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The ins and outs of ensuring OSS/BSS software quality: a hands-on guide

The need for OSS/BSS’ flawless operation is undisputable, but how can we reach that goal? Inter alia, a1qa suggests focusing on delivering high software quality to the end users.
22 June 2023
Cybersecurity testing
Functional testing
General
Performance testing
The article by a1qa
a1qa

The article was published on a1qa’s LinkedIn.

The telecommunications industry has recently been undergoing a rapid change. In addition to rapid B2B telecom market growth, which is expected to reach $181.35 billion by 2030, a global shift to remote work and the increased load on networks has forced providers to rethink their value propositions. Are you one of them? Read on.

Meeting the growing demand for higher-speed networks, mitigating cybersecurity concerns, and migrating to the cloud top the list of requirements for satisfying end users. 

Considering that the forecasted number of mobile audiences globally is projected to increase and reach 7.49 billion in 2025, maintaining a high quality of service becomes an absolute must. Among other things, fast and properly functioning software serves this purpose.

That’s where OSS and BSS come into play. How can we ensure their sound functioning? What actions should be undertaken when upgrading to the latest version or switching to another provider? Welcome to a1qa’s practical guide for finding these answers.

WHY DO OSS/BSS AND QA SHOULD GO HAND IN HAND?

OSS and BSS help companies streamline daily activities, improve operational efficiency, and mitigate business risks.

Through OSS, telecom providers oversee diverse operations with networks such as planning, configuration, service delivery, and fault management. BSS is responsible for the interaction between telecom companies and their end users. This stack includes billing, subscriptions, CRM, and more.

Why do these systems require thorough screening?

Reason 1. The activities performed within their work are related to the processing of sensitive and personal data of end users, and often such databases possess millions of records. When migrating to a new billing solution, for instance, these extensive quantities of data must be transferred in full and without affecting the routine actions of subscribers.

Reason 2. When undergoing a digital transformation and following industry trends such as deploying edge computing for increased bandwidth and low latency or switching to 5G for accelerated connection speed, chances are high that their overall complexity will place a burden on telecom providers.

Reason 3. Need-driven quality assurance makes the process of attaining business goals less complicated — 93% of service providers stated that it positively affects customer satisfaction and decreases the outflow of their subscriber base.

QA and software testing eases the process of modernizing digital solutions, ensures boosted cybersecurity and performance, and allows for wise allocation of budgets as QA consulting and analysis helps to accurately define the pool of necessary verifications.

TOP 10 TESTING TYPES TO ENABLE SOUND OSS/BSS OPERATION

1. Performance testing

You definitely need both server-side and client-side performance checks to make sure that OSS/BSS can cope with the required load, an ever-increasing number of transactions, simultaneous users, or to verify that the systems can be easily scaled up or down, depending on the changing project requirements.

For instance, an international telecom operator serving more than 60 million subscribers globally was to migrate to a new billing system which must withstand the load that was previously distributed between 25 solutions. They relied on us, and we opted to make a load testing methodology audit by examining the architecture of complex documents, analyzing both scripts and load generators, as well as monitoring the load, system status, and equipment during testing. This approach helped identify more than 100 bottlenecks that could negatively impact software throughput. Thereby, overall customer experience improved, contributing to the increased loyalty of end users.

2. Functional testing

OSS and BSS must operate in compliance with business requirements without any issues, the systems must seamlessly fulfill diverse operations with customer accounts, manage inventory, generate bills, and much more. For that reason, the QA engineers carry out different functional testing verifications — from smoke to acceptance checks — and verify separate software parts as well as the entire system.

Have a look at this example: a global distributor of telecom IT solutions for service providers, telecom operators, and their partners had a business goal to improve the quality of a convergent billing and customer service system, a comprehensive self-service system, and an integration platform.

What did we do? We developed test models and test strategy, functional tests, performed testing of new software versions, and ensured proper work of the high-priority functionality related to joining subscribers from multiple locations into groups for providing discounts on monthly communication fees.

In half a year, the company released sound functionality to the market with no defects detected during the acceptance testing.

3. Cybersecurity testing

OSS/BSS systems operate with personal users’ data and money transfer. So, it’s important to identify vulnerabilities, assess probable damage if there are security breaches, and confirm that the encryption of data at rest and in transit works fine, restricting access to information and diverse systems within OSS/BSS stack operates properly.

For that, task your QA engineers to perform penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, static code analysis, and other high-priority verifications. They will help minimize the risk of external attacks and save costs as defects will be detected at the earliest SDLC stages.

Also, companies’ IT teams must always accurately manage patches to have the latest security updates.

4. Regression testing

During the development process, a minor functionality tweak can cause unexpected software behavior and even critical failures. To make certain that recent changes and defect fixing haven’t broken well-working OSS/BSS parts, embed regression testing in the primary SDLC stages and check any functionalities that relate to introduced changes or fixed issues.

To decrease pre-release testing time on large-scale projects, speed up time-consuming, routine verifications, increase test coverage, and spot issues earlier in the development process, apply automated testing.

As an example, a provider of cloud-based software for inbound, outbound, blended, and omnichannel contact centers reduced huge technical debt consisting of 3,000 voluminous test cases with our test automation support.

5. Integration testing

The OSS/BSS stack is comprehensive and consists of multiple modules — inventory systems, documentation and reporting software, and other parts. To verify that these components smoothly integrate with each other and the entire telecom solution as well as that data is seamlessly transferred between them, utilise system integration testing using a big bang, top-down, bottom-up, or hybrid approach.

Read the full article here and delve deeper into the other 5 testing types that are instrumental in guaranteeing a top-notch OSS/BSS system.

If you’re ready to ensure high quality of your OSS/BSS system with professional QA support, contact a1qa’s team.

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