U.S. Wireless Carrier Solves Service Monitoring Puzzle with SevOne NPM


One of the five largest full-service wireless carriers in the U.S, the company has nearly 5 million customers and over 6,400 employees.


Many organizations say that they offer top-notch customer support, but for most of them, they actually deliver something less.

Not so for this company, which cites its strong focus on support as one of its key differentiators. In fact, most of the company’s corporate culture is built on consistent delivery of the world’s best support in order to ensure a truly superior customer experience. Its efforts have paid off with many industry accolades and awards, including winning the J.D. Power Customer Champion award for three of the last four years.

The problem was that the network operations team wasn’t meeting the company’s high standards of quality with service and support. The team was using a legacy network monitoring and management system that had long since reached the limits of its capabilities. Knowing that their service delivery wasn’t up to par, the NOC team was constantly struggling to keep the old system up and running, and to have it produce the information they needed.

Marathon sessions that went through nights and weekends to create work-arounds were the norm, and the team still wasn’t able to deliver the thorough, accurate, and timely reports their internal customers needed. And since those reports often had to do with service-impacting events, the inadequate network monitoring and management capabilities were beginning to spill over to external customers and their overall satisfaction.

“Our internal customers, the service owners, wanted their data fast, fresh, and accurate, and we weren’t delivering,” said the wireless carrier’s application development team manager. “Our previous tool just wasn’t cutting it. It wasn’t generating the day-to-day status updates, or the forecasting and capacity planning reports our customers needed. It boiled down to customer service, and our internal customers were unhappy. Changes were clearly needed.”

After carefully evaluating its challenges, the company focused on five issues it needed to address:

  • Grow along with the network: With nationwide coverage, and with 99 percent of its customers having access to 4G LTE speeds, its network environment was growing and changing rapidly. It need a network monitoring solution that could scale and adapt at the same pace.
  • Handle richer service mix: With a range of existing 4G LTE services and more coming soon, the new network monitoring platform needed to be able to accommodate a wide range of platforms, applications, and devices.
  • Improve data collection: The team needed to ensure that the new monitoring platform provided comprehensive, end-to-end coverage, and that the data being collected was accurate, timely and stable.
  • Help shorten time-to-market: With innovative new services in development, the new platform needed to be able to help shorten the time it takes the company to bring new service offerings to market by supporting activities, including more accurate capacity planning, more effective testing, etc.
  • Lower operational costs: In the hyper-competitive full-service wireless market in the U.S., the company needed to be innovative while controlling and reducing the costs of running its network.

“We evaluated solutions from several vendors, but IBM SevOne Network Performance Management (NPM) was the only one that met all of our requirements for flexibility, speed, and scalability,” said the application development team manager. “It clearly had the horsepower to handle our present monitoring and management needs, but more important was its ability to accommodate what will be coming to our network over the next five to ten years.”

The network operations team also realized that it needed more than just a new monitoring platform, it needed an improved process for deciding exactly what it would be monitoring and reporting on. That’s how the team came up with the concept of Service Monitoring Agreements (SMAs). To develop these SMAs, the application development team worked with their internal customers – the service owners who also know the most about the network elements their services rely on.

The SMAs standardized the service delivery process by focusing first on which KPIs were the right ones to collect for each service, and confirming those requirements with the service owners upfront. The SMAs also effectively created partnerships between the application developers, the data performance and capacity staff, vendor teams, and of course, the service owners. These SMAs, and the tracking of them within the SevOne Data Platform, created a foundation for significantly improved service delivery.

Business Benefits and Results

“SevOne NPM has made a world of difference,” said the application development team manager. “We can see exactly what’s happening in real time in any location or with any device in our network, and instantly report on it – without those all-nighters.”

By using SevOne, the wireless carrier experienced the following benefits:

  • Scale to meet evolving needs: As the wireless carrier continues to expand its 4G network nationwide, and roll out new services and devices, SevOne NPM has smoothly handled its growth and increased complexity. “We’re now monitoring just under a million objects, and with SevOne, it’s easy,” said the application development manager.
  • Supporting new product introductions: SevOne NPM has enabled the company to gain efficiencies in its development and delivery of new 4G LTE service offerings. Bringing more automation to data modeling, capacity planning, and other functions helps accelerate new products’ time to market.
  • Maintaining service levels: “With the visibility we get from SevOne NPM, we’ve been able to maintain very high consistency with our service delivery. It’s enabled us to switch from reactive to proactive mode, and handle issues before they become serious,” said the application development team manager.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: Fast and flexible reporting makes it easy for internal customers to see exactly how their service is doing in comparison to its specific SMA. The service owners have seen major improvements in service delivery, which has made them very happy.

This major, full service wireless carrier is shifting more of its focus to the 4G world, developing and introducing innovative LTE-based services, and backing them with world-class customer support. SevOne NPM makes it easier for the company to do all of that because it lets staffers keep a closer eye on their entire network and all the services that run on it. That visibility generates real competitive advantages by keeping internal stakeholders informed and empowered, and customers happy and loyal.