Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas,
Leveraging GIS to modernize OSS and BSS workflows and increase organizational efficiency
Randall René, MBA - Industry Solutions Specialist, Esri
I’ve worked with a wide variety of leaders and teams on the ground throughout our industry and one a common thread I see and hear, woven throughout the collective efforts of our industry, can be simply summarized as “the need to do more, with less people, faster than ever before”.
It’s no secret our industry faces numerous challenges and roadblocks as we work to connect people and companies to what’s important in their lives, and the challenges seem to evolve each day. Whether the challenge is in providing equitable access, delivering broadband deeper into rural communities, process and workflow improvements, unifying teams working remotely, network resiliency and sustainability, or one of a hundred other challenges, the need for communications service providers (CSPs) to evolve is critical to their success.
To overcome these challenges and ensure operational success, excellent customer experience, and employee satisfaction all while achieving financial goals, CSPs must digitally transform their business and adapt a flexible, agile, and streamlined way of working with their Operations and Business Support Systems (OSS and BSS). This is where a geographic approach founded in ArcGIS comes in. ArcGIS is perfectly suited for unifying OSS and BSS and serving as the third enterprise business system CSPs need for managing and operating modern telecommunication networks.
OSS and BSS workflows today
Throughout our industry, teams across every organization access information and data, network maps, reports, customer details, and countless other decision-making resources. Many of these OSS and BSS systems have customer user interfaces designed to interact with that system to produce reports, create or access maps, and serve as a resource for that one dataset.
These individual and purpose-built OSS and BSS platforms are essential to the organization but are often unable to integrate directly with other systems. Unfortunately, these far too often siloed, and incredibly expensive, OSS and BSS systems unintentionally add a high volume of technical debt to an organization’s processes and workflows. This often prevents teams from making real-time decisions and facilitating tasks simply and as quick as consumers would like them to be done.
In this environment when a potential customer call’s in for service availability at a new location and the representative does not have that address in their billing system, research must be done before providing information to the customer. Throughout our industry, a customer service representative (CSR) often puts a serviceability request into a job management platform. This request will travel from the CSR to one of many other teams for serviceability assessment. Ultimately, the answer can range from one day to many as the steps needed to respond accurately to the potential customer must be handed from one team to the next as the question is answered.
With many consumers considering broadband access on day one of their move in just as important as power, whoever can answer this question first will end up serving the customer. Ultimately, this is just one of many examples where legacy workflows can unintentionally cause a loss in revenue, drive consumer dissatisfaction, and frustrate employees. So, let’s look at how we can leverage a geographic approach to streamline this scenario.
A GEOGRAPHIC APPROACH WITH OSS AND BSS FOR MAJOR INITIATIVES
Throughout the world, senior leaders in the telecommunications industry are focused on quite a few major strategic initiatives aligned with environmental, organizational, or procedural needs of the business. While these initiatives vary slightly across regions and companies, the following six are common throughout the world: NextGen Network Management, Field Operations, Advanced Analytics, Innovative Products and Services, Modernizing OSS and BSS, and the Digital Divide.
Within each of these strategic initiatives exists the desire to gain improved understanding, perform deeper analysis of data, streamline workflows and eliminate roadblocks or time waste, increase revenue and maintain customers, provide real-time access to mobile workers, and deliver services deeper into the community. With each of these needs, ArcGIS and a geographic approach provides the information, insight, and engagement teams at all levels in a CSP need.
Since ArcGIS provides the ability to integrate and unify how teams reference and use information in their OSS and BSS platforms, CSPs can create custom configurable apps aligned to the specific needs of the front-line worker or the organizational leader. Teams can leverage ArcGIS Dashboards to communicate and display real-time status of region activities, construction projects, or customer satisfaction. The organization can streamline workflows and eliminate the need for manual manipulation or translation of data from one business system to the next and provide a seamless, real-time, environment delivering the same information, at the same time, across the organization.
Through the modernization of how the industry unifies and engages with OSS and BSS platforms, CSPs can truly transform their workflows and eliminate much of the technical debt legacy workflows provide. Organizations can maximize their capital and opportunity in their market, empower their existing teams through simplifying workflows and providing the best possible understanding before acting, while delivering and maintaining world class networks and excellent customer experience faster than ever before.
Modernizing how we work with OSS and BSS
Today, the industry can capitalize on the ability to streamline how organizations work with their OSS and BSS platforms by using ArcGIS as a unifying platform. What makes this possible is that ArcGIS is purpose built to integrate with any and all types of data and allows for both read only or read/write access to databases. Through leveraging this capability, organizations can provide a streamlined, purpose built, single pane of glass view user experience to teams throughout their organization and often eliminate the need to “swivel-chair” across multiple user interfaces.
How is this possible? Well everything CSPs do happens someplace, so we can leverage common thread of location and take a geographic approach to network management. Using ArcGIS, CSP can unify data contained in network maps, capacity metrics, customer details, weather, billing, workorders, and more, and create powerful and insightful layers of information designed to aide teams in analysis, strategic decision-making, and their daily tasks.
Let’s now look at our example of a customer calling in for service and see how a geographic approach can aide the CSR in customer engagement. With our network maps, existing parcel and customer data, address data, roadways, railroads, bridges, and many other data layers created in ArcGIS, the CSR can quickly answer the customer’s serviceability request. Throughout the industry, our customers leverage easily customizable and flexible WebApps to look up the desired location, assess network access including estimation of any potential construction costs and timelines, all within minutes…. not days.
This immediate and educated response to the customer’s request for service empowers the CSR to either ser up installation or provide a timeline for any potential construction needed. In this example, taking a geographic approach and providing a view of the field to the CSR eliminated time and expense across multiple teams, and the best possible outcome and potential to gain the customer’s business.
Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas,