Service providers actively seek to accelerate their growth by capturing the untapped market. And to do so, they have two options:
- On-net Services: For E2E network infrastructure, control and service provisioning, which takes longer
- Off-net Services: For efficient and inexpensive customer acquisition at a faster pace
Today, off-net service is common among service providers for reasons like national coverage, limited metro circuits, and low OpEx and CapEx. However, service providers must lease network infrastructure from a partner service provider to provision services.
A leading full fiber operator in the UK states that 50% of their total revenue comes from off-net services. And such is the case with most service providers, which gives an upper hand to off-net services strategy.
However, service providers face several challenges in providing off-net services due to their dependency on partner providers.
- Integration with multiple partner service providers is complex, time-consuming (18+ months for each integration), and expensive
- Lack of visibility into the partner service provider’s network leads to disjointed operations
- Lack of transparency across E2E process management, which requires multiple follow-ups
- Increased Tail order processing cycle time (i.e., order processing time by partner service provider)
- Significant manual processes owing to the dependency on the partner service provider
- Lack of standardized processes and no unified way of handling the given order/case
These challenges lead to a 40% increase in the cost of operations, poor customer experience, and high reworks and workflow compilations due to multiple touchpoints.
Service providers must transform their off-net services using the off-net process orchestration framework. It acts as a central orchestrator to bridge the gap between service providers and partner service providers. It provides visibility into the partner service provider’s operations, eliminating repeat follow-ups and improving customer service.
The four key ingredients of the framework are: Simplified interface aggregation, Unified task orchestration, Point-to-point ticketing, Off-net SLA governance, and reporting.
- Simplified interface aggregation
Aggregate, standardize, and simplify onboarding with multiple off-net service providers seamlessly at optimum cost, leveraging an aggregated integration platform like OpenFibreXchange (OFX)- Link and its API and Portal, which offer a marketplace model for “Any service provider to engage any off-net service provider to deliver services across any region.”
- Leverage Build Once Use Anywhere model
- Use a postcode/zip code and address-based search to find operators to establish a pan-national presence and reduce CapEx and OpEx
- Adopt TMF Open API standards-based interface in OFX for seamless integration
- Train the operations team on a single standardized process across all off-net partner service providers
- Take advantage of the OFX portal’s dashboard for a 360° customer view
- Track all orders and faults to proactively manage jeopardy and accelerate partner onboarding
Using OFX, service providers can reduce integration timelines from 18 to 6 months.
2.Unified Task Orchestration
Use the Unified Task Orchestration Platform (UTOP) to enable transparency across off-net operations with end-to-end process management.
Step 1: Redesign and standardize processes through analysis and innovation
- Re-engineer workflow changes to effectively communicate with partner service providers
- Review upstream and downstream processes for automation using RPA, AI, etc.
Step 2: Establish the UTOP using pre-built process maps and perform required customizations
- Leverage pre-built provisioning & assurance process map for network sharing aligned to eTOM
- Customize process maps as required
Step 3: Integrate partner service provider systems/applications using pre-built connectors
- Build UTOP with pre-built connectors for integrations with key systems
- Integrate service provider and partner service provider’s processes using OFX to facilitate seamless operations
Step 4: Automate processes using pre-built automation accelerators
- Leverage the repository of automation accelerators (bots, scripts) to enable self-operating processes
- Customize the existing off-net process bots to accelerate process automation
3. Point-to-point ticketing
Establish self-service and integrate the same with the existing partner service provider portal
- Standardize and streamline Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) based resolution. Constantly update the Known Error Database (KEDB) and improve additional resolution by Technical Service Center (TSC)
- Enable self-service for customers’ issues, including guided troubleshooting
- Manage issue logs through Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) tools such as SNOW, Jira, etc.
The self-service portal effectively resolves 60% of issues, reducing agent efforts by 35%.
4. Off-net SLA governance and reporting
Track SLAs with automated notifications to partner service providers and perform penalty management
Automated Operational Level Agreements (OLA) monitoring through UTOP
- Configure OLAs for automated tracking, notification, and escalation to the partner service provider
- Predict potential SLA misses and push to the partner service provider for manual follow-up
Penalty management and bill updates to the Finance team
- Configure penalty clauses with financial impact in UTOP for automated penalty calculation and share them with the Finance team every month
- Predict revenue leakages due to delays from the partner service provider
Automated communication enabling transparency
- Use automated communication to share issue status updates and possible pitfalls for issues with the end customers
- Proactively enable customer notifications and self-check on the service delivery status
With the successful implementation of the off-net process orchestration framework, service providers in the Connectedness industry can achieve:
- 41% reduction in the Tail order processing cycle time
- 56% reduction in operations cost
- 29% increase in the conformance of OLAs with the partner service provider
- 3X faster integration with partner service providers
I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues Sabharinath S, Richard Abraham, Sriram Balasubramanian, and Deesha Chaware, for their contributions and continuous support in writing this article.
Rajesh Khanna has 20+ years of experience in the IT/ITES/Telecom Industry and leads Hyperautomation & Process Consulting focusing on Automation and Transformation projects for DSPs. He is a certified Lean practitioner and ISO auditor and has led process transformation initiatives through lean six sigma methodologies, automation, and kaizen. Rajesh is instrumental in streamlining and optimizing operations by implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Hyperautomation solutions.
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.