BT drives data to improve fulfillment and save millions

Annie Turner
Billing and OSS Supplement

It was a major regulatory shift that forced BT into considering how best it could replace its 20-year-old OSS customer premises equipment (CPE) product line fulfillment system. It seized the opportunity to increase its right-first-time fulfillment rate in the interests of potentially saving hundreds of millions of dollars a year and greatly improving customer satisfaction.

The key is data driven processes generated outside the OSS, so that changes can be made quickly without recoding or retesting, or destabilizing the OSS itself.

Regulation was the driver

In 2005, after Ofcom's Strategic Telecom Review, BT gave Ofcom an number of undertakings (legally binding assurances) to avoid being referred to the Competition Commission, one of whose options was to split BT up. The main thrust of BT's undertakings was that it would divide its organization up to address multiple markets, ensuring that the divisions' dealings with each other were transparent and not on more favourable terms than with any other service provider.

BT established Openreach in 2006 to oversee the maintenance of its national network and the installation of new infrastructure. It remains part of BT, but was fenced off from the rest of the organization with its own headquarters and staff in the interests of giving all telecom service providers fair and equal access to BT's infrastructure.

Obviously this had big implications for BT's internal systems and processes. For example, it posed a problem for the OSS customer premises equipment (CPE) product line fulfillment system as it was used by both Openreach and BT Global Services, which was no longer allowed. BT decided to move Global Services' CPE product line onto a new system.

The CPE product line generates revenues of ?00 million per year and handles hundreds of orders every day. The product line includes more than 20,000 items, embracing everything from phones, fax machines and cables to Meridian switches for call centers and bank trading rooms. The product line is far from static - last year BT added more than 2,000 new products or modified versions of existing items.

BT opted to build its new OSS around Oracle Communications' Order and Service Management (OSM) solution. This was partly because BT had signed an enterprise-wide licensing deal with Oracle the previous year, so it wouldn't have to pay licensing fees, a big saving. Also, the project team, headed up by Jim Peters, BT Design, chief architect of service fulfillment and workflow platforms, wanted to build an end-to-end stack and the CRM, through which orders are placed, was built on Siebel software. Oracle acquired Siebel in 2005.

The system's main build-out was undertaken in three 90-day cycles and was scheduled to go live this fall. Since Ofcom relaxed the time limit for BT to carry out its functional separation of systems, resources have been switched to address more pressing needs.

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