Service Quality Management (SQM)

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Service Quality Management (SQM) 2009-08-06T23:06:16+00:00

Service Quality Management (SQM)

Other TLAs NOT covered here:

Software Quality Management
Square Meters

Key Themes for SQM Applications in Enterprise (inc MSP/ASP, Cloud) and Communications Service Providers (CSP)

Quality of Experience (QoE)
Quality of Customer Experience (QoCE)

monitor quality of service (QoS)
bridge the gap between the conventional methods of managing network performance and the customer’s perception of QoS
manage the entire service delivery process

Service quality can be defined as “the collective effect of service performances which determine the degree of satisfaction of a user of the service” (ITU E.800). In other words, quality is the customer’s perception of a delivered service. By service-quality management, we refer to the monitoring and maintenance of end-to-end services for specific customers or classes of customers

As larger varieties of services are offered to customers, the impact of network performance on the quality of service will be more complex. It is vital that service engineers identify network-performance issues that impact customer service. They also must quantify revenue lost due to service degradation.

Two major software building blocks are required to proactively manage service quality: a powerful data-aggregation engine and an end-to-end service-mapping tool.

The data aggregator is designed to collect data from a diverse range of sources. In other words, it collects data from different types and locations like UDR, performance data, and network alarms. It also gathers data that was produced by multi-vendor equipment. The aggregator processes large volumes of data to the order of several hundreds of megabytes per day. For example, around 60 million usage data records are produced every day for a network with 10 million customers.

The service-mapping tool comes in next. Performance data is mapped onto service-quality data. Take a customer using Multimedia Messaging Services, or MMS (FIG. 4). If a video download is interrupted many times during a session, the customer will lose interest. The operator’s revenue will be lost with it. To avoid this situation, key quality indicators (KQIs) like availability can monitor the QoS offered to customers.

From a customer’s point of view, the availability KQI measures how successfully he or she can access and use the MMS service.

With the service-mapping tool, it’s possible to combine KQIs from multiple key performance indicators (KPIs) across different service resources (FIG. 5). As defined in TMF GB923, KPIs measure a specific aspect of the performance of either a service resource or a group of service resources of the same type. A KPI is restricted to a specific resource type and derived from network measurements.

By following this top-down approach, the service-mapping tool provides several benefits. It helps operators manage end-to-end quality of service from a customer’s perspective. It also allows them to reuse key performance indicators and key quality indicators across services and products. Lastly, it helps operators drill down to the service elements that are responsible for quality degradations.

Service quality also demands a simple and easy-to-use user interface. With this interface, Network Operations Center (NOC) staff and service managers can monitor service-quality objectives against thresholds. These thresholds may be internal targets for the network operator. Or they could be derived from Service Level Agreement (SLA) definitions.

When the service quality falls below the contracted levels, managers could then initiate corrective actions. They could focus on the service degradations that affect the greatest number of customers. A set of standard reports for different user communities should also be available. Network Operations, for example, may request reports on service capacity, the number of customers affected by service degradation, N-Worst or N-Best services, and N-Worst or N-Best service elements. For new services, marketing and sales may be interested in reports on service usage and service uptake. National regulators may also request historical service quality against given service objectives.

Telecommunications Management Forum (TMF)

TMF has numerous standards and specifications for service quality management within the communications service provider market. It is interesting that the TMF has recently rebranded their efforts from SQM to something they are calling Managing Customer Experience (MCE).


To address both the end-to-end view of the customer lifecycle and of the value chain, TM Forum’s Managing the Customer Experience Program takes a phased approach to:

* Developing a single framework for measuring and effectively managing service quality;
* Defining key service quality metrics at each point along the service delivery network;
* Identifying service quality issues and the necessary accounting and rebating information; usage information, and problem resolution information;
* Defining management capabilities to support each step in the service delivery network;
* Specifying appropriate interfaces/API’s to enable the interchange of such information electronically between the various providers in a service value network.

Managing Customer Experience (SQM) Charter for Phase 1

TR 148 Managing the Quality of Customer Experience – This document describes the principals and models for assuring the Quality of Customer Experience (QoCE) through end to end (e2e) Service Quality Management (SQM) that forms the basis of the e2e Holistic Customer Experience Framework Ecosystem that supports:

* B2B processes (Assurance focus);
* SLA Agreements (implicit, explicit customer defined) for services and resources;
* Linkage to customer and user perception information.

TR149 Technical Report–Managing the Quality of Customer Experience
Customer Experience Service Level Agreements, and End-to-End Service Quality Management—reviews five scenarios where e2e Customer experience is needed, IPTV , MobileTV, IPVPN, Service syndication, VoIP, and Blackberry.

Part 1: Holistic e2e Customer Experience Framework Customer Experience/ SLA/ Service Quality Management

Part 2: Key Factor Analysis Workbook—Provides a Customer Experience model and analysis methodology called Key Factor Analysis. Proposes as set of APIs metrics and design principles for establishing Customer Experience and end to end Service Quality Management.

TR 152: Managing Quality of Customer Experience— Reports the key conclusions of the MCE Catalyst which are a virtualized resource// service model aligned with ITIL practice

Further Reading:

* Business Benchmarking Metrics Framework v3
* Service Level Agreement handbook GB917
* Wireless Service Quality Measurements GB923
* Best practice Video of IP GB938 (draft)

Industry Articles

Apply Service-Quality Management To Wireless Networks: With The Addition Of Data Services, Operators And Service Providers Must Weigh Network Performance And Customer Perception.

References and information on Service Quality Management (SQM)

A nice presentation on SQM from Accenture.

Achieving Service Excellence with SQM – Joel Cornette – IBM GTS

SQM and Customer Experience Management (CEM)


IBM Service Quality Management Resource Center:

IBM Tivoli Netcool Service Quality Manager (TNSQM)

IBM Tivoli Netcool Service Quality Manager 4.1 Tivoli Talk Slide Deck

Tivoli Netcool for Wireless User Quality Demo


Huawei & SQM

Service quality management over IP: