loop

Optimising operations and innovation with data

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Globe Telecom (Globe), the largest mobile network in the Philippines, boasts a mobile subscriber base of 81.7 million as of June 2021.

How do they keep to a key agenda to make all their customers happy?

Joseph Manalang, Service Operations Intelligence Center Manager shared, “Part of our operational mandate is also to ensure Globe detects an issue before a customer does, and to ensure Globe provides them necessary information ahead of time so they do not overwhelm our contact centres.”

Joseph also shared a key win – during the pandemic when lockdowns were implemented, Globe was able to move their subscribers towards mobile apps and using different channels to make payments.

Part of our operational mandate is also to ensure Globe detects an issue before a customer does, and to ensure Globe provides them necessary information ahead of time so they do not overwhelm our contact centres.

“These were products that got hibernated for a few years; because of the pandemic it was easier to enable and get mobile apps and payments across to our subscribers and all our brands.

He reminds that one of the key things Globe wants to achieve also is to help Filipinos get digitalised in terms of usage and behaviours.

Key areas in IT Operations

How does Globe detect issues before their 81.7 million (and counting) subscribers do?

Joseph shared that currently, around 70-percent of incidents or triggered alerts are proactively detected. “There is still 30-percent to work on.

“Other challenges we are working on is our ability to maintain our mean time to restart (services). We have a target of around four hours to restart critical services.

“Currently, we are still at the five to six hours range which are we working on, to ensure we are able to give our support teams ability to find potential root cause of an outage, and help them do quick restoration.”

A foundation for self-remediation

There is also potential to take things up a notch.

Splunk’s Group Vice President of South Asia and Korea, Raen Lim, chipped in that Splunk solutions is commonly used in three areas, one main area being enhancing customer experience by predicting outages before they occur.

Joseph also talked about a key mandate to put into action, self-remediating solutions using machine learning and AI.

“So, the foundation is already there. There is a tool that ingests logs and creates KPIs, and with these incidents are able to generate automatic alerts and generate tickets for helpdesk’s attention.

“The next phase of that journey is to be able to begin self-remediation so that even before it hits a critical level or threshold, you should be able to quickly kill or address potential incidents that may come into production.

Data management solutions

This is where Splunk comes in. Joseph shared the two aspects of their relationship with Splunk – technology and partnership.

“I think the ease of ingesting and parsing logs regardless of whether it’s structured or unstructured data, has been really time-saving for us. Even setting up dashboards and configuring thresholds are quick and convenient to do.

“In terms of partnerships, it has come to the point where it’s no longer a vendor relationship, but a partnership – with success managers, subject matter experts that you will talk with regularly, and keep you on point with industry best practices.”

Globe currently uses Splunk Enterprise Platform and the Splunk IT Service Intelligence, and Raen explained, “Splunk Enterprise Platform is actually the foundation for our solutions – it is a robust data management platform that is designed to ingest, aggregate and analyse and prepare the data that’s brought into the system through various sources in real-time fashion.”

I think the ease of ingesting and parsing logs regardless of whether it’s structured or unstructured data, has been really time-saving for us. Even setting up dashboards and configuring thresholds are quick and convenient to do.

The second solution, Splunk IT Service Intelligence (ITSI), is a purpose built solution that sits on top of Splunk Enterprise, and is powered by AI.

In combination, they provide visibility into the health of critical IT and business services and also the infrastructure. “Deriving service level insights and analysis of events metrics and logs, enables IT operations to find and fix the most important issues first,” Raen explained.

Data for modernisation

Telco modernisation projects are no strangers to increasing use of new technologies like micro services, virtualisation, containerisation, and cloud. “One of the key advantages with Splunk, was that when we were thinking about this journey, we were still able to gather all the necessary metrics and logs with the tools we used for monitoring,” Joseph said.

“Essentially we were able to still put up our monitoring in parallel with the platform modernisation project, technologies, and infrastructures.”

Globe has an average of 30 projects running every month and the generated data are very useful and insightful to assess the success and viability of each project.

With all the types of data that was being generated as result, other opportunities also emerged. IT Service Intelligence (ITSI) saw opportunity for operational capacity review (because of historical data gathered), exploratory analysis (for thresholds), and turning that out into standards for IT operations.

Joseph said, “We are also building a forecasting process and have created a theory called instrumentation engineering.

Globe has an average of 30 projects running every month and the generated data are very useful and insightful to assess the success and viability of each project.

“I think these are the key wins we have had when we started using these solutions, as well as laying out the foundations, and now we are able to move on further to building those processes and key standards for Globe’s IT operations,” Joseph said.

Great user experience

Joseph was pleased that IT operations’ mean time to detect issues as well as to escalate them to the right resources, are steadily reducing.

“Now with the foundational building phase done and mean time to detect getting better, we are looking to improve time to restore service.”

There is also opportunity to prevent incidents from happening.

“A self-healing solution will complete the entire loop for monitoring, from detection down to prevention,” Joseph concluded.

Globe – a data innovator

Raen wrapped up the interview with her comment, “Globe is actually what we call it the data innovator, given the very challenging environment that they operate in which massively disruptive.”

She applauded their very strong data strategy, and their important step in investing the right set of tools to help them gain a full 360 degree view, to be able to provide the enhanced customer experience.

“Working with the Globe team, I fhave a keener understanding of the relationship and how it drives business decisions. All the data in Globe is their foundation to drive innovation, with visibility into their customers and operations and how customers consume their services,” Raen said in conclusion.