Ahead of MWC22, Digis Squared’s CTO, Abdelrahman Fady, shares insights into ongoing development work on the Digis Squared suite of cognitive network testing and optimisation solutions, and declares tools “OpenRAN Ready”.
“The development teams in our Technology Centres in Cairo and London have been very busy enhancing the existing suite of cognitive tools to ensure that they are “OpenRAN Ready”. In advance of MWC next week, I’m really happy to share some of the key updates underway,” stated Abdelrahman.
Digis-One: technology and vendor agnostic Unified Fault Management
Can now connect with the big four legacy vendors and main OpenRAN vendors
Unifying all alarms from across all network systems and vendors into a single screen
OpenRAN solutions seamlessly integrated to a single view on one screen
iPM: intelligent technology and vendor agnostic network performance management platform
Able to connect to legacy vendors in addition to main OpenRAN vendors, and integrate their different performance files into a single unified database
Unify and visualize all these KPIs into a single coherent view on one screen, and represent them geographically
Single touch comparison between legacy vendors and OpenRAN vendors performance
INOS: technology and vendor agnostic intelligent network field testing and optimisation solution
New INOS OpenRAN testing and analytics module launched to easily identify gaps and differences in performance, L3 & L2 messages content and formats, network throughputs, and measure quality between OpenRAN and Legacy RAN sites
Forecasting of vulnerable areas after OpenRAN deployment
Automated acceptance report for new Open RAN sites
“If you want to learn about our new “OpenRAN Ready” cognitive network optimisation solution capabilities,” said Abdelrahman, “I will be pleased to meet with you in Barcelona next week, please get in touch!”
LinkedIn ◦ Following Digis Squared’s earlier “OpenRAN Ready” solution announcement, Hazem Amiry, Regional Sales & Business Development Manager, shared that, “We’ve been working for some time now on an OpenRAN PoC with a very large operator in the Middle East, as the lead contractor on a project with a multi-awarding winning software-enabled OpenRAN solution provider. This project is enabling the team to learn first-hand the benefits of OpenRAN deployment, and ensure we are able to fully optimise our suite of cognitive tools to real-life, complex deployment issues efficiently.”
Differentiation through operational excellence. ◦ Ahmed Zein, Digis Squared Co-Founder and Chief Operations & Delivery Officer, shares his experience and thoughts on the vital role the Operations function plays in differentiating your business. Plus, as his new Managed Services team gets ready for the commercial launch of a network, he shares insights into key areas of current focus.
Differentiation and success
What differentiates leading organizations from their less successful rivals? More often than not, it comes down to how they manage their Operations. No matter how great the business strategy, or how large the investment, the Operations Team, the efficiency and customer experience they can achieve, can ultimately determine which business wins and who is left behind.
A workplace philosophy where problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership are core to the way people work together and collaborate, results in the continuous improvement of an organization,” shared Ahmed. “Focusing consistently on the customers’ needs, keeping employees positive and empowered, and continually improving the current activities in the workplace to deliver a better outcome in the future – all of this requires energy and commitment. However, this is a virtuous circle of improvement – keep doing it, and you’ll keep improving, the more energy and commitment you put in, the bigger the improvement you’ll get out.
There are five key areas I’ll be focussing on with the Digis Squared team during this phase. Working together, the team in the Digis Squared Delivery and Operations Centre in Luanda, backed up with staff in our Technology and Customer Support Centre in Cairo, will ensure an on-schedule, optimised network launch, and maintain smooth operational performance throughout.
One: Preparing the Squad
As with any project we work on, preparing the squad for this mission is our top priority. Designing a complete program, and establishing a high achieving attitude and sports-behaviour in the team and its structure, help us all to succeed. The squad needs a dynamic attitude to problem-solving, and an ambitious target to achieve success together.
With all our projects, we carefully consider the specific skills, experience and expertise we need. In recruiting the squad it’s also critical to our success together that we have a strong and aligned sense of purpose, and a strong fit with the Digis Squared culture and sports-team ethos. It’s vitally important to the way in which we operate that we work together as a squad – we help each other, we share knowledge, we learn from and help each other. It’s about both leadership and personal accountability, as well as knowledge sharing. In an area as complex as network technology, almost all issues can only be solved by working together, asking questions, and listening to the experience and ideas of others. We achieve and learn more together.
