Policy Control 2015: from enforcement to agility

Written by on February 12, 2015 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

Policy controlIt is clear now that Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) must now move beyond its original, fairly narrow set of uses. New technologies like VoLTE have led to the expansion of necessary BSS/OSS, partner-, and other IT-integration points. A growing eco-system of other partners, OTT providers, and virtual operators has led to the need for policy solutions that can exploit new commercial opportunities as well as manage accelerated change.

Yet, most CSPs’ first-generation policy solutions—boxes that were designed for the challenges related to network congestion and fair usage—still remain at the fore, despite the fact that these are no longer the only challenges PCRF must address. Put simply, such solutions are unlikely to be up to the demands placed on policy control in 2015.

Today, policy is no longer mainly an enforcement tool; it has become a means of enabling the CSP to profit from the explosive growth of data service consumption the industry is experiencing. In 2015, PCRF will mean delivering agility. More than anything else, the CSP must be allowed to become agile through its policy product.

But why is this the case? The short answer is that, while fair usage and allocating bandwidth based on a combination of subscriber and service criteria remain essential, new applications have created opportunities to create even more enhanced customer value. By integrating policy control with charging, analytics, and partner and customer experience management, new opportunities are created to increase revenue, improve customer loyalty, and identify and leverage marketing intelligence.

Despite these obvious opportunities, for many CSPs, tapping the potential of policy in 2015 will be challenging. The integrations required (as mentioned above) are not straightforward, particularly with data infrastructures that are undergoing rapid transformation and new business models regularly being introduced. Yet, if CSPs remain reliant on their first generation PCRFs, it will take them months to keep up with their markets—and, when they do catch up, they must still face the array of complex dependencies involving legacy platforms, which require expensive and lengthy customization before strategic commercial opportunities involving policy control can be unlocked.

So, what should we do? The obvious answer is to recognize that PCRF has moved into a new product generation that requires superior integration capabilities and enables the CSP to harness, through policy control, the potential of all the data in its IT and network infrastructure.

With this in mind, we can see that, in 2015, effective policy must be driven by the collection of data from a wider array of sources than ever before; this data must be filtered, transformed, and consolidated to feed (and be fed into) a large number of operational and business-support systems that are themselves in a state of constant change. This is because, with the massive growth of data service usage and smartphone applications, it has become increasingly important to understand the end-to-end user experience. Analytics, business intelligence, the partner eco-system, and performance management applications require processes that make data manageable and understandable, especially when their output is based on the millions of data events generated every second by the access, core, and IT networks.

The bottom line is that modern policy must enable CSPs to act on all this information in real time. The experience of the subscriber and the wellness of the network are the foundations of policy decisions that can fuel commercial success both today and tomorrow.

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Lars Månsson

About the Author

About the Author: Lars Mansson is DigitalRoute’s senior director of product management and strategy. In this role, he is the owner of the company's product portfolio, go-to-market and the long-term development of its products & solutions as well as its product strategy, roadmap and thought leadership. Lars has a background in technical pre sales and was previously a system architect and technical coordinator for mediation systems at Tele2 in Sweden. .

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