How a probe-based approach to SOC and CEM makes the perfect pair

May 21, 2019

In a fiercely competitive market, with customers switching operators easily, customer experience has never been so crucial. Operators have to foster loyalty and differentiate themselves through delivering a highly personalized, enhanced and improved customer and service experience. No longer are operators purely focused on how the network is functioning, but increasingly they are looking at the overall service quality and the end-to-end customer experience.  This new customer-centric approach is the reason we are seeing more and more operators integrating a Service Operations Center (SOC) and implementing Customer Experience Management (CEM) alongside their existing Network Operations Center (NOC) solution.

Integrating SOC Solutions

SOC solutions allow operators to gain an end-to-end view of the overall service quality and place emphasis on prioritizing customer-affecting issues, identifying areas of network degradation, and suggests how to troubleshoot with minimum impact to the subscriber. For operators today, Quality of Experience (QoE) doesn’t just refer to the network and service quality, but the user’s perception of the service they receive, which may differ significantly depending on a vast number of subjective criteria.

An advanced SOC solution provides the operator with comprehensive customer and service experience insights by monitoring Key Quality Indicators (KQI’s) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). These are calculated based on several different data sources including, OSS such as Performance Management, Fault Management, Trouble Ticketing Systems, Call Trace Records, Inventory and BSS such as Billing, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which is correlated through a smart mediation layer. By feeding this information into their SOC solution, operators can then view this data as actionable insights, from where an impact assessment can be carried out which identifies which subscribers have been affected, how they have been affected and any anomalies in the data.

Operators looking to focus on the customer experience are therefore making a SOC solution a top priority and a critical part of their strategy moving forward.

Enhancing SOC with probe-based data

To deliver a comprehensive, end-to-end view of the service and customer experience, operators need to utilize probe-based data as the foundation of their SOC solution that is then enriched by the OSS and BSS data.

Deploying a probe-based SOC and CEM solution offers a number of advantages to the operator. By utilizing probes, the operator can perform troubleshooting drilldowns from an overall view of the network right down to a single transaction or network packet. This means the operator can analyze and troubleshoot traffic on a per customer, per service, per network element or session level. So, deploying a probe-based SOC solution helps operators prioritize network issues based on their impact on the customer and rapidly troubleshoot the root cause. With the improved diagnostic tools, operators gain faster resolution times to any service degradation affecting the customer and service experience. 

It is all well and good having these rich data sets, but without the network domain knowledge of how to utilize the data and expertise in creating KPIs and KQIs, the data may as well be nonsense. For this reason, deep integration and network proficiency are required for the probe data to be assimilated correctly into the SOC layer, which is only available to probe-based service assurance vendors. Operators must realize that full integration with the probe data is essential for delivering a complete SOC and CEM solution.

Probes are the only way to truly deliver an end-to-end view of the customer and service experience. This enables operators to prioritize network issues based on their impact on the customer and rapidly drill down and troubleshoot from an aerial view of the service right down to a single packet in three clicks of the mouse.

Delivering a complete customer view from the CEM layer

Having an end-to-end view of the network is crucial to achieving a 360° view of the customer experience.  This can be realized through the implementation of a CEM layer, which typically sits above the SOC solution and generates the Customer Experience Index (CEI) of an individual subscriber. Using small data sets, specific to the customer enables the operator to understand the usage patterns of the customer and deliver improved customer care.  The CEM layer takes a comprehensive view of the customer experience, across departments, which breaks down silo’s and ensures communication across the organization, always keeping the customer at the center of the solution. The CEI calculates how satisfied the customer is based on a number of different parameters which can be defined by the operator and could include anything from product experience, bill satisfaction, their experience with the complaints procedure to their overall customer experience. Taking this complete picture and factoring in the interactions the customer has with the operator into the overall customer journey will help the operator identify customers that will potentially churn.

Having an integrated approach means that all KPIs, KQIs and the CEIs are calculated by the probe vendor and easily placed within accessible dashboards. Additional Call Detail Record (CDR) fields can be developed in-house within the probe layer. Troubleshooting a network incident can be performed via a drill-down from the KPI layer right through to an individual network packet. Furthermore, user plane capture can be performed on-demand with access to all deployed probes and using specific filters that can capture the relevant data. This is then fed into the integrated dashboard. Only a probe-based service assurance vendor can do all of these functions. Indeed most of the information presented in a SOC/CEM dashboard is derived from probes. So, to truly understand the data, deep integration with probes is essential, which is why employing a probe-based service assurance vendor for the SOC/ CEM solution will deliver the best results for an operator wishing to understand the real customer experience. 

Taking the next step

As NFV and 5G progress, operators are moving towards being fully virtualized. This means using virtual probes for service assurance, to gain end-to-end network coverage. Taking the raw data and correlating with other multiple data sources via RADCOM Smart Mediation delivers rich, actionable insights that are crucial for the SOC and CEM solution.

RADCOM is the market leader for virtual probe-based service assurance, has over 25 years’ experience, and was the first to transition into delivering a fully cloud-native solution.  It is this in-depth domain knowledge that puts RADCOM at the forefront of delivering fully integrated SOC and CEM solutions. By working with the operator to ensure improved customer experience, the RADCOM SOC and CEM solution will enable improved customer experience, ensuring customers remain with their service provider.

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