Interview with Mikael Grill, CEO at Polystar
Q: What kinds of challenges do CSPs face today?
Every CSP has its own list of primary challenges. Many have much in common – for example, delivering a better customer experience. Others are much more specific to individual circumstances, such as responding to a localised set of competitive applications or an unusual mobile device mix. As such, every CSP has to prioritise its investments so that it can equip itself with solutions that allow it to address the challenges confronting it. What’s more, each CSP needs to become more agile in order to respond to challenges faster.
Q: What role does the availability of network data play in helping to address these?
The ability to capture and interpret network data has been a key pillar of approaches to addressing such challenges. This was one of the main drivers behind the growth of Big Data solutions within CSP networks. However, in recent times, it has become increasingly clear that historic approaches to data capture and presentation are limited and will not be fit for purpose in the next phase of CSP and network evolution.
Q: Why do you think that’s the case?
This is because the procurement process for probes, mediation platforms and so on, has been typically driven by requirements that have become increasingly complex.
Put simply, while mandating support for thousands of KPIs ensures a comprehensive approach, it also creates system bloat, as platforms may have to include hundreds of features that are rarely, if ever, used. The resulting platforms have become slower, more hardware intensive and increasingly complicated to use.
As more and more challenges emerge, these complex systems have become an inhibitor to the agility that CSPs are seeking to adopt.
Q: What would Polystar propose as a better approach?
CSPs are recognising that they need solutions that go beyond service assurance to deliver real-time data and enable agile operations and service management, with a complete, end-to-end view of networks, services and subscriber experience. They also recognise that they do not need overly complicated solutions that cover thousands of different KPIs – especially as the use of such systems has been restricted to a small group of highly technical personnel.
Agility, which is necessary in order to help CSPs to respond more quickly to changing circumstances, requires the evolution of real-time network analytics. It requires faster systems that have enhanced usability and which democratise the use of real-time data in CSP organisations. Enabling more people to view and act on data captured from the network helps CSPs empower their employees and spreads a more agile orientation throughout the organisation.
That’s why we have taken steps to re-invent telco analytics with our new product, KALIX. It’s the heart of a new set of solutions that have been designed to empower an entirely new way of creating the data-driven environment that CSPs need to make more sense of their networks and address key challenges in their markets. It provides a common framework for a new range of advanced and intuitive solution portals that have greater usability.
Q: Can you provide an example of how this might make a difference?
Instead of trying to make sense of the many thousands of possible KPIs, we think that a better approach is to focus on learning which KPIs are relevant to an individual CSP. We create these via interaction with our global professional services organisation, with the result that each solution is optimised to the needs of each CSP.
With this approach, all stakeholders in the organisation can ask and answer their own questions about data, since we present the data relevant to their daily work, adjusted to every skill level. It allows every employee to make data-driven decisions, transforming the efficiency and effectiveness of entire organisations and creating a more agile orientation that is more supportive of CSP ambitions.
Q: What would be your message to CSPs that are trying to improve their agility?
Agility cannot be enabled by simply reusing and investing in legacy solutions. It’s clear that they offer diminishing returns and cannot simply be reused to help CSPs confront the current and emerging challenges they face. To secure the agility they need, CSPs need more flexible solutions that can more rapidly be customised, evolved and enhanced, not through legacy approaches that are restricted to small numbers of users.
Data helps drive decisions. It enables CSPs to make objective choices but it has to be democratised so that more users can take action, faster. A reinvention of telco analytics is the only way to enable such a change. Visit Polystar at MWC (Hall 6, Stand 6G31) to find out more.