Vertek Blog Series – “Lessons Learned: Effective Carrier Migrations,” Part 4
By Brad Soutiere, President and Chief Operations Officer, Vertek Corporation
Vertek Corporation’s continuing blog series focuses on several key areas of managing migrations. Based on Vertek’s more than 28 years’ experience supporting carrier migrations, our blogs examine activities such as building a sound business case, maintaining a positive customer experience and managing change. In this blog, Part 4 of our series, Vertek discusses 7 important areas that should be considered when looking to successfully outsource activities that are outside the capabilities or bandwidth of your normal business-as-usual teams during a network migration.
Smooth migrations are the result of careful planning and implementing proven processes. This is essential in order to prevent overloading of your internal resources and avoid customer dissatisfaction and possible churn. Some “business as usual” (BAU) processes might be used to facilitate overall migration, but additional non-BAU processes and approaches might also be required in order to ensure success in a timely fashion. In the latter instance, you might look to outsource a portion of your migration. If you go this route, choosing one or more partners will be among the most important decisions you can make as you consider your options.
Once you have assessed your available internal resources, and weighed the potential advantages of outsourcing some, or even all, elements of your network migration, there are 7 key areas you should consider before choosing an outsource partner.
Dedicated Focus and Shared Responsibility
Unlike trying to use different internal resources and organizations to do the work, where day jobs will get in the way and will suffer, outsourcing provides a dedicated focus, delivering expert execution and results that are designed to meet your expectations. The ability to focus, drive and react to changes in a timely fashion is clearly a key benefit to using an outsourcing partner.
An outsourced partner also gives you the ability to set service level agreements (SLAs) that the partner will be required to meet. This shared responsibility ensures that your partner will have ‘skin in the game’ with a commitment and focus to drive the project to a successful completion in a timely fashion.
Organizational Pressures Relieved
While internal organizations still need to actively participate in the migration effort, the use of an outsourcing partner changes the focus, and can relieve the pressure on your internal teams. Those internal resources can now become a support arm instead of an execution arm, and can be relied upon for their expert domain knowledge and experience in solving challenges with respect to systems and processes.
A focus on the Customer Experience
Any time there’s an end customer migration there’s a risk of customer dissatisfaction and churn. Regions and markets may have different processes, and could potentially increase the number of contact points end customers would have deal with if they get passed between different internal carrier organizations during the migration. Migration outsourcing partners specialize in coordination with different functional organizations, and have the ability to manage multiple products simultaneously. They can work with diverse processes by leveraging their advanced tool sets and project management skills, which can more effectively augment your teams, and act as a single point of contact to improve and manage the end customer experience. This reduces confusion and maintains a high level of customer satisfaction.
Migration Planning Support and Validation
Effective planning is paramount to your migration success. Experienced outsourcing partners who specialize in migrations have gained a unique perspective that can prove very valuable when validating a migration plan you have developed. Alternatively, you might have them participate up-front in the migration planning itself. Migrations tend to be very fluid, and often require changes to be implemented in “real time” to effectively deal with process, communication or customer satisfaction issues.
Starting out with a solid plan enables you to change it dynamically as needed. This will improve your ability to deliver with a high degree of predictability, which is very critical to keeping the project both on track and on budget. Leveraging a partner that has the experience in journey mapping, defining methods and procedures, leveraging advanced data analytics, and has both practical and applied experience in delivering these services can be a great asset to you in the migration planning process.
Migration Tools, Reporting and Metrics
Often a migration exposes the need for system updates in order to capture migration activities and metrics. However, development projects take time and can adversely affect the timeline for completion of your migration project, which will in turn delay revenue recognition. An outsourcing partner can alleviate this need by leveraging their own existing tools to capture migration work activity and metrics for reporting.
Experienced outsourcing partners will have tools and systems ready to go, including a robust analytic and reporting capability, which allows the migration to start on time and stay on schedule. This is critical to meeting your scheduled timeline, as well as measuring performance of the migration (outsourced functions as well as in-sourced functions). Having the ability to add additional workflow flexibility, adaptive analytics and strong reporting capabilities provides a neutral end-to-end transparency of the process. When choosing an outsourcing partner it is essential that their tools provide the needed flexibility to meet the changing needs of your migration project, enabling completion of the project on time and on budget.
Continual Process Improvement and Root Cause Analysis
One advantage of using a partner is the ability to focus on continuous process improvement in real time. This gives you the ability to adapt to inevitable change that occurs during the migration without affecting your other BAU processes. Root cause analysis focuses on capturing the detailed analytics which tell why a trouble spot or situation is occurring. Providing actionable intelligence is critical to both effective communication with key stakeholders and rapid process improvements while the project is in progress. A strong outsourcing partner is much more than a simple execution arm. They can proactively adjust and complete the migration more quickly and cost effectively.
Data quality impacts to a migration event need to be constantly assessed, and the ability to quickly react to trends and issues is essential. Rapidly identifying risks and providing alternative solutions for reducing those risks will minimize fallout and help contain costs. In particular, assuring data quality and being able to quickly modify processes will keep your project on track.
When internal resources get overloaded and cannot get to all the work needed with a planned or unplanned network migration event, choosing a strong partner will accelerate your success and help you avoid delay, churn and reduced customer satisfaction.