Outsourcing is the solution to managing the increasing complexity of next-generation network operations, but like any project, it's important to launch and manage a network outsourcing project effectively to ensure a positive outcome.
Step 1: Select one of the two basic models available:
The NOC-outsourcing model: The operator outsources network operations center (NOC) responsibility, including staff and facilities;
The staff-outsource model: Only the staff is outsourced. Except where an operator has a large and non-recoverable facilities investment, the NOC-outsource model is generally preferred because it will reduce risk the most.
Step 2: Develop a transition plan.
While some operators prefer to have their own staff develop a transition plan, the best practice, based on outcome, is to have the transition plan developed by outsource bidders as a part of the proposal.
Where outsource interest stems from a major NGN infrastructure project, it is best to have the transition plan developed as a part of the project.
If a network integration contract was awarded during the infrastructure project, the integration winner could prepare a plan, and should be encouraged to bid on the outsource project as well.
Creating effective network operations outsourcing plans
The major goal of a transition plan is to shift responsibility to the outsource provider in an orderly way. The transition plan must address the following points:
How will the new outsource staff be certified as qualified to take over support? This requires setting specific milestones with a specific timeline.
How will existing network management, business and operations support systems be linked into the new network operations center (NOC)? How will any new products or systems be accommodated over time?
What responsibilities will remain with the operator, if any? In some cases, outsource contracts explicitly target next-generation network (NGN) deployment and legacy systems remain in house. If this is the case, how are issues with NGN-over-legacy or other cross-technology issues going to be resolved?
What are the processes associated with transitioning out of the outsource arrangement if the operator decides not to renew it or change partners down the line?