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SSE Telecom

SSE Telecoms, the telecoms business of the SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy), is using Smallworld Network Inventory™ to manage their physical and logical network records covering their 11,200km UK-wide fibre optic network, improving the efficiency and accuracy of their network infrastructure and delivery of services to their customers.

Company background
In 2001, SSE Telecoms set out as a national UK operator providing high bandwidth products to commercial and public sector customers. Their network originated from the installation of fibre optic cable on SSE’s electricity network and, following a number of acquisitions in recent years, has grown to an 11,200km UK-wide network, which has resulted in them becoming the fourth-largest network operator in the UK.

SSE Telecoms products include provision of ethernet and SDH leased line services, across a wide area network consisting of 115 points of presence (POPs), supporting delivery of data and voice. Their focus is on providing bespoke network solutions to their customers to meet their exact requirements. This means that they need to have a flexible approach to network configuration and be able to respond quickly and efficiently to such requests.

Smallworld Selection
As SSE Telecom expanded their network, it became increasingly evident that they needed a way of centralising their network infrastructure records to provide a consistent and efficient way of accessing and managing these records.

Their parent company SSE had previously deployed the Smallworld™ GIS platform. This was successfully managing their geographic network records for their electricity network. So, SSE Telecoms began discussing with GE their capability for managing the telecoms network and evaluated Smallworld Network Inventory™ against other potential solutions.

“The Smallworld Network Inventory™ platform impressed us immediately not only with its capability to accurately manage the geographic position of the physical network assets but also its integrated view of the logical network resources, managing bandwidth and circuits,” commented Clive Hughes, Records Manager. “These integrated Smallworld™ applications provide a single truth view of the network to enable us to manage the existing network and its future expansion to support delivery of services to customers.”

Following their evaluation of the network inventory systems to best fulfil their requirements, SSE Telecoms selected the Smallworld™ system in the last quarter of 2009.

Smallworld™ Implementation at SSE Telecoms
The initial phase 1 of the project has been to implement specific applications from the Smallworld Network Inventory™ portfolio. These include the Smallworld Physical Network Inventory™ application along with Smallworld Network Inventory Gateway™. Smallworld Physical Network Inventory™ provides the capability to manage the physical network infrastructure, including all inside plant and outside plant components, whilst Smallworld Network Inventory Gateway™ provides company-wide access, along with 3rd party access, to this data via the intranet/internet.

The implementation of the project is being delivered by GE’s UK Professional Services team, who have developed a Smallworld Network Inventory™ ‘Quick Start’ service. This enables new customers to implement a fully functioning Smallworld Network Inventory™ system at a low cost and over a short time period, so they can quickly be up and running with the system.

The scope of the “Quick Start” service includes installation of the Smallworld Network Inventory™ software along with implementation and training. For SSE Telecoms, data migration was also included as part of the programme resulting in the following delivery as part of Phase 1:

  • Introduction of the Smallworld Network Inventory™ products
  • Training on the use and administration of the products
  • Migration of existing data sources into the new system
  • Configuration and customisation of the applications
  • “We needed a fast project startup and deployment to meet our delivery timescales,” Clive Hughes comments. “GE has surpassed these commitments already for the first phase of the project. The ‘go-live’ has already happened, a month in advance of the original agreed delivery date.”

    This initial delivery has taken 8 months to ‘go-live’. SSE Telecoms now have the Smallworld Network Inventory™ system already operational at their sites in Perth, Reading and Havant. The users are able to record their as-built physical assets deployed in the field, from cables and buildings down to the individual equipment ports. They can also plan future extensions to the network, against this as-built view, using the design tools within Smallworld Physical Network Inventory™.

    The second phase of the project includes the implementation of Smallworld Logical Network Inventory™. This manages the allocations of bandwidth in the network and the circuits that consume that capacity. Along with the integrated Physical Network Inventory™, SSE Telecoms will use this for planning their new services for customers as well as supporting their operational activities to assure the network.

    Mark Corney, Director of Operations explains “We’re moving towards our vision of an integrated service management solution, this entails integrating network inventory with real-time network management and trouble ticketing to streamline our operational management of the network. This will move us away from a reliance on manual processes and improve our efficiency.”

    For SSE Telecoms, Smallworld™ was implemented in a short timeframe to get users quickly operational with the software product enabling them to improve their business processes and provide better decision support around the management of the network.

    Users now have a more accurate view of what exists today in the network, how it is connected and what connections will be lost if an asset fails. In addition. they have faster access to information about assets, such as, when it was installed and when it reaches end of life. With the Smallworld Logical Network Inventory™ they will also be able to easily see how much capacity they have remaining in the network and the best use to make of that capacity, whilst planning new customer services.

    The Smallworld™ system provides greater consistency and accuracy to the process of managing network records at SSE Telecoms. They now have a consolidated and standard view of their data which any departments or users can get access to. It positions them well for growth as their network and customer base expands with no more reliance on manual processes and individual’s experience. Quality and efficiency improvements can be recognised through a systematic design and approvals process and operations processes are improved through faster identification and response time to network issues.



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