Bell holds up its network performance to user scrutiny

Bell Canada is trying to get a leg up on the competition by improving internal network performance and showing customers how it’s meeting service-level agreements.

The carrier has hired InfoVista

for the job — a business technology intelligence (BTI) company from France. InfoVista provides service-centric performance management software to several of the world’s service providers, including Deutsche Telecom, France Telecom, Singtel and US Cellular.

Bell Canada has some customers using the InfoVista platform today; it will continue rolling out the solution over the next 12 months. Customers can see how their traffic is performing and, more specifically, how Bell Canada is meeting its service commitments.

“What this allows us to do is really prove to our customers that we’re actually meeting the service metrics and that we’re proactively planning and designing our networks to meet more advanced service levels and service commitments on an ongoing basis,” said Jeremy Wubs, director of marketing for the IP data and managed networks portfolio with Bell Canada. “It’s really about proactive management versus traditional processes that are more about reactive management.”

InfoVista worked with systems integrator Accenture to provide performance management tools to Bell Canada, including an early warning system to identify potential problems, trends analysis for capacity planning as well as service-level reporting.

Wubs said Bell Canada looked at several vendors, but chose InfoVista because it met the needs of its IP strategy. “We wanted to make sure we had a partner who had the capabilities today versus building those out as part of a project,” he says “You don’t have time in the market to wait — we’ve got our strategy, we’re executing on it so we don’t have enough time to wait for somebody to build that over time.”

“This is data on which they’re betting their business — this information on how to provision the network and deliver services to these customers,” said Jean-Luc Valente, senior vice-president of worldwide marketing and strategic alliances with InfoVista.. “Associated with that is a lot of money and a lot of risk if it’s ill-managed.”

Performance indicators about the health of the network are captured on a real-time basis. Using this data, Bell Canada can create service-level reports for specific customers.

“Their bandwidth (changes) depending upon the time of day, or day of the week, or end of the quarter when there is much more traffic for specific commercial activities,” he says. “When we talk about performance, it’s really related to the service itself which impacts the business.”

While Bell Canada has a standard offering for all of its customers, the technology can be customized for specific customers, providing a “personalized” portal interface with real-time performance information.

“It may be a one-off, but associated with the one-off is a premium payment to justify the investment of time,”” said Jack Allen, senior vice-president of Americas operations with InfoVista.

Valente said multi-tier services are driving the market for both consumer and enterprise customers.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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