7 Considerations for Outsourcing Your Network Migration Projects

 

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.

Risk Mitigation
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.

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Key to Successful Network Migrations – Flexible Change Management

Vertek Blog Series – “Lessons Learned: Effective Carrier Migrations,” Part 3

By Mauricio Rosales, Senior Director of Service Delivery

Vertek Corporation’s new blog series, “Lessons Learned: Effective Carrier Migrations,” addresses several areas of managing migrations that we have worked in over the past 20 years to include building a sound business case, maintaining a positive customer experience, managing change and the pros and cons of outsourcing.

In this blog, “Part 3,” Vertek discusses Change Management, and how market demand for new technologies or services can require the rapid acceleration and adoption of new unplanned activities to meet that demand. While these unplanned activities can result in organizational chaos, we will address Change Management, and what elements you need to address in order to successfully sidestep the land mines, implement change and meet market demands for new and improved products and services.

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Network Migrations and the Customer Experience – Ultimate Tightrope Events

Vertek Blog Series – “Lessons Learned: Effective Carrier Migrations,” Part 2

By Maureen McShane, Senior Director Business Consulting, Vertek Corporation

Vertek Corporation’s new blog series, “Lessons Learned: Effective Carrier Migrations,” will address several areas of managing migrations that we have worked in over the past 20 years. The four-part series will include building a sound business case, maintaining a positive customer experience, managing change and the pros and cons of outsourcing. Reoccurring issues woven throughout the series will address the importance of data integrity and how to maintain it, and how to remain adaptable and flexible during a migration.

In this blog, “Part 2,” Vertek discusses the critical importance of creating a network migration plan that takes into consideration the customer experience with multiple services, carefully analyzing provisioning, billing, receivables and customer support and determining what additional processes must be put in place to accommodate the new customers.

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10 Considerations for a Rock-Solid Network Migration Business Case – a Balanced System of Evaluations and Tradeoffs

Vertek Blog Series – “Lessons Learned: Effective Carrier Migrations,” Part I

By Brad Soutiere, President and Chief Operations Officer, Vertek Corporation

Vertek Corporation’s new blog series, “Lessons Learned: Effective Carrier Migrations,” will address several areas of managing migrations that we have worked in over the past 20 years. The four-part series will include building a sound business case, maintaining a positive customer experience, managing change and the pros and cons of outsourcing. Reoccurring issues woven throughout the series will address the importance of data integrity and how to maintain it, and how to remain adaptable and flexible during a migration.

In this blog, “Part I,” Vertek discusses the critical importance of building a detailed business case and 10 considerations you cannot ignore prior to undertaking any migration activities.

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Vertek Corporation Announces Advanced Order Handling Center for Complex New Product Introductions and Existing Product Optimization

New Order Handling Center provides medium to large telecom carriers a proven solution for sorting out the complexities and inefficiencies of data collection, ordering, provisioning, turn-up and invoicing of new or broken products and services

COLCHESTER, VT, December 17, 2015 – Vertek® Corporation, an innovative solution provider offering in-depth business intelligence, consulting, software and business process outsourcing capabilities, today announced its Order Handling Center (OHC), a set of services optimizing complex processes to handle the services delivery from pre-sales to invoicing.

Using a Build, Operate and Transfer model, Vertek is inserted into a client’s service delivery  process, and leverages its project management, complex data collection, order placement, provisioning and process optimization expertise to identify and correct service delivery barriers and inefficiencies currently encumbered by carrier internal processes or system constraints. Client systems and tools are utilized, but are often supplemented by Vertek tools to accelerate the delivery and insight during the optimization.
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IOT World 2015

Vertek at Internet of Things (IOT) World Conference – San Francisco – May 12th and 13th

Vertek will be attending the 2nd Annual Internet of Things World Conference in San Francisco in May.  We will be meeting with both our current and prospective clients and partners.   Please contact us to set up a time to learn about our Mobility Management capabilities which are designed to simply M2M and IOT deployments.   IOT World takes place May 12th through May 13th, 2015 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA, FL.