And this is one of the key differences between Operational Efficiency and Operational Excellence. Efficiency focuses only on how things are done, and doing them better – faster, cheaper, fewer errors, continuous improvement. These are the basics. But Operational Excellence is far wider, it aims to create a culture within the team and company that is conducive to efficient and sustainable long-term growth. The strongly aligned sense of purpose, solving problems and succeeding together as a squad, that is vital to achieving Operational Excellence.
Two: Multi-Vendor Management
Vendor management is not as simple as monitoring a mathematical set of KPIs, and a lengthy document filled with SLA words. As a team, we know that the success of any operations is reliant on sound relationships, and clear communications. The Digis Squared way is to always try and bridge the gaps in understanding, to clarify discussions, to identify a mis-fit in technologies, or a gap within a contract and resolve misunderstandings before they become problematic – and critically, to propose a solution.
Yes, of course we report on KPIs, and when an SLA isn’t being hit,but we also work hard to bridge that gap between the vendor and the operator. We work hard to build connections with the vendor’s teams, and work collaboratively together, running user acceptance tests and handovers across all domains.
Three: Performance & Field Management through NOC
Digis Squared’s Managed Services will ensure we achieve full monitoring of the network, corrective and preventive maintenance, network configuration and change management. All of this will be accomplished with operational excellence strategies by improving network availability, maintaining all network KPIs, enhancing quality of service to end customers, improving customer experience and reducing operating cost, as well as capitalizing on network automation and automating all automatable network procedures, across both front and back-office activities.
One of the most important KPIs in Managed Services contracts is the focus on Network Performance KPIs as one of the most important goals. Digis Squared’s cognitive tools are used to provide active monitoring of the network. We use INOS for drive testing, and there are plenty of recent blogs about that! [See list at end of blog.]
Digis-One is a key tool for any Operations team. We typically passively monitor the network performance using Digis-One, our cognitive, multi-vendor, multi-technology Unified Fault Management (UFM) solution delivering centralized dashboard and alarming monitoring system for the Front and Back Office Teams. Digis-One facilitates all systems/interfaces monitoring, in addition to automating the most time-critical manual work, including automated generation and assignment of Trouble Tickets to the team responsible for solving the network issue. Digis-One delivers a significant impact on SLAs and Mean Time to Repair.
Generally, when undertaking a Managed Services contract, field maintenance is one of the top priorities. Responsive teams on the ground undertake corrective and preventive actions across the network, fixing issues before they become a problem. The Operations Squad assess KPIs, and proactively lead the way to ensuring improved customer experience. Working together, this delivers efficiency, expansion and business success.
The field maintenance service will utilise available data (network, environment, events etc.) and our cognitive tools to schedule preventive maintenance plans and optimise resource utilisation. Mindful of the various contractual SLAs and targets, together, I field maintenance and NOC teams will ensure complete coordination and alignment for all field and site access activities.
Four: Clear Change Management
A newly launched network encounters a lot of dynamic changes and interactions across all domains. I’ve experienced the dynamic situations new network deployments encounter many times before, and know that creative thinking, sound analytical practices and strong teamwork can together solve the issues which will arise. Actively managing and considering the sequence of changes require deep consideration and experience. Careful planning is needed to consider how unforeseen risks or incidents will be handled, what processes will be followed, and how unplanned changes will be addressed.
We’re at a really exciting stage of this project. Combining the skills, expertise and experience of our staff, and our AI-led tools and processes, we’re confident the squad we are building will deliver differentiation through operational excellence.
Five: Application Development Management
As a greenfield mobile network, benefits from the high demands and expectations of the commercial teams to launch ambitious, state of the art products & services to the market, pushing at the competitive and technological edge of possibilities.
With this in mind, the Digis Squared team believe it is important to bring the concept of Application Development Management, ADM, with a DevOps flavour to this Managed Service contract. Merging the development and IT/BSS operations, the goal of our ADM team is to reduce the time between a system needed development or change and its deployment into the production environments. In turn, this reflects on and enhances the time to market to materialize a commercial requirement into a real technical output, deployed on the product IT/VAS nodes. To put that another way, we’ll be using ADM techniques to develop, test and deploy rapid, noticeable improvements in an ongoing continuous loop, perhaps even before the end customer notices there was ever an issue.
