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Real-Time Telecom Network Inventory Management for a Better Customer Journey

18 November 2021
Peter van Hartingsveld

Trusted by:

Telecom Egypt
BC Hydro


National Grid
Open Fiber
TPX Communications
Ella Link
Red Iris
Surf Net

Telecom inventory management is an essential requirement for offering an automated, seamless customer experience. VC4 can help you to regain control over your asset and inventory management.

Effective telecom network inventory management helps deliver a better customer experience – and reduces friction

Providing a positive customer experience can have a significant beneficial impact on customer loyalty. In the telco industry, that translates into reduced churn, improved brand perception and it increases the likelihood that a customer will not only retain their subscription but will also be more open to purchasing additional services and features.

Excellent customer experience and brand perception also has a positive impact on employee recruitment and, ultimately, competitive advantage. But, what does providing an optimised customer experience mean for telcos in practice?

Excellent customer experience and brand perception also has a positive impact on employee recruitment and, ultimately, competitive advantage. But, what does providing an optimised customer experience mean for telcos in practice?

Optimised customer experience requires consideration of the complete lifecycle

In reality, it requires consideration of the complete customer lifecycle, which can be summarised as:

  • Acquisition
  • Onboarding
  • Retention
  • Upselling

Today, this requires minimising friction at each point and accelerated operations – specifically, it entails adding real-time capabilities (people expect things to happen seamlessly, without delay and without friction). In turn, providing real-time capabilities depends on effective automation between processes.

Traditionally, operations have been subject to points of friction, which often occur at the intersections of the four pillars of the customer lifecycle (listed above) and which can impact and disrupt the customer experience. Automation of processes and operations helps to eliminate these points of friction and create a seamless, zero-touch process and customer experience.

The diagram[1] below provides a helpful summary of the processes and creative thinking that telcos need to embrace in order to improve the customer experience – and to eliminate points of friction – and also highlights key areas of concern that need to be addressed.

vc4 ims data management

Effective data management is key to improving customer experience

As can be seen, effective data management is essential to this goal. It spans all functions and, of course, data is required for all related processes. However, in this context, it also means that silos of data can impede process flow and create unwanted friction. Enter telecoms inventory management.

Telecoms inventory management provides real-time information on network resources and assets – service components (logical and virtual), as well as on the physical assets that are required to support them, and their location. What’s more, it brings together data silos so that different data sets can be made accessible and retrieved by processes that need them.

Let’s think about this data for a moment. Consider a leased line to a specific customer office located in a typical city or town. The line has a physical path, covering the route to the office, and links the building to the network junction. The link – which may be a fibre – terminates at a specific point, such as a cabinet in the street. Up to this point, it’s passive, but beyond the cabinet, back into the core, it’s probably based on active fibre technology.

To put it in more detailed terms, there’s the OLT or Optical Line Terminal in the street and the ONT, the Optical Network Terminal, located on the premises. Each of these has its own capacity, because while the ONT serves a single customer or building, the OLT may serve many. Each network may have millions of ONTs, but fewer OLTs – and so on.

We won’t worry here about the full end-to-end architecture (you can read about that here), but what matters is that this is just one of thousands of groups of similar data. We’ve used a fibre connection as an example, but it could be a mobile cell (RAN) site, with all the associated infrastructure, assets and interconnections. And there’s the additional infrastructure necessary for the fronthaul, midhaul and backhaul domains. And so on.

Of course, this is just the physical layer. All of this supports services – delivered through fixed connections to residential and business customers, as well as, in the case of an operator with mobile assets, wirelessly to different customer groups. So, services need to be associated with customer data as well as physical infrastructure that delivers them. In turn, these also extend to logical service elements – of particular interest as we move towards logically separated network slices.

Phew. When you bring all of these together, that’s a huge amount of data to manage, as Charlotte Patrick has made clear. Imagine the friction that this can create across the service and customer lifecycle? There’s no escaping the conclusion: telcos need to know each element. This is essential, so you can activate, amend, bill, add new services and so on. And, you also need to understand how to assure the service once it’s delivered.

A single source of data from VC4

So, what’s needed is a single source of data. In other words, an inventory. And, this needs to be available at real, or near real-time, so that any processes that impact the service (ordering new capacity, increasing the available data speed, for example) can be effected as quickly as possible and with minimal need for human intervention.

While this can be a challenge, it’s clearly essential. Telecom inventory management is an absolute necessity for telcos looking to run automated processes and deliver the new levels of customer experience required.

That’s what we offer. VC4-IMS provides a complete, single source of data to support the entire customer lifecycle journey, at every point, helping you to deliver effective, real-time network inventory management and, in turn, to unlock new levels of performance and provide an optimised customer experience.

VC4’s telecom network planning and inventory software enables you to regain full control over your network inventory management and asset management. Our inventory management system (IMS) offers the capability to manage both active and passive networks, and can keep track of both physical and logical network data, allowing you manage the complete lifecycle of any telecommunications asset.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you to regain control over your asset and inventory management, and ultimately, enhance levels of customer experience.