Through an aggressive merger and acquisition phase, one of the broadband industries largest Multi‐System Operators (MSO), found themselves needing help in systematically migrating their subscriber billing and workforce automation systems. To reach this goal, the client enlisted the help of experts at Cliintel to both maintain service levels as well as improve efficiency in the field.
The MSO was the world’s largest provider of cable television, high‐speed internet and local telephone service to 14 markets across the United States.
The Business Issue
The Atlanta market consisted of over 100 dispatchers and over 500 technicians, all serving 600,00+ subscribers. This market utilized multiple groups of contractors to assist in field installations, service and audit functions. Atlanta was also the last of nine markets to be on an older, outgoing Workforce Management tool. Severe contractual penalties were associated with an extensive data center being kept on‐line to support these tools. If the system was not shut off within 60 days from project initiation, the previously pro‐rated cost to the market would exceed $1 million a month. The problem was particularly precarious in this case because the Atlanta market division of the MSO was highly dependent on the outgoing system that was actively utilized by the routers, dispatchers and field technicians.
The Atlanta market’s staff had grown accustomed to change and transition. The decision to utilize Cliintel was based upon the team’s ability to execute the project plan utilizing the best practices identified from lessons learned from the prior deployments to successfully overcome the risks and issues brought to bear during the implementation. The urgency to sunset the old system and avoid the associated costs was extreme, mandating that the deployment of the new solution be on time, on budget, and fully available in production. It also had to be deployed with performance reporting and cost/benefit trending analysis capabilities.
Discovery meetings were held by the project team to gather information from the market’s staff, vendors and management. The meetings engaged upper management in making high‐level decisions on configuration, and to gain buy‐in. Meetings between upper and middle management were held to assess criteria for these two levels and to achieve goal alignment Due to the success of this migration, increases in the efficiency of in‐house labor allowed for the reduction of contract labor, allowing the MSO to realize an immediate profit of over $5 million, with a gross savings of over $300,000 in the first 90 days between upper and middle management. Finally, meetings were held with front‐end users and supervisory staff. The goal of the meetings was to properly size the level of effort required to deploy the work force automation platform into this system across the four key departments: routing, dispatch, field technicians, and administrative. Normally, training was held in a phased format utilizing one team of trainers to work through each department. In this instance, training was required in parallel in a “just‐in‐time” fashion. This approach required exacting coordination between the project management staff, market staff from dispatch, routing and field supervisors and both the corporate and market training staffs. Coordination would also have to occur in parallel with the wireless hardware and service provider, as well as the vendor for the work force automation platform itself. The field, including that day’s routing, dispatch and all phone, radio and internet communication, would have to make a hard cut from the old workforce automation system, cellular phone and radio, to one handheld device in the same day. Technicians would hand in their hand held device on their way into training and leave to deliver their portion of the day’s production, with a new handheld device, having been qualified as proficient ‐ all in the same shift.
Cliintel was highly successful in coordinating the entire span of this endeavor and moved from field service to implementation and utilization by the network maintenance and outage dispatch teams. The rapid implementation schedule throughout the affected departments, and fast utilization of the handheld devices were attributable to unwavering executive sponsorship with consistent reinforcement. Logical, focused processes helped to achieve buy in, goal‐alignment, and participation in training and meetings where the players were able to see the commitment from upper management. If resistance was noted, issues could be addressed on the spot and be immediately resolved. The solution was deployed on time and under budget. All departments were successfully using the new system on day one. The outgoing product was smoothly replaced and the client was able to shut down the data center without incurring the $1 million per month penalty. Due to the success of this migration, increases in the efficiency of in‐house labor allowed for the reduction of contract labor, allowing the MSO to realize an immediate profit of over $5 million, with a gross savings of over $300,000 in the first 90 days.
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