This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Mandeep S Kwatra of Prodapt
As fiber operators fiercely compete for the top spot, they must constantly improve their operations while maintaining costs and ensuring seamless customer service. However, 60% of all corporate six sigma initiatives fail to deliver lasting results. We observed that many fiber operators still rely on traditional operations improvement activities performed on a one-time or on-demand basis translating to a short-term benefit only. Also, these activities must cope with the dynamic fiber environment.
As a result, fiber operators suffer from various challenges, like the inability to meet coverage targets on time, overshooting budgets, and delays in service delivery. Despite a lean operating model, they fail to sustain continuous improvement, resulting in poor customer experience, investment spikes, and unsustainable strategies.
It is imperative that fiber operators shift from a status quo to a continuous improvement culture. They must embed a Value-Driven Continuous Improvement (VDCI) function into their organization’s structure to instill a culture of constant advancement, reduce OpEx, and stay ahead of the competition.
Enable VDCI across your organization by following these four critical stages: Discovery, Formulation, Execution, Evaluation
Adopt a unified data-driven analysis approach below to identify gaps/opportunities across fiber functions and proactively address issues.
Identify and collect:
Gather data from multiple functions and understand the as-is fiber processes to build a use case repository, e.g., jeopardy management, technician dispatches, etc. Identify tracking parameters like KPIs/SLAs and benchmark the fiber process through detailed assessments.
Perform unified data-driven analysis:
- Process mining: Use tools like Celonis to discover gaps, monitor and improve processes, fiber journeys, system integration, etc.
- Predictive modeling using AI/ML: Use historical data to proactively predict and resolve issues (like network monitoring/failures)
- Business process analysis: Use tools like Aris, Signavio, and Oracle BPM to create, manage and analyze end-to-end business processes
- Identify improvement opportunities and potential issues, and address issues before they impact the customer
- Create baseline metrics to track progress
- Analyze the impact of operational gaps with Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
- Perform data validation with stakeholders
- Determine the ROI
Formulate change initiatives, prioritizing the opportunities/key areas and solution needs of fiber.
Prioritize identified opportunities:
- Use key lenses like strategic alignment, ROI, customer experience, regulatory
- Perform risk Assessment- Credit Risk, Data security, Operational risk
Identify and plan for the change initiatives:
- Check for the best solution- Conduct workshops and sit-by sessions with business owners and experts to give the best solution options. Consider key elements like investments, cost benefits, and implementation timelines to shortlist the solution
- Classify solutions into tactical IT, people and process, and strategic IT changes to ensure a holistic transformation. Further, create a RACI matrix for clear communication and smooth workflows across teams like the order desk, Technical Service Centre (TSC), Network Operations Centre (NOC), etc.
Figure 1: Solution categories
- Define the ‘To-Be’ process – Use tools like Aris, BPM, Visio, and Signavio to showcase the desired ‘To-Be’ process post-implementation
- Get signoffs from stakeholders
Implement change initiatives to adopt fiberization goal changes rapidly.
- Prepare and empower your organization to embrace changes with proper change management and business readiness. Prioritize business readiness over solution implementation. Adoption of most change initiatives fail/get delayed/lose impact due to lack of business readiness
- Implement, document, and track change initiatives
Figure 2: Implementation of change initiatives
Check the progress of change by continuously monitoring the solution and its expected benefits.
- Extract data insights to compare pre- and post-implementation data
- Check if the desired changes are incorporated in the data
- Analyze KPIs and metrics to ensure that changes are moving in the correct direction
- Dedicate a team to track the benefits
- Allow the solution to stabilize
- Derive the actual numbers pertaining to realized benefits
- Link benefits to the operation and strategic value levers
- Conduct retrospective calls with the stakeholders to present the cost benefits/value leakage
- Create a feedback loop to assess the realized benefits and identify gaps for course correction and new opportunities to add to the backlog
Figure 3: Value diagram and sample KPIs
- Get the sign-on and sign-off for the desired vs. actual cost benefits from the business teams
- Use data querying tools (like SQL/Python scripts) for data extraction and analysis
- Create automated dashboards for periodic reporting and monitoring
- Define and follow the timeline for value-tracking. The recommended timelines are:
- Stabilization period: 1-2 weeks
- Periodic calculation of actual benefits: 2-3 months
- Retrospective calls with stakeholders: every 2 weeks
- Track actual benefits for 1 year
Integrating the VDCI function into fiber operations can bring about a transformative culture of continuous improvement, resulting in a 15% reduction in operating costs, improved KPIs, and elevated customer experience.
I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues Jayanthi Kalyanasundaram, Sonal Suryavanshi, Viraj Rajan Vyawahare, and Deesha Chaware for their contributions and continuous support in compiling this article.
Mandeep S Kwatra, Consulting Partner
Mandeep is a consulting partner at Prodapt, specializing in strategic advisory and transformations. He has over 30 years of experience in the Telecom, Media, and Consultancy domains; his focus has been on Business Process and Operations Transformation consulting & delivering programs. He is active in industry forums, publishing and speaking at events like TMForum, IEEE, CII, etc. He also has a patent on “Method and System for Implementing a Collaborative Customer Service Model” to his name.
Prodapt’s customers range from telecom operators, digital/multi-service providers (D/MSPs), technology, and digital platform companies in Connectedness. Prodapt builds, integrates, and operates solutions enabling next-generation technologies and innovations. Prodapt services global leaders, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Adtran, Vodafone, Liberty Global, Windstream, Virgin Media, Rogers, and Deutsche Telekom, among many others. Prodapt’s customers help more than a billion people and five billion devices stay connected.
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