Saturday, November 22, 2008

Taking the Back Office to 2020

This week I posted an article about a survey that showed how far mobile operators and mobile ISPs have to go to realize the potential in their subscriber information data bases. This is only one aspect of what has to happen to move back office systems to be ready for 2020.

The major goal for all Telcos has to be to dramatically increase efficiency. This will require that Telcos move to self-service and mechanized, if not automated, service fulfillment. They have to get humans out of the loop with systems that permit customers to order services on line and then to have them automatically installed using web-based customer portals.

As operators start providing GigE fiber connections or LTE wireless services, they will be providing access capabilities with spare capacity. The user may order a 50 Mbps Internet data service over a GigE link or a 1 Mbps wireless service. A web-based portal should be available that permits the subscriber to upgrade the 50 Mbps FTTH service to 100 Mbps or the 1 Mbps wireless service to 2 Mbps. The back office system can accept the order and implement while the subscriber is at the web portal placing the order.

Another area where significant efficiencies can be realized is in service assurance. By 2020 there will have to be agents that permit the operator to monitor, trouble shoot, and modify the configuration of devices on home networks or wireless handsets. These systems should proactively search for problems and fix them even before the customer becomes aware of them. This should automated as much as possible and mechanized at a minimum.

These kind of tools will enable the Telcos to offer a much broader variety of complex services and keep them operating correctly with less resource than they put into it today. The goal will be to eliminate the use of call centers, except for quite exceptional cases.

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