Customers spend most of their day with network access through computers, smart phones, tablets, and, in the not so distant future, even the devices around them in the home…like light bulbs, refrigerators, and the like. With everything being self-serve these days it’s beginning to be expected that service providers get with the times and offer the “Non-Order” Order. So, just what is a “Non-Order” Order? It’s the instant fulfillment of what the customer wants, which means much more than that buzz-phrase that has been so popular in the past, Zero Touch Provisioning.
The traditional fulfillment process is slow, cumbersome, and prone to errors. Depending on the order, it can take weeks or even months to be fulfilled. The lengthy process goes from Order Entry > Design > Assign > Provision > Activation > Test > Billing. By the time it’s done, the customer may not even want the service anymore…or may have went and ordered from someone else that could deliver it when they wanted. The industry has a vital business case for instant fulfillment. Over the years many service providers have focused on Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP – a fully automated order), but providers NEED to do more; ZTP is not enough.
We’ve reached a time where instant fulfillment can exist, given that your systems are in sync enough with your network…but that is another blog. With SDN and NFV networks, service providers can have full visibility of the network and offer features that can be instantly turned up through self-service portals or operator assisted phone calls. The formula to enabling the “Non-Order” Order is SDN + NFV + ZTP + B/OSS integration.
The complex part of this formula requires innovative solutions that companies (and lots of start-ups) are deploying daily as software meets the network. The introduction of SDN and NFV into the service provider network can offer many advantageous “Non-Order” Order catalog items. Service chaining (self-service selection of L4-L7 services), Bandwidth-On-Demand, vCPE, and OTT (Over-The-Top) services just to name a few. If service providers are going to make it in this new world they must start moving in this direction sooner than later. Think of it as Natural Selection applied to the service provider space. Are you going to be the cheetah, or the baby gazelle?