Click here to visit the Internet of Things World  site (external link)

Contact us to schedule a meeting

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The “IP Transition” and the FCC Push begin the Migration Away from TDM

By Al Brisard, VP of Sales, Marketing and Business Development, Vertek Corporation

Voice communications is well on its way toward making a major transition from time-division multiplexed (TDM) circuit-switched services to all-Internet Protocol (IP) – a process often referred to as the “IP Transition.” It started long ago in the area of long haul or inter-office communications.  Over the last several years the many endpoints at both residences and businesses have migrated to some form of VoIP, whether it is hosted or premise-based.  And of course there is the adoption of SIP trunking that can interface to either a TDM or IP-based premise solution.

The Next Wave
The last major grouping of legacy TDM is in the area of Class 5 Switches. These are the incredibly reliable but costly set of digital switches located in the central offices.   These switches represent a massive investment that carriers are not predisposed to replace any time soon, especially since they work.  However, over the last several years many carriers have seen the parts and manpower costs to maintain this equipment rise dramatically while the customer base being served is declining. Thus, this dynamic, coupled with the pressures from the FCC, increases the urgency for carriers to proactively accelerate the IP Transition while maximizing customer retention.

To this end, carriers have begun to aggressively plan for the replacement of their legacy networks with IP network services.  Although the immediate revenue impact might be negative for a like-for-like transition, significant new revenue opportunities will become available to carriers once customers are served by an all–IP network. This type of transition is not simple, given the number of service types and breadth of users. There is legitimate concern over the impact this IP Transition might have on consumers, small businesses and other organizations such as hospitals and municipalities.  Ensuring at a minimum that continuity and consistency are maintained is essential.

Some Background:

FCC Transition Trials
In May, 2013, with the move to IP networks gaining advocates, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed transition trials to determine the impact on next generation 911, consumer transition from wireline to wireless services and interconnection with VoIP traffic. The proposal received mixed reviews.

“Today’s public notice is a step forward, though we are disappointed that the FCC still appears tentative about dealing with the IP transition, especially when compared with the bold and visionary goals of the National Broadband Plan,” stated Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior EVP for external and legislative affairs. “We will, of course cooperate with the FCC,” he added.1

On June 7th of that year Verizon filed a request with the FCC to replace its copper networks damaged by Hurricane Sandy with their all-wireless service called Voice Link®. The company admitted that the service was not compatible with fax machines, DVR services and credit card machines, or even dial-up Internet services using a modem and a phone line. It couldn’t do medical alert services or alarm company services and it didn’t enable users to use a calling card to make cheap calls. Residents, local unions and the telecom press reacted negatively.

Other industry voices urged caution to ensure the transition wouldn’t be disruptive to consumers and area businesses, including 911 calls and the ability to make or receive calls. Concern was also vocalized by Comptel about VoIP interconnection, how service providers exchange traffic with each other, and the need to ensure technology-neutral, competitive interconnection policies were adhered to once the IP transition takes place. While the inevitability of the IP Transition wasn’t in question, clearly many critical issues surrounding the move needed to be further investigated.

“The Fourth Network Revolution”
In January, 2014, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, referring to this transition as the “Fourth Network Revolution,” released an order to: “kickstart the process for a diverse set of experiments and data collection initiatives that will allow the Commission and the public to evaluate how customers are affected by the historic technology transitions [from TDM to all IP network] that are transforming our nation’s voice communications services.” 2

The order invites “interested providers to submit detailed proposals to test real world applications of planned changes in technology that are likely to have tangible effects on consumers.”3

Carriers submitted proposals designed to test the TDM to IP transition. Targeted experiments were designed to speed transitions to IP while preserving “public safety and national security, universal and affordable access (including maintaining wholesale access and the status quo in interconnections), competition and consumer protection.”4 Proposals for the trials were due in February, 2014 and voted upon by the FCC at its May, 2014 meeting.

