NxM: How to better understand and manage network experience
Network quality remains a key competitive asset for mobile network operators (MNOs), and is one of the top 3 reasons for service uptake and churn. Still, MNOs have typically followed a deployment and optimization approach that disregards the actual judge of network quality: their customers (subscribers, end users). As the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras said: “Man is the measure of all things”.
The restricted focus on network-centric metrics fails to consider how customers experience the network or their distinct usage/expectations profile. In these terms, MNOs have been unable to target investments and maximize ROI based on the network experience and commercial significance of their customers.
Complexity is the main reason for this suboptimal approach, which has also led to the creation of silo domain organizations inside MNOs. And it is not getting simpler, especially as new technologies (e.g. VoLTE) have raised the significance of backhaul and core/IMS in addition to the challenging radio access domain.
Despite regional variations, MNOs are running to stand still, unable to satisfy for long the ever-growing needs of their customers. Data demand drives investment in new technologies, capacity, etc. while complexity increases and profit margins fall. Such a model is neither optimal nor sustainable.
A new approach to address network-relevant challenges is needed. This should be ROI-driven and rely on technical and commercial criteria while focusing on what actually matters: not the network per se, but on the customer experience of the end-to-end network performance.
The new approach should revolve around the experience of using mobile devices for native/OTT or (not relying on human action) M2M/IoT services. To analyze and optimize network experience, access to all relevant data sources is essential. Furthermore, the huge amount of data and the need to link domains (increasingly, in real time) require advanced network intelligence and automation. Such capabilities are vital to quickly pinpointing and resolving network experience issues.
The new approach should help optimize network ROI by considering capex/opex limitations and distinct customer profiles. For example, MNOs could increase revenue (e.g. by targeting enterprise accounts), enhance operational efficiency (e.g. through resource sharing), and reduce capex (e.g. through less silo/equipment-biased decisions).
The cost-effective focus on network experience is ultimately a foundation for customer satisfaction and improved ROI. Amdocs calls this approach “network experience management” (NxM as an acronym).
A new Amdocs and Rethink Technology Research report, entitled ‘A new era for wireless: from network to network-experience focused – How to address the top 10 challenges identified by mobile network operators’, provides more detail.
This report replaces the Amdocs ‘State of the RAN’ report, extending scope to the end-to-end network performance impact on customer experience and ROI. It combines industry survey and other data with views from MNOs, analysts and Amdocs experts to highlight major challenges and solutions. According to the report, better network experience topped the list of commercial challenges for MNO CTOs in a 2016 survey, which also identified their top 10 challenges in understanding and managing network experience.
Download the report to learn about these MNO challenges and the game-changing role of network experience management.