service assurance (SA)
What is service assurance (SA)?
Service assurance (SA) is a procedure or set of procedures intended to optimize performance and provide management guidance in communications networks, media services and end-user applications.
Service assurance is an all-encompassing paradigm that revolves around the idea that improving customer experience and maximizing customer satisfaction inevitably maximizes the long-term profitability of an enterprise.
Service assurance can involve quality assurance (QA), quality control (QC) and service-level management (SLM).
Service-level management involves the monitoring and management of the quality of the key performance indicators (KPIs) of a product or service. This is often done through the use of the internet of things (IoT), machine learning, open source software and artificial intelligence.
Quality assurance is intended to make certain that a product or service under development meets specified requirements at all stages in the process.
Quality control ensures that a completed and manufactured product or performed service adheres to a defined set of quality criteria or meets the requirements of the client or customer. QA is sometimes expressed together with QC as a single expression, quality assurance and control (QA/QC).
Service assurance tools
Various tools are used to facilitate service assurance. They include:
- Asset management systems:Real-time management of all the devices on the network to ensure the quality of service (QoS).
- Change management systems:Ensuring that new technology is easily and efficiently integrated with the existing infrastructure.
- Service desk:Finding the root cause of issues within the organization and conducting troubleshooting through a ticketing system.
- Configuration management systems:Provisioning of relevant software to the end user through virtualization and automation.
The goal of service assurance
Ultimately, the goal of service assurance is to maximize profitability through increased end-user experience. Here are some of the common steps that a company can take to reach this goal:
- managing service desk and ticketing system
- maintaining telecommunications network
- performance monitoring
- ensuring connectivity through network service assurance
- employing big data and optimizing data analytics
- managing service-level agreements (SLAs)
- developing new service offering
- ensuring automation through network functions virtualization (NFV)
Service assurance plan
In order to achieve the goal of service assurance, companies develop service assurance plans. This will look at various service assurance metrics and guide the day-to-day operations of the company.
The service assurance plan will include managing network operations, assessing network performance, automating configuration management and asset tracking.
See also: Quality engineering vs. quality assurance: Know the differences, 5 SMART goals for a QA analyst and ITSM software market: Insight for channel partners.