John McVey John McVey Partner - DonRiver, Inc.

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Network Inventory Management in OSS

  • Network Inventory Management is the most important component in the OSS architecture. If you disagree with me...just think about it for a second.  How can carriers provision new service orders from customers (or subscribers depending who you are) if the carrier does not have a fundamental understanding of the capacity of the network or whether or not fibre has been installed or if service is even provided in that area (locality)?  The answer is...unless you’re comfortable with having upset can’t!  A hammer is to a carpenter as network inventory management is to a telecommunications carrier. It’s as simple as that.

    I’ve spent my entire professional career implementing network inventory applications and for telecommunications around the world.  I’ve previously implemented Visionael at multiple carriers in the US, worked for a long time with Telcordia (formerly Granite) and have implemented Cramer at multiple Tier 1 carriers.  Some are good – some have their issues (that’s another story...let me know if you’re interested in hearing more)...but at the end of the day, having an accurate inventory is critical to the overall OSS.

    Yeah, network inventory management applications like Cramer, Netcracker, etc. hold a couple lazy billion dollars worth of network assets (think devices, cards, links, circuits, the relationships between, etc.) but often overlooked is the value network inventory provides to other components in the OSS architecture.  

    • Order Management...orders cannot be taken without some sort of check with inventory (think service qualification)
    • Workforce Management...a technician needs to know what to connect in the CO (or exchange) or an installer needs to know where to lay the cable
    • Activation...activation systems interface with inventory to report newly activated (in-service) devices, cards, ports, circuits, etc.
    • Network Service Assurance...uses network inventory information for ‘event enrichment’ and root cause analysis...among other things
    • Network Discovery discovery updates the inventory with what is actually in the network and then reconciles occasionally over a period of time
    • Trouble Ticketing...provides valuable information to open tickets – for example, details pertaining to a fault, where it’s located, what are the impacted customers, etc.
    • Service Fulfilment...
    • The list goes on...
    Given the above, it’s extremely important to implement and maintain your network inventory management solution in the OSS. To do so correctly, takes time, money and significant amount of knowledgeable resources.  
    Coincidentally, it’s no surprise that implementing a next-generation network inventory management solution is one of the most complex tasks.  Experts are needed in network configuration, data migration, system integration, methods and procedures, testing, training, etc.  Considering this...why then are the delivery expectations so wrong by so many?  RRRrrrr another day, another story! 
    John McVey
    About John McVey John McVey works as Partner at DonRiver, Inc.
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  • Roland Leners
    Roland Leners Many tier 2 carriers (whom I'd define as carriers with less than 1bn €/$/£ in revenues) have not deployed network inventory management systems. According to you, what are the key reasons for that?
    November 20, 2009
  • John McVey
    John McVey Good point Roland; the lack of best of breed inventory systems is not limited to just Tier 2’s very common for Tier 1’s to NOT have a ‘singly inventory system’. Every carrier that I have worked for use some sort of home grown network invent...  more
    November 22, 2009