By: Steve Bamberger

Enterprises of all sizes are increasing their demands for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions to empower their businesses. The promise of better-integrated telecommunications and networking with leading-edge services has ignited a battle between Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and Multiple System Operators (MSOs) all vying to win the minds and business of enterprises. The increased competition is putting unprecedented demands on CSPs and MSOs to deliver solutions that meet their customers' needs on time and without errors.

The need to accelerate solution delivery while improving the quality of proposals is causing leading CSPs such as AT&T and Bell Canada to turn to solution management and lifecycle automation. By improving the requirements-to-order process, CSPs can effectively capture a customer's needs and rapidly turn requirements into winning solutions. A recent case study revealed compelling benefits of automating requirements-to-order processes including:

  • 20 to 40 percent productivity improvement—the customer-facing organization is able to handle more opportunities and respond to them faster.

  • 40% reduction in error rate—the proposed solutions are virtually error-free, ensuring flawless deployments.

  • Improved customer satisfaction—customers are much happier and trust their CSP to deliver tailored solutions that work as sold.

By investing in automation, CSPs can reduce the number of tools and handoffs in the lifecycle of an order. For example, AT&T successfully reduced the numerous tasks associated with creating complex, multi-vendor proposals for its customers. The requirements-to-order process involves many steps, which are simplified into the following 3 functions.

Baselining the Customer's Environment

Virtually all enterprises today have an existing network infrastructure, so new requirements cannot be evaluated in a vacuum. Getting an accurate view of the customer's environment can be time consuming and error prone. Automated discovery quickly identifies the customer's network elements and assesses what is required for a new proposal. This eliminates the need to rely on manual inspections or the customer's records and provides the most accurate baseline of the current environment. The diagram below shows an example of what an initial design might look like using manual processes.

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