Network inventory management software has a key role to play in the rapidly evolving and lucrative telecoms industry. Here’s why.
Given the pace at which the telecoms industry is reinventing itself, it’s perhaps not surprising that among other changes the market for and importance of network inventory management software is rapidly growing. Network inventory management software is part of a broader segment of operations management solutions that also includes and addresses, for example, provisioning, availability, and fault management. These solutions collectively enable key functions in service delivery to take place. Underlining how rapidly this market is expanding, its value, US$ 61.11 billion in 2021, is expected to grow to US$ 91.81 billion by 2027 according to the research firm, IMarc Group
Why the opportunity is now
So, what’s driving this demand for solutions such as network inventory management software? Broadly, as the network itself evolves, it’s a matter of communications service providers needing to address changing end customer demands and expectations alongside the emergence of new technologies (for example, over-the-top platforms) by deploying advanced business and operational support systems. Put simply, people expect services to be delivered quickly, at the same speed as they buy new web services.
Increasing demand for communications services (fueled in particular by the growth of the mobile internet) has created a fiercely competitive landscape that yields significant and lucrative opportunities for those who win market share. However, advantage cannot be secured by relying on legacy business models and supporting software. Hence the importance of - and opportunity for - next generation network inventory software.
The foundation of commercial success
In more detail, the role of telecoms operations solutions generally is to ensure services are managed and delivered with maximal availability and minimal downtime. As network complexity increases, this task becomes more difficult. Managing workflows, identifying and addressing provisioning issues, oversight of inventory, etc. have always been complex challenges and expensive ones to address but they are now even more so.
And as the telecoms market opportunity has increased due to this growth and innovation, so the challenges that need to be solved by enabling software have also increased. And make no mistake, the software is critical. It’s the core of:
• Improving customer experience
• Accelerating service delivery
• Reducing churn
• Enabling intelligent network planning
• Supporting new business models
• Maximizing Return on Investment in infrastructure
Delivering on the requirements above is key to future commercial success.
Digging into network inventory management software
If the picture we’ve drawn above is broad-brush, let’s now look into the specific question of network inventory management software. Why is its role in the evolving telco so central? There are a number of reasons, including:
1. Operators must be able to manage multi-vendor, multi-domain networks in an efficient way no matter how complex these are. They must also be able to easily onboard new technologies when they become available.
2. They must be able to manage the entire, end-to-end network based on accurate and real-time knowledge of resource availability.
3. Operators need a consolidated view across physical, logical, virtual, and service assets to achieve a single version of the truth.
4. Operators must be able to rationalize network costs while simultaneously ensuring stable performance, neither of which can be achieved without network inventory management software.
What is NIM?
Network inventory management software delivers on the requirements listed above. It enables the operator to understand all the assets in its service delivery chains and correlate them with each other. As a result, the operator can manage, optimize, and improve the performance of both its investments in network inventory (assets, infrastructure and services) and the delivery of those services.
Put simply, to optimize service delivery, a comprehensive and immediate overview of the network is needed to understand how all the components deployed in the process of delivery are performing. As we’ve noted above, this includes not only the physical base of the network but also its logical and virtual assets such as phone numbers and connections and the interfaces between. In the absence of an inventory software solution, this complete picture will not be readily available, and friction in the service delivery chain will follow. That is neither acceptable nor commercially viable.
Components of the network inventory
Network Inventory Management (NIM) software solves the problem. It can be viewed as the collection, monitoring, and aggregation of information related to all the resources used by an operator to implement its services and products.
What NIM solutions give you is to be able to the ability to accurately describe the state of resources (network elements and their components, IT systems and applications plus related resources as always defined within those systems) within the operational domain (at any given moment and continuously). Using Network Inventory Management software shows what resources are being consumed by which service instances at the physical and technology layers of the infrastructure and is recorded on a continuing basis allowing the operator to understand:
• The status of all resources
• Asset capacity
• Asset performance (including spares)
• Problems and returns tracking
• Resource Activation and Resource Provisioning
• Resource inventory management
• Updates and reconciliation related to inventory
Network inventory management software is critical
The leading example of network inventory management software is VC4-IMS, which uses a rigorous set process to collect raw data from multiple endpoints in the network, then normalizes and reconciles it. This is regularly updated through a unique reconciliation process, ensuring accuracy at all times, as all changes are captured.
As a result, VC4-IMS delivers a critical, panoramic view all physical and logical resources in the network giving the operator a clear, unified understanding of live network assets, and their utilization and configuration at any given time. The platform can also be integrated into the network itself to perform auto-provisioning (service fulfilment) which facilitates building and rolling out services in the network – delivering the competitive advantage you need.