Huawei Managed Services had strong and rapid growth during the past three years. Especially in emerging market, Huawei has been the mainstreaming Managed Services provider. Managed Services is never an easy job. How can Huawei Managed Services successfully deliver and bring value to the telecom operators? Huawei Service invited Mr.Alex Li, one of Huawei' s experienced Managed Services delivery experts to answer the questions hereinabove.
Huawei Service: As a Managed Services delivery expert with rich experience, you' ve been involved in various Managed Services projects. Can you tell us the effective ways that lead to a successful project?
Alex Li: Firstly, we have to fulfill the KPI and SLA that are in the Contract. How to achieve? We set up an internal OLA (operation level agreement) within the Managed Services team so that we can measure and manage our performance at Key Control Points; and we cascade the contractual KPI/SLA to the PBC of the managers and the key team members. For example, their own performance measurement is directly linked with our delivery performance. This is how we assure the customers that we could meet the external (contractual) KPI and SLA. We need to manage the "process" so to achieve the "result". Without good process and good management, even if you have good staff, they would be just a group of disorder people.
Secondly, communication and ownership are very important. Just meeting the contractual KPI/SLA is not enough to keep the customer satisfied. We must change our mindset, from traditional vendor reactive support mode to proactive service mode. Communication with our customer is a long term and continuous process. In addition to formal meetings, we also take a proactive approach and often interact with senior customers through other channels. We aim to maintain sound relationships with them, understand their requirements, and view things from their perspective. Our people need to manage the customer's network to support their business as our own business. Moreover, we often assign team members to work with customers of similar cultural background and speak the same language. Localization is especially important for Managed Services business. Because Managed Services is like "marriage", we live inside the operator' s office and have very close daily interactions. In fact, the success of our service delivery largely depends on the extent how much the customers trust us.
Furthermore, our staff is firmly committed to solving any problems or challenges head on with a "can-do" spirit. For example in Bangladesh, where physical conditions are particularly harsh, cyclones and flooding often damage base stations and the power supply is very unreliable. All these, however, do not affect our delivery in high quality. Though our first Managed Services customer was not the country' s largest operator, our customer has the best network quality and always resumes services after natural disaster more quickly than others. This is because Huawei people always bear in mind the commitments to shoulder our business responsibilities and prioritize customers' interests. We are committed to ensuring high quality networks.
In summary, the keys in successful Managed Services operation are actually in our name: Management which is about good methodology and Service which is about right attitude.
Huawei Service: Operators' networks are often comprised of equipment from different vendors and they may outsource the management of their networks. What' s your opinion about multi-vendor Managed Services? Can you tell us more about the capabilities and experiences of Huawei in this field?
Alex Li: In my opinion, the key rests with management. The methodology of Managed Services is the same regardless which vendor' s equipment. Let me take an analogy:
Performing multi-vendor Managed Services is just like driving different brands of cars. For example, when I was young, I drove a Toyota Corolla in HK; the steering was on the right and it was a stick shift. As I grew up and moved to USA, I drove a big monster American car; the steering was on the left and it had automatic gears, and the locations of the buttons were different. When I wanted to make a turn signal, I turned on the windscreen wiper because of old habit. I needed to learn how to drive the new car in a new environment. However, did I need to take long time to learn? Of course not, just 1 day then I got used to it.
Likewise, if our engineers are already experienced in managing the Huawei equipment, it is not difficult for them to learn the operation & maintenance of other vendors' equipment. Huawei has the full technologies capabilities to provide multi-vendor support. Because the Managed Services scope is only L1 and L2 support. Just like driving a car, it is not difficult. The key is the operation & maintenance process that likes driving skill. If there is any problem that our people cannot handle, for example, software bugs, we will escalate it to the original vendor's customer support for L3 support. This is just the same process for Huawei equipment, which we escalate to our L3 Technical Assistance Center. Just like when I drove the Corolla, if the engine broke down, I sent it back to Toyota for repair. Same when I drove the American big car, when its engine had problem, I sent it back to the original manufacturer to repair, no difference.
L1 and L2 problem solving rate is one of the key indices of operation & maintenance capabilities. Some operators can solve 70%-80% of network problems in L1 and L2, while someone can only solve less than 35%. How can Huawei help improve this?
In fact, in one of our multi-vendor projects, when we took over other vendors' core networks, we put in very experienced engineers hired from the global market to solve most of the problems themselves and to technically smooth the transition period. When the core network was swapped by Huawei equipment, we did not bring in additional Huawei engineers but gave the existing team some training, and then they could manage Huawei equipment well.
At the same time, Huawei pay much attention on quality assurance, so the operators can have a reliable and efficient network. That is why Huawei and Huawei people keep on learning, especially learning from the latest technologies.
By now Huawei Managed Services team has accumulated experiences in managing Motorola, Ericsson, NSN, ALU and Cisco network.
Huawei Service: The transition phase is crucial for an outsourcing project to be successful. How does the Managed Services team ensure smooth transition?
Alex Li: As what was advocated in Sun Zi' s "Art of War": understanding the other parties and yourself, you could win any battle.
The first step is comprehensive due diligence exercise. It is quite difficult to take over a network that has been operated and maintained by someone else. Therefore, we need to thoroughly investigate and evaluate the networks to identify any technical or operation & maintenance problems. The survey has to be 360 degrees. Then we' ll be able to formulate correct actions plan to address these problems. The better we perform this exercise then the better chance we would succeed.
Learn from experiences: Experiences help us how to design a detailed plan, define a clear responsibility matrix, identify problems and risks so we could take actions to avoid.
Cooperation with customers: Close cooperation with customers helps clarify and solve problems. We need to really work together as ONE TEAM during the Transition Phase. Lots of open communications to develop mutual trust is very important to iron out the difficulties together. Experiences show that good partnership with customers always rewards in successful transition.
Expert team: When we started the Managed Services business four years ago, we suffered a lot due to lacking of experience. Since then, we' ve built a SWAT team of experienced Subject Matter Experts (SME) to carry out major or special projects. It' s hard to create Managed Services operation without any experience for the new countries. Our SWAT team, however, quickly build the organization and processes that have eliminated the need to start each project from scratch. Apart from participating in projects, this team trains new team members and shares its experience through case studies. Our efforts to ensure rapid project delivery are always recognized by customers. For example, last year, we completed project transition from another vendor in just one and a half months, which astonished our customer.
Huawei Service: At present, customers are generally satisfied with Huawei Managed Services projects that have been delivered. Recently, a customer in the Middle East and North Africa has extended its Managed Services contract with Huawei. What has been the secret of success?
Alex Li: Based on collaboration with many customers, we' ve found that there are some key factors.
First of all, just as I' ve mentioned before, we must change our mindset, from the reactive support mode to proactive service mode, regarding our customer' s business as ours with deep understanding of their business challenges & requirements. That' s the reason why our customer can trust Huawei Managed Services.
Secondly, assurance of "best-in-class" quality of experience to satisfy the subscribers. We can also provide tailor-made solutions for those operators who care about improving their subscriber experience and finding efficient & effective ways to assure it. For example, full service quality assurance, which can assure operators' network business and quality, finally improve the subscriber experience.
With continuous innovation of service operation, service products, and new business models, Huawei can help to reduce TCO by streamlining operation processes and improving efficiency.
During the delivery of Managed Services, we continuously help our customers enhance their technical competence, so that they will be free to focus on enhancing their competitive advantage in the market.