Automating the telecoms industry
Telecommunications is a business in which change is a given: new products are continually being introduced, deregulation constantly rewrites the rules, existing players regularly forge new alliances and new entrants persistently fight their way in.
Essentially a business of complex, high volume processes, the telecommunications sector is faced with numerous challenges and market forces. Competition is forcing down tariffs, putting pressure on costs, while demand for fully converged fixed and mobile services is increasing. The unbundling of services is leading to increased interconnect billing and consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and demanding.
The only stable factor in this market, says Staffware South Africa MD, Mark Ehmke, is the constant state of change. "This demonstrates a clear and overwhelming need to increase cost-efficiencies and improve business processes," he believes.
"Business processes within the telecommunications industry are inherently very complex and involve very high volume transactions. From initiation through to completion, all processes must be consistent and capable of being monitored and audited.
"Because of this highly competitive and rapidly changing market, automated control is essential, but the challenge lies in providing automated support so that end-to-end business processes can be managed proactively. This would involve linking legacy applications from disparate functional areas," Ehmke says.
Automation is also essential to introduce new products and services rapidly, while maintaining the integrity of existing billing and ordering systems, retain customer loyalty, increase account penetration, control processes that cross organisational boundaries and harmonise processes following mergers or acquisitions.
Ehmke says the Staffware Order Management and Provisioning solution brings a sense of order to telecommunications service providers, forming the core infrastructure for all Operational Support Systems (OSS), in particular the processes of order handling, provisioning and customer care and billing. "Staffware provides the capability to manage all the links to billing, customer records, marketing, front office support, directory entry, service implementation, workforce management, network element modification and network management changes. This ensures that every part of these complex business processes is specified and consistent, that each step is monitored and that delays or problems are identified before the customer is aware of them.
"Furthermore, Staffware enables this to be done in such a way that a new service can be readily integrated with the existing processes and that any decision rules associated with the process, for example, discounting or pricing rules, can easily be changed.
"Staffware also protects the existing investment made in legacy systems, which, when working alongside existing applications, reduces costs. It`s inherent ability to integrate with applications as diverse as e-commerce, Customer Care and Billing (CCB), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and order network management ideally places Staffware`s solutions at the forefront of today`s enterprise, providing a completely automated end-to-end business process."