Getting service provisioning right is a key objective of CSPs, as getting it wrong is costly. Processing a service provisioning request unsuccessfully or incorrectly causes additional rework to identify, diagnose and fix the issue; lost revenue while the issue is not fixed; and dissatisfied customers. Even getting it right can be costly if it’s done too slowly.
Cortex’s customers have deployed the intelligent automation project to transform their service provisioning activities, and by doing so have realised transformational benefits. In one instance, Cortex was able to turn a loss-making service into a profitable one; in another, Cortex tripled the service revenue for an operator; and in a third, provisioning times were slashed from weeks to minutes.
But operators have seen additional benefits too. A more consistent application by Cortex of business and technical policies has meant a more standardised service configuration on the network equipment. This has meant both better utilisation of expensive network assets, and faster and more automated problem resolution when required. By using Cortex to automate their interactions with third-party ‘last-mile’ providers – even unstructured interactions via email – one customer was able to increase the number of potential last-mile providers by more than 3000%, giving them both lower-cost and geographically-larger options for their services, all without needing to hire additional staff.
Enterprise SIP Service Design and Assign
Our customer used to have an entirely manual process for provisioning SIP trunks for their enterprise customers. The order was initially entered into an Excel spreadsheet, and then underwent an initial data validation process to catch obvious data errors. The order had to pass through three different departments during the design and assign process, one department for each type of equipment used to deliver the service. Each department would receive the spreadsheet, update it with their information, and then pass it on to the next one. The spreadsheet would be updated with the physical and logical resources assigned within the department, from the inventory managed by the department. Each department would use a different mechanism to maintain inventory, from spreadsheets to documents. Once all departments had processed the order, it underwent a second quality check before being issued for activation.
Not only was this an overly long process – orders would sometimes take weeks to pass through – it was extremely fragile and error-prone. At activation, it was often found that assigned resources were no longer available because between the time of the resource being allocated and it being activated, a higher priority order had been processed which had used the resource instead. A team of 30 people was required to diagnose and resolve the activation fallouts that occurred. Customers were extremely unhappy with the level of service, and the operator was losing money.
Cortex was deployed to automate the design and assign process. Orders were entered into a Cortex GUI, and order data was validated for both format and consistency at order-entry time. No initial order validation was required. A simple inventory system was implemented within Cortex, and the business and technical rules for each department were implemented in Cortex. The second quality governance step was maintained as a tool to build trust and confidence in the engineers that Cortex was doing the work correctly. This was swiftly removed once the accuracy and quality of the Cortex intelligent automation were proven.
The introduction of Cortex reduced the time to process orders from weeks down to minutes. The accuracy of the Cortex output enabled the operator to reduce their activation fallout team from 30 down to 5. And customer satisfaction increased as they were getting the services they’d ordered when they needed them.
Faster time to revenue; lower rework costs; and happier customers all contributed in turning around what had been a loss-making service into a profitable one.
IPVPN Service Provisioning
A North American service provider used manual activities for enterprise IPVPN service provisioning. They were suffering long order processing times, high error rates and dissatisfied customers. Orders were processed on a first-come, first-served basis by the manual order provisioning team. This often caused minor changes to get caught behind the processing of large orders, resulting in unacceptable times to process the order.
Cortex was introduced to replace the manual processing activities, with objectives to increase the order processing capacity, to improve accuracy and reduce order fallout, and to reduce the cost of order delivery. An exception-based operating environment is deployed, meaning that the Cortex Intelligent Automation will autonomously process every order, but will reach out for manual assistance in exceptional circumstances.
More than 60% of orders were processed completely autonomously by the Cortex Intelligent Automation solution following the implementation of the first phase. Average transaction processing times were reduced by more than 90%, and order capture accuracy was improved to 100%. At the same time, lead time for order processing was eliminated: all orders were processed as soon as they were received. With Cortex able to process each site in an IPVPN order concurrently, processing times for orders for large IPVPNs (more than 10,000 sites) were slashed to be the time for the most complex site. Average call handling times (AHT) for order submissions were reduced by more than 94%.
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