Alert Fatigue Causes Operational Disruption, Machine Learning Calms the Chaos

If you spend time digging into the Machine Learning offerings from vendors today in the Telecom Service Assurance space, you will see that many of these vendors are positioning for significant replacement of the existing Service Assurance tools that require a completely new user front-end. While this might sound enticing, it does not focus on solving the underlying issue that Network Operation Centers face today. Instead it creates a waste of resources.

Alert fatigue is real

When Tier 1 Network Operating Center (“NOC”) and/or Command Center technicians are asked to identify the biggest issues they face, some people are surprised that features and capabilities are not at the top of their list. Instead, NOC technicians place most importance on the concept of alert fatigue. They feel there is too much signal being ingested and represented within fault management and ticket queues for them to have a clear view of what’s real and what’s not.

Alert fatigue occurs when an NOC technician is exposed to a high number of frequent events (alerts) and becomes desensitized to them over a period of time. The concept of alert fatigue is not new and not specific to Network Operation Centers. It is a physiological phenomenon that plagues operators across many industries, including Service Assurance. It has been the focus of multiple studies which found that an increase in alerting decreases the likelihood of a technician responding in an effective and/or timely manner.