any point to meet the needs. The flexibility of the process flow tool and execution environment makes it easy to do.

High volume data applications need the help of data warehousing algorithms to quickly generate dynamic user reports. Again the flexibility of the platform is a tremendous help.
 
Benchmarks show that the throughput of OSSera's CEM system can handle more than 4K data records in less than 300 ms on a linux machine (duo 2 core - AMD Opteron 2212 at 2.0G, 2.4T 7KRPM Sata II, 4G memory)." David Deng, CTO and co-founder, OSSera, Inc.
 
If you are looking at an end-to-end CEM and SQM solution, please contact us for more details.
 

Download our brochure for more information on OSSera's CEM:

Customer Experience and Social Networking: Customer Churn for all to see!

Customer Experience Management was discussed in our previous blog as we looked at how our platform helps users with Service Usage data analysis aross customers.

"Customer Experience" is a much broader function in any company and this blog addresses some aspects from a social perspective.

As we launch into 2012 we realize that it is becoming more and more important to focus on Service and Customer management which is a critical reason many CSPs are looking for flexible OSS solutions.  Business transformation is no longer an option but a requirement to compete in today's market where services can be obtained Over-The-Top.

How can a CSP differentiate their services? Quality? Quantity? Content? Customer Experience?

Network Management and Resource Management provides visibility to availability and quality of your network layer.  Resource Management is very important however management of customers is what makes the immediate impact on the business.  Typically fault and performance management solutions alone do not provide enough insight into Customers and how they view their services.  This is the primary gap which OSSera is trying to fill with our Service Manager and Customer Experience Management solutions. 

CSPs demand more than Fault Management.  Recent trends in the area of assurance show that service providers are searching for an end-to-end solution.  

  • Solutions which are not just fault, but fault and performance,
  • solutions that are not just performance, but service impact,
  • solutions that are not just service impact, but service quality,
  • solution that are not just service quality, but service level management,
  • solutions that are not just service level management, but customer experience management

Can one solution provide all of the above?

This is a lot to ask for from any existing point solution, probe, framework, etc... In the last two decades from 1992 to 2012 there have been point products and there have been frameworks.  But all specialize in a particular functional area.  One specializes in fault management, another in service quality...

CSPs are demanding innovation from their suppliers!

But the more RFx's we see, and the more CSPs we talk to, the general trend is that is not good enough.  CSPs want everything, end-to-end, the "kitchen sink".  CSPs want a unified solution.  We'll reserve this topic for another blog and switch back to Customer Churn....

Even more than the OSS many CSPs are being very innovative with the way they manage the social networks that can be both very damaging and very helpful to their service.

Customer Churn for all to see...

Today more than ever there is a need to manage "Customer Churn" because Churn is not just something you see when someone cancels their services... Today "Customer Churn" is shared across various Social Networking communities like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other online communities, etc...

The damage from one outage, one bad Set-Top-Box, one dropped call, can be magnified as social networks spread the word about your service.  Too often we see a new Facebook page "I hate my XYZ service"... with 1000's of followers.

Here are some insightful presentations shared on Slideshare which show how service providers are trying to work with social networks to promote their brand.

"Where is the Love? How SingTel uses Social Media for Customer Service & Support"

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff ROI Of Social Media Social Media Club Presentation/ Forrester Research
View more presentations from Dr Natalie Petouhoff
We'll followup this blog with more content on OSSera's IPTV End-to-End Service Assurance offering.
Versatile Data Mediation Platform

OSSera Data Mediation Platform provides a set of drag and drop components to process:

  • incoming alarms, metrics, Call/Signaling Data Records, Inventory Retrieval, and
  • bi-directional command and response interactions (i.e.: Testing, Activating, Re-configurating, Pings, etc...)

The Data Mediation Platform has collectors for standard interfaces as well as tools for users to develop user-specific data collectors. These data collectors can collect and process data in any format.  For example, OSSera's Fault Management framework uses these alarm data collectors to collect and pre-process raw alarm data from NE/EMS/NMS or any other entities.  

Multi-Protocol

OSSera's Data Mediation Platform (DMP) supports SNMP, Socket, File, and Corba with supporting Managed Information Base (MIB) Loading tools and ID/Parse rules for non-SNMP protocols.  Data from various protocols are normalized into a standardized Flow Builder.

Flow Builder

Flow Builder is a drag and drop tool which allow the user to create states.  States model the input, ID, Parse, and Error states of the data flow.  Also users can model output, final, transition, and final states of the flow.  This streamlines the process in managing resources across a wide domain.

Control Flow

Action States are implemented for applications such as Advanced Troubleshooting where commands are sent to various managed resources for testing, pings, and retrieving data.

 

Debugging Mode

From experience the process in managing Data Mediation can be painfully cumbersome.  Debugging features have been added including breakpoints, stepping, value checks, and flow animation to make sure DMP functions have been implemented correctly in building adapters.

Deploy and Execute Flows

Flows are packaged and can be installed with an installer for ease of distribution across a carrier's network.  Once deployed they can be executed to run.

A Unified Data Mediation Platform

Using the OSSera platform as a foundation the DMP automates interactions critical for Advanced Troubleshooting, Fault Management, Performance Management, Service Problem Management, Service Quality Management, Inventory Retrieval/Resource Management, and Customer Experience Management/CDR Service Usage Management.

 

 

OSSera's Data Mediation Platform Brochure

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