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A global telecommunications provider engaged TEKsystems to support its Circuit Provisioning Design and Ordering (CPDO) initiative. TEKsystems provided oversight of the program and developed national performance and productivity reporting for the client.

The client is a leading telecommunications corporation and provider of wireless voice and data services, mobile broadband, and long distance and local voice coverage. The company has a history of technological development and has spent nearly $70 billion in wireless technology over the past three years. As the smartphone and other advanced mobile devices continue to change the way mobile customers communicate, the client remains focused on innovation and growth. TEKsystems has partnered with the client to help it perform key technology initiatives for over 20 years.
ETTCS (Ethernet to the Cell Site), FTCCS (Fiber to the Cell Site), Telecom transport technologies, Database maintenance

Consumers increasingly use their phones to do more than just make and receive phone calls and send text messages. The adoption of the smartphone allows consumers to surf the Internet, download music, transfer large files, open video streams and more. In order to do so, consumers need a fast, consistent wireless Internet connection from their mobile phone provider. As each carrier seeks to gain market share and competitive advantage, network speed and service are key differentiators.

In order to keep pace with consumer demands for faster network speeds, our client initiated a national technology upgrade to HPSA+ (Evolved High Speed Packet Access) and 4G (the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards). HPSA+ provides extended and improved network speeds, and 4G represents a breakthrough in technology that allows customers to use a mobile phone and the Internet concurrently. In support of the upgrade, technical teams within the client’s wireless Circuit Provisioning Design and Ordering (CPDO) program designed the T-1 and Ethernet circuit paths required for voice and data to travel over the network.

Challenges:

Vendor Management:  Our client did not have enough internal talent to keep pace with the demands for growth and the need to upgrade the network. TEKsystems supported the client’s CPDO program by providing transport engineers to design the circuits necessary for voice and data travel.

Due to changes in the client’s vendor management system that could potentially lead to interruptions in work, TEKsystems proposed a professional services model that ensured the retention of current consultants and provided a vehicle to further supply the CPDO program with qualified consultants.

Performance Management: The CPDO teams were tasked to design, order, expand, activate and decommission circuits as needed across five regions. The client struggled to measure the productivity, performance and quality of the work teams at a local, regional and national level. Job titles and assigned tasks were not aligned, and the diversity of tasks and interdependency of assignments further increased the complexity in measuring performance.

Further, the client identified that the CPDO teams were spending nearly half of their time on administrative activities not relevant to producing circuits, also known as interrupt work. As a result, the client had inactive or ‘dark’ circuits that were provisioned and assessed a monthly fee to remain on the network even though they weren’t active circuits.

In order to complete the upgrade and utilize staff efficiently, the client needed valid metrics to assess the quality and performance of its work teams.

First, we renegotiated our statement of work into a fixed monthly fee approach. As part of this fixed fee, we created a standardized reporting template for all CPDO activity based on our experience and long-standing successful history in supporting the CPDO organization nationally. We set goals and targets on a per-resource basis and then provided weekly tracking of each activity and the time spent on each task. We were able to provide transparency into the client’s quality, production and process.

TEKsystems also recognized the client’s need for standardized reporting and performance tracking across the entire CPDO initiative. We proposed a Managed Services Offering to support all wireless and landline transport technologies needed to design, order, expand or decommission existing and future circuits. TEKsystems employed our PMI-based Unified Project Management Methodology (UPMM) to streamline the client’s process, identify tasks and track time spent on each.

Each project team was led by an assigned, dedicated engagement manager, responsible for day-to-day management of the project team and overall service delivery. Engagement managers also established an escalation plan for resolution of project or personnel problems. Regional engagement managers reported to a national program manager, allowing for oversight across the entire national program.

TEKsystems competed for the Managed Services Offering contract against multiple vendors. TEKsystems’ long-standing knowledge of the group’s function and interaction within the overall organization and our understanding of technologies used by the organization allowed us to present a competitive solution to the client’s needs. The client also valued our history with the  managers in the group and the trust built over numerous interactions, feedback reviews, shared research materials and collaborations. We clearly articulated to the client our focus on quality service, our plan to improve efficiencies and our tailored approach to process improvement and on-time delivery. TEKsystems was awarded the engagement.

Our managed services solution enabled the client to refocus staff and form a more cohesive program. As part of that program, each vendor was given set deliverables on a per-task basis to measure productivity and quality. Teams were expected to complete 20 designs, orders, expansions or decommissionings of circuits per engineer, per week, per market. TEKsystems’ teams exceeded production goals by over 15 percent on a consistent basis across all regions. The client then implemented the approach we built throughout the CPDO program across more than 500 support staff.

The client also implemented TEKsystems’ functional metric reporting process on a national scale. As a result, the client received accurate production data on a weekly basis for use in assessing vendor quality, productivity and ROI.

TEKsystems was selected as a managed services provider due to our extensive experience with the client, our dedication to the client, the program and our ability to maintain the team required for workload continuity. After implementing the program, we identified and addressed the following issues:

Hiring: The client tasked TEKsystems with adding or backfilling an open requirement, but the client would occasionally close the opening with minimal notice before the individual could start. This issue was identified during the hiring process as a concern for both the client and TEKsystems. In order to promote consistent communication and enhance our working relationship, the client agreed to provide the notification of cancellation within a set window of time. TEKsystems also implemented quarterly agreements, which provided for better resource management and reduced cancellations.

Human Resource Management: We identified the need for written approvals from the client regarding a team member’s working situation. Team members would tell the engagement manager that the client had allowed him or her to now work from home, when permission had not actually been granted. In response, we determined that all staff must work primarily from a location indicated by the client unless written notification was received from the client otherwise.

Cost and Risk Management: The impact of incomplete or missing SOW assumptions resulted in the need for corrections to the billing cycle. Furlough days in the billing cycle were not accounted for ahead of time, which resulted in modifications to billing and a prorated amount assessed to the client. We presented the client with two alternatives: removing the furlough days from the projects in 2012 or billing the client for all originally agreed-upon days.

Key Success Factors

Through our experience providing managed services offerings for clients nationwide, we identified the following best practices for our client’s initiative:

  • Performance Metrics: In order to provide oversight and implement a successful managed services offering for a project of this scope, we developed metric reporting and performance requirements at a program level. Our reporting and presentation of data was critical for the client to monitor spending and increase accountability.
  • Roles and Responsibilities Document: We found that a clear delineation of roles and tasks was an essential component of a successful engagement. Having a documented responsibility matrix improved communication within the CPDO program and led to more efficient performance. It also enhanced our onboarding process and set the stage for increased productivity.
  • Documented Escalation Process: Similarly, a clearly defined escalation hierarchy process improved issue resolution speeds and team interactions.
  • Communication: The client valued our responsiveness. We set a standard of acting ethically and honestly, which fostered strong communication.