Disruption has become a way of life for the Telecommunications Industry.
New technologies in addition to regulatory changes are pouring into the industry at an unprecedented pace - forcing Carriers, CSPs, Operators, and Equipment providers into a “new normal” mode of operation just to keep-up with customer expectations. However, to be successful, business has to be about more than just keeping even. Expansion through acquisitions, organic extensions, and system/network upgrades create a mesh of disparate systems that make reliability of service a daily challenge.
Information required to manage new and often complex bundle offerings live in disparate, or often 3rd party partner systems. Networks are provisioned, usage is measured, and outage communication is patchworked throughout the ecosystem. This leaves customer support teams with the difficult task of trying to answer customer inquiries. But inevitably, they have to pass the customer to engineering groups that are specialists related to the required information that is in a silo system. Providing excellent customer support is imperative today when a nasty message on social media can blow-up quickly, creating a lasting reputation issue for the company.
With so many facets to the telecom industry; the information flow between divisions, regions or simply between operations and sales can become muddled. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capabilities have matured and now with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning embedded in the platforms, many groups can realize integration efficiency and improved quality with a very low barrier to entry. Better employee and customer experiences reduce friction and enhance relationships by offloading mundane or time-consuming tedious work to robots while humans can do what they do best – be human.
Challenging to manage incident reports, alarms, engineering requests, and inquiries from disparate sources.
Difficult to reach or aggregate 3rd party data, either in real time or batch migration once companies are merged post M&A.
Disparate diagnostics, network availability, share management, and planning/provisioning systems create a lot of busy-work to get the whole story.
Subscriptions, contract updates, inventory management, rates/bundles, and provisioning require the same data entered into multiple systems.
Through the multitude of M&A activities in the telecom space it’s likely that customer, provisioning, and billing information will live in disparate systems. This forces customer self-help, and even contact center agents to navigate through a hodgepodge of systems in order to get the right information. This is time consuming and diminishes both the employee and customer satisfaction.
RPA offers a non-invasive way to access or even update the various systems without costly and risky deep-system integration. Robots can work in parallel with the agent, or provide the customer with self-service options—creating a quick path to handle the simple items, while reserving human time for more complicated and specialized assistance.
The network operations center (NOC) is the hub that tracks all incidents, traffic, capacity and alerts that need to be classified and categorized by severity and impact to operations. The NOC is responsible for identifying and mitigating risks to performance and overall up-time. Robots can add another set of eyes and hands to help with the identification and even elimination of alerts/alarm false positives. Diagnostic tests and escalation/assignment for true issues help to streamline operations, improve quality of service, and reduce busy-work for NOC engineers.
This has become especially important as Covid-19 has impacted the supply chain in different ways. It is critical to business continuity that gaps are quickly identified and filled to ensure product deliverability with minimal cost/time impact.
The disruption in the telecom industry has created a lot of opportunity for small shops, resellers, or even franchises to offer services on the backs of the carriers. This is appealing from a revenue and customer acquisition standpoint, but adds additional layers and more/disparate systems requiring skilled employees to access billing, provisioning, and customer data.
Robots can provide this access while offering a layer of obfuscation to the master systems by capturing the required information and performing the data entry at the system level without direct human access. This mitigates the access risk while maintaining a level of self-service for the reseller. Even systems with closed APIs or complicated integration mechanisms can be accessed by the Robot from the user console. Effectively, this simplifies maintenance and expedites the onboarding for new partners.
Tracking new inventory, returns, repairs, samples, and out-of-service equipment through various systems can easily become a full-time job as volumes of data need to be aggregated between stores/districts and various geographies. Reducing the “cost of carry” for materials and equipment is a key initiative that many Telcos struggle with today. Robots are very good at following an established process, at specified periods in order to lessen the need for humans to deal with the monotony of data collection/aggregation. The equipment or parts check in/out process varies between sites and the effort to re-engineer the process would be daunting.
Enter RPA where the data collection and aggregation can be streamlined, with faster and more accurate results with less overhead cost. Improving visibility for “which part lives where” can improve overall utilization and streamline audit/reconciliation efforts.
Manage multiple alarm/alert system inputs, alarm detail reporting, notifications and auto-dispatching, incident tracking and proactive communications to stakeholders, field engineers form ingestion/entry, parts tracking, inventory updates, critical parts management, contract/maintenance form digitization and auto-completion.
Partner system integration, data entry/extract, batch system migrations, parallel system processing/updates, customer onboard/transitions, billing and bundle management.
Network deployments, setup/provisioning script management, capacity and usage threshold management, network planning and viability metric management, SCADA and remote monitoring, workflow automation with dispatch.
Customer 360º view, reduce data double entry, gather coverage/rates/regulatory data from disparate systems, enhance self-service capabilities, reduce average call handle time for contact centers, provide consolidated outage/incident status, streamline repair/replacement services, and improve provisioning and customer setup experiences.
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