Ten percent of provisioning errors will lead to truck rolls.

Accelerating the Requirements-to-Order Process

AT&T and Bell Canada are examples of CSPs that have shortened the time required to design complex solutions from days and weeks to hours while improving accuracy. They both use completely integrated, data-driven and rules-based automated solution management. Account teams easily move customers through an orderly process of requirements gathering, assessment, design, configuration, validation, quoting and proposal generation. The end-result is a solution that automatically generates:

  • Design diagrams that provide a network-level view and topology of the solution,

  • Bills of Material (BOMs) that provide an Excel-based list of equipment with CPE standard and non-standard elements (both new and existing equipment),

  • Design summaries for presentation to executives and business decision makers,

  • Detailed design documents that enhance collaboration among the various teams from ordering and provisioning to activation and billing, and

  • Customer-facing design documents that include the final list of services to be provided and a diagram of the proposed solution.

It starts with automated network discovery that enables account teams to quickly capture an accurate baseline of existing IP and SNMP-enabled devices in any network. The SNMP/SSH/Telnet-based audit and multi-vendor network discovery process generates intelligent graphical representations of existing network designs. Each component is an intelligent object, not just a graphical representation. For example, each component shows properties such as linking protocols and its actual physical size. The graphics show how the real-world network elements will behave in the implemented network.

Another case study showed that a North American Tier 1 CSP benchmarked their manual processes against their automated solution and proved that they shortened their requirements-to-order process and boosted sales productivity by 40% with the automated solution.

  Manual Automated
Current Ability to Scale 66-88 Bids 96-128 Bids
Average Time Interval 32 hours 18.5 hours
Average Design Change 9 hours 3.5 hours
Average Design Time w/Customer Changes 48.75 hours 27 hours

The Power of Lifecycle Automation

Without automating the requirements-to-order process, information required to complete designs and proposals is often dispersed and maintained in different formats. All of these manual processes allow inconsistencies to find their way into the solution design process. Through automation, CSPs achieve wide-ranging benefits including:
  • Freeing up senior engineers to work on more complex and profitable solutions,

  • Empowering employees with limited certifications and experience to handle simpler designs,

  • Reducing the number of configuration tools and non-integrated processes, resulting in the elimination of repetitive data entry and a significantly reduced potential for errors, and

  • Leveraging best practices and repeat successes by turning proven solutions into baseline templates for future use.

Whether creating or managing simple networks or providing complex unified communications, managed services, or advanced network-based solutions such as IP-VPN and MPLS, automation has delivered key improvements for CSPs who have embraced its use. Account teams are now able to rapidly present multiple options by creating different proposals "on-the-fly" as well as quickly producing "what if" scenarios to respond to changing needs. Automating solution management reduces the possibility of errors and speeds the identification of up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

Forward thinking CSPs like AT&T and Bell Canada are taking advantage of automated and integrated processes to gain a distinct competitive advantage. The efficiency of account teams is greatly improved, while costly design and quoting errors are virtually eliminated. Perhaps most important is the dramatic acceleration of solution design across a wide range of complex technologies—a critical success factor in today's increasingly complex customer-specific solutions. With the intensifying competition for enterprise business, providers who invest in automating the requirements-to-order process are poised to win the lion's share of the business and better respond to increased threats.

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