Working in this way, as a DevOps team, both the development staff, and the staff in charge of operations, are in deep communication with each other – they are ONE team! There is enhanced cross-knowledge and collaboration between the developers and IT operations, assessing and solving issues together, and a more seamless workflow that eliminates sizeable knowledge silo’s which are found in traditional models. The result is the smooth deployment of technology, such as software and updates in the safest, most reliable way possible.
Differentiation through operational excellence
It’s an exciting time for the Digis Squared team globally, and we’re ready for this. It’s great to work with clients with clear ambitions, and high targets for excellence. Sharing knowledge, ensuring utilisation of cognitive systems and clear processes, building a superb team. We’re working closely with our client and the other partners to ensure this new network achieves commercial success, and one of the secrets in how we will achieve that together is with differentiation through operational excellence.
In conversation with Ahmed Zein, Digis Squared Co-Founder and Chief Operations & Delivery Officer.
Why do telecom networks need a Unified Fault Management solution?
Digis-One is a Unified Fault Management (UFM) solution, delivering multi-vendor and multi-technology carrier-grade capability for telecom SOC (Service Operations Centres) and NOC (Network Operations Centres). But why is it needed?
Mobile networks today are a patchwork of systems, with solutions from multiple-vendors, becoming more complex as layers of IoT and 5G capability are added – the result of decades of commercial decisions, technology availability, and technical strategies. As the telecom sector is inherently defined by international standards, this mix-and-match approach should deliver a coherent system, but there are some critical elements which struggle to work together.
Network Operations Centre (NOC) engineers need to undertake fault and performance management activities, in addition to routine, repetitive tasks: fault detection, events enrichment, impact analysis and trouble ticketing creation – and all of this is undertaken manually.
A smart Unified Fault Management solution (UFM) is crucial to unify and automate all fault management activities.
Finding and resolving sub-optimal performance issues is often more complex than fault resolution. Improving performance in one system may create a knock-on consequence to another, which may not appear immediately, and may slowly creep before it triggers an alarm. When NOC teams have to log in to multiple, discrete NMS to view each component, it is impossible for them to assess the full picture.
“AI, 5G and automation are the key technologies driving digital transformation”
Source: EY (1)
Digis-One – UFM
A multi-vendor and multi-technology carrier-grade solution, used by Service or Network Operations Centers (SOC/NOC), focusing on fault management unification across all network and IT nodes.
The Digis Squared team have combined their knowledge of network failure occurrence mechanisms and resolution procedures, and our AI and automation skills, to develop Digis-One – a single consistent interface into all the Network and IT nodes in your network, with intelligent troubleshooting and optimisation.
“Digis-One intelligently assesses the data from all the Network and IT nodes it’s connected to. Using automated rules, root cause is identified against a library of recommended actions and troubleshooting steps, thereby overcoming native compatibility issues.”
Yasser ElSabrouty, Co-Founder, and Director of Sales & Business Development ME & Africa
See the full picture
One platform: rich, intuitive web interface, with a fully customisable single view.
Technology: all system components are Cloud Native Computing Foundation certified with a mesh of micro-services components.
Agility: setup can be changed on the fly, no loss of service with its static predefined load balancing rules.
Automation: fully-fledged library of “Generic / Vendor-specific” correlation and automation rules, network alarms, plus their recommended actions, and all troubleshooting steps pre-loaded. RPA ensures faults are consistently identified and swiftly resolved, minimising failure recovery time. Additionally, stable services outside standard working hours can be achieved by automating network operations and monitoring.
Cost efficiency: efficient system architecture and a single interface = simplified operations, administration and maintenance. Efficiency also increases customer satisfaction due to prompt network failure response, which in turn helps retain customers and improve brand image.
Additional Digis-One benefits include,
Rapid integration, and elastic scalability: as components continue to be added to your network, the additional NMS they come with can be easily integrated into Digis-One.
Alarm grouping and pivoting
AutoPilot: the first step towards zero-touch operation
Commercially deployed: now.
Ensuring your network works
As mobile networks are enhanced with IoT, edge-computing and 5G, the ever-increasing complexity of fault management, demands that AI and automation are used to swiftly help your teams identify and resolve faults, and optimise network performance. Now more than ever, ensure your network works.