SLA Automation Project Delivers Big Wins for Buyers and Sellers

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It’s no secret that service outages, and the service level agreement (SLA) disputes they trigger, are frequent sources of headaches for carriers of all types and sizes. As the industry’s most renowned standards development organization, MEF and its member companies have led the way in addressing the issues and have already solved for standard data for the APIs used in SLA credit requests and reporting.

Now, MEF is well down the path to the next step: automated SLA credit calculations and mutual endorsement within a secure, public telecom blockchain environment. Buyers and sellers agree—there is extreme value to be had for both sides through timely SLA enforcement, namely in the form of productivity gains and improved user experience.

Project Wolf Town Is Proving the Benefits of Automated SLA Credit Calculation

Built as an MEF Accelerator program in partnership with Orchest Technologies, Sparkle, and Sage Management, Project Wolf Town tests the value of trouble ticket APIs and automated business processes that rely on those APIs.

But the real secret in the sauce is the open source smart contracts that leverage the MEF LSO APIs to automate identification of SLA infractions and the calculation of credits due. It’s this capability that facilitates mutual endorsement and processing of allowed credits via a telecom blockchain, eliminating the manual and tedious SLA credit validation processes for both buyers and sellers.

As MEF VP of Strategic Programs Daniel Bar Lev explains, “The smart contracts and mutual endorsements are part of the foundational fabric of the fully digital telecom ecosystem, an ecosystem concept we call Network as a Service or NaaS. This allows carriers to subscribe an automated and essentially real-time SLA reporting and enforcement service delivered via blockchain. The outcome is the right credits, delivered at the right time, in a secure and mutually trusted environment.”

What Are Buyers and Sellers Saying about Wolf Town?

The first two project participants in the Wolf Town use case—Orchest and Sparkle—are equally optimistic about the project’s initial success and long-term potential. And the interest is mounting among other carriers, including the multinational telecommunications company Colt Technology Services Group, the latest newcomer to the project.

With the debut of Wolf Town planned at the Global NaaS Event next month, all MEF members will get a chance to see the technology firsthand and, very soon, join the project themselves. In the meantime, we asked Orchest and Sparkle to share the highlights of their experience so far to help set the stage for what you can expect to see at GNS.

For Buyers, Automated SLA Credits Pave the Way to Better End User Service

According to Jeremy Villalobos, COO, or Orchest Technologies, a leading US based carrier with a strong presence in Latin America, end user experience is the primary impetus behind the company’s involvement in the automated SLA use case.

“Latin America and many regions around the world need true SLA accountability” Villalobos says. “In the past, the manual and resource-intensive process of identifying, calculating, and filing 100% of the SLA disputes to address extremely frequent outages in our region simply hasn’t been feasible for any company.”

When credits aren’t requested, providers have no real reason to address the root causes of the problem. And the network never improves.  Through Project Wolf Town and the automated and accurate generation of SLA credit reports, that’s changing. As sellers receive, and ultimately pay out, more and more legitimate credits, the natural response will be greater accountability to SLAs and the reliability of the network. Sellers will be incentivized to build in the network redundancies and protections that will reduce or eliminate outages in the first place.

Villalobos says that for network capacity buyers like Orchest, the end goal has never been to earn more SLA credits; rather it’s about motivating much needed network improvements, particularly in historically underserved areas, so carriers can consistently fulfill promises to the customers they serve.

For Sellers, Avoiding Disputes and Over-crediting Makes Mutual Endorsement a Win-Win

For sellers, too, the credit issuance process historically has been complex, time consuming, and resource intensive. Beyond the effort involved in calculating outage times and determining outage sources for legitimate SLA credits, sellers often expend valuable resources disputing credits that are exempt due to planned outages for maintenance, force majeure events, or other reasons.

Project Wolf Town solves for this, too, by accounting for these factors in the smart contract logic that automates the calculation of credits, thus preventing invalid claims.

Leading global service provider Sparkle, the first network capacity seller to join Project Wolf Town, is highly motivated by the mutual consent aspect of the solution. “We are committed to honoring our service promises to our wholesale customers while simultaneously driving efficiencies within our own organization,” says Antonella Sanguineti, head of secure cloud and network solutions for Sparkle. “The smart contracts and APIs underlying the blockchain solution drive greater confidence in the SLA process while freeing our team from handling burdensome and often invalid disputes.”

A Future with No SLA Disputes Is on the Horizon

Ultimately, buyers and sellers of telecom network capacity want the same thing: reliable networks without outages and disputes. Mirko Voltolini, Vice President Innovation for Colt Technologies summarizes his company’s reason for joining Wolf Town this way, “At Colt we are on a journey to digitally transform our services and the adoption of blockchain technology has the ability to automate the operational procedures that are in place between service providers. In the wholesale world the high volume of commercial transactions make manual handling very slow and inefficient. Our long term vision is for blockchain to act as a universal layer of transparency and trust between all the stakeholders, using smart contract to bring speed and automation through their ability to self-execute commercial terms.”

Wolf Town and the use of smart contracts and telecom blockchain technology are moving the industry closer to such a utopia by tackling SLA inefficiencies that have plagued the industry for too long. As SLA reporting and credit issuance becomes more accurate and streamlined, carriers will have more resources available to improve networks globally and ensure better telecommunications services for every customer, everywhere.

Learn More

MEF and Sage Management are excited to demo the Project Wolf Town SLA report automation solution for all GNE attendees during the MEF Accelerator Live portion of the GNE conference, with identical presentation available Tuesday, 3 October or Wednesday, 4 October, each at 4:00 pm. The presentations will give a closer look at this first-of-its kind live use case and the Sage Management smart contracts and MEF LSO APIs behind it.

Join us at GNE to learn how SLA enforcement automation could be a reality for your organization in the very near future.

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April D. Taylor

SVP Blockchain | Sage Mangement

April Taylor serves as the Senior Vice President of Blockchain for Sage Management and has over 20 years of telecom experience. As SVP of Blockchain, Ms. Taylor has helped clients create an accurate rated inventory, execute real time rated ordering, develop smart contracts for blockchain, and implement optimal pricing resulting in over $2.5B in realized savings. She is a subject matter expert on telecommunications ordering, billing, network inventory, contracts, and blockchain subjects.

Ms. Taylor double majored in Finance and Accounting at Virginia Tech and started her career as a Systems Analyst for the Department of Defense. During her time at Sage, she has held telecom financial analyst and director of blockchain positions, where she successfully identified and negotiated over $250M in telecommunications disputes across all global products and services and has implemented blockchain solutions for global telecommunications carriers.