About KPN iTV
KPN is the leading telecommunications and ICT service provider in the Netherlands, offering wireline and wireless telephony, internet and TV to consumers, plus end-to-end telecoms and ICT services to business customers. The company currently provides its internet TV (iTV) service to more than 300,000 households. With more than 30,000 full-time employees across the whole group, KPN was incorporated in 1989 and is listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
KPN wanted to be a leading provider of next-generation iTV in Europe, combining true high-definition television, on-demand video services, and timeshift capabilities (pausing, recording or rewinding of live TV programs) in a package delivered over broadband connections.
Introducing a high-profile media product in a competitive marketplace is potentially a tricky proposition. With media consumers able to discuss poor experiences with other consumers at the touch of a button, KPN needed to be sure that its service would be completely robust.
"We wanted to have direct, real-time, proactive control over the customer experience, to make sure that everything would run perfectly," said Jacob Groote, Director of the National Operations Centre. "Delivering a huge range of interactive television content over the internet involves a large number of different systems and technologies, all of which must be monitored and managed to ensure a good customer experience. The key challenge was to find a way to aggregate all of the technical information into a dashboard that would show the end-to-end customer experience in real time."
For any company managing complex business processes that span multiple systems, it can be difficult to gain a clear, top-level view of the overall health of the business. Traditional monitoring solutions tend to reveal only isolated technical problems, without showing their ultimate impact further down the chain of business processes. Even where data from different monitoring solutions in aggregated, the information produced is often too technical and takes too long to deliver.
"We were facing the classic disconnect between IT and business, and we needed to get them completely aligned, in real time," said Willem Haumerssen, Manager of the National Operations Centre. "Working with Q-TC, we built a real-time dashboard using Novell Operations Center software, which has enabled us to ensure that our ICT operations are completely business-centric."
Q-TC, a Novell Business Partner and leader in business alignment solutions, completed a successful proof of concept in KPN's national operations centre within just eight weeks. KPN iTV trialled the solution for six weeks, then signed a three-year contract.
Using the Novell Operations Center solution from Q-TC, KPN iTV can see a complete overview of its entire core business process, from the original TV feed coming from the broadcaster all the way through to the customer. The company can monitor the quality of the customer experience in real time and feed this information in the appropriate format to managers and employees at every level.
"The solution is very visual and intuitive, and it presents information in a way that is tailored to the user," said Haumerssen. "A senior manager might have a top-level dashboard on his PDA showing the overall service quality, while the administrator for a individual service would have a more detailed dashboard. Users in different departments within the KPN organisation can drill down through data to see the underlying issues and take the appropriate action to resolve them. Also, the solution automatically flags up warnings to users further up the chain, so that we can take proactive steps to ensure service continuity."
With Novell Operations Center, KPN iTV can see which services depend on which elements in the IT infrastructure, and can prioritise issues in terms of the impact they will have on the customer experience. The solution makes it easier for different teams to work together to resolve performance degradation or outages, because it clearly shows who is responsible for which issues.
"The Novell and Q-TC solution presents technical information in the language and context of the business services we offer to customers," said Haumerssen. "Instead of business managers responding in a reactive manner to information that slowly filters up from the ICT team, they can immediately grasp the issues and ensure that the correct actions are being taken."
Novell Operations Center is an open, easy-to-integrate solution that combines product maturity with rapid deployment capabilities. It gives KPN iTV a real-time view of and control over service levels, and enables more intelligent prioritisation of technical fixes, typically avoiding the need for escalations.
"Novell Operations Center is helping us to visualise, in real time, how our ICT environment is performing against our business objectives," said Groote. "This minimises our risk, improves internal efficiency, accelerates problem resolution and ensures that we can deliver an extremely high-quality service to our iTV customers in the Netherlands."