AT&T Testing
In late February, 2014, following the FCC invitation, AT&T targeted a rural area, Carbon Hill, Alabama, and a more suburban area, West Delray Beach, Florida, to conduct tests on all-IP services. “We chose these locations in an effort to gain insights into some of the more difficult issues that likely will be presented as we transition from legacy networks,” said Hank Hultquist, vice president/federal regulatory for AT&T. 5 Tests are being conducted to determine if customers in need of emergency 911 services and people with medical devices and home security alarms can be assured they can still get a connection.

Further FCC Action
On October 31, 2014, Chairman Wheeler suggested that the FCC take further action on the TDM to IP transition with regard to copper retirement and consumer protection in the event of changes to 911 systems. On November 21, 2014 the FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and sought comment on revisions to their rules and policies to deal with the possibility that consumers and small businesses, relying on services, may not be adequately supported following a transition. The goals for this round of rulemaking included:

­   Ensuring reliable back-up power for consumers of IP-based voice and data services across networks that provide residential fixed service substituting and improving traditional telephony used by people to dial 911

­   Informing and protecting consumers as networks and services change

­   Protecting competition where it exists today so entities such as small- and medium-sized business, schools and libraries can choose the services that best suit their needs.

The Comment Period is still in effect.

In November, 2014, Century Link requested permission to conduct TDM to IP trials during a six-month period in 12 wire centers. The trials will be conducted primarily at Las Vegas businesses, focusing mainly on replacing POTS services with VoIP. The trials are still being held.

 

A Perspective
New technologies are always difficult to plan and implement. The impact on current and new customers must be a priority.  The market has already determined the road to be taken, and now it will be a regulatory effort to push those stragglers that are falling behind onto the journey while not impacting public safety. In the case of the TDM to IP transition, it’s clear that the stakes are high – in some cases a matter of life or death. Competition must also be preserved, as the Titans of the communications industry have the human and fiscal resources to move forward more quickly than other players.

The FCC is playing a critical role in this Fourth Network Revolution. In their own words:

“Our January 2014 Technology Transitions Order unanimously recognized that the success of these technology transitions depends upon the technologically-neutral preservation of principles embodied in the Communications Act that have long defined the relationship between those who build and operate networks and those who use them….We are determined to ensure that these fundamental values are not lost merely because technology changes.”6

Some people in our industry are probably impatient with the FCC and other regulatory entities who might potentially apply the brakes from time to time, slowing down the implementation and acceptance of the IP network technology. But their involvement is critical to the lasting success of this network revolution which bodes to be a powerful new agent of change for the lives of us all. It’s not a matter of “if” this new technology will be ubiquitous. It’s a matter of “when.” And we need to get it right the first time.

Carriers need to proceed aggressively, but carefully. Judicious planning, testing, adjusting and executing will be key.  Most importantly, the transition must benefit the customers. They need to want to move to IP, not be forced to move, either by the carriers or by the FCC. In the end, carriers that embrace this change and accelerate their transition, while keeping the best interests of their customers in mind, will have an enormous competitive advantage in the marketplace.

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  1. Sean Buckley, “IP technology transition trials proposed by FCC met with mixed response,” Fierce Telecom, May 13, 2013.
  2. Federal Communications Commission, “ORDER, REPORT AND ORDER AND FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING, REPORT AND ORDER, ORDER AND FURTHER NOTICE OF PORPOSED RULEMAKING, PROPOSAL FOR ONGOING DATA INITIATIVE,” Adopted: January 30, 2014; Released: January 31, 2014, page 3-4.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid, pp 14-25.
  5. Sean Buckley, “AT&T to conduct TDM-to-IP transition tests in Alabama, Florida,” Fierce Telecom, February 28, 2014.
  6. FCC Takes Up Consumer, Competition, 911 Safeguards in Tech Transitions,” Adopted: November 21, 2014; Released: November 25, 2014, page 2.
AOTMP

Vertek Speaking and Exhibiting at AOTMP Fixed & Mobile Telecom Management Conference 2015 – Orlando, FL Feb 16th – 19th

Vertek will be speaking and exhibiting at AOTMP Fixed & Mobile Telecom Management Conference in Orlando.   Please contact us to set up a time to learn about our Telecom Lifecycle Management Offering and other services specifically designed to assist Large Enterprise Customers.  AOTMP takes place February 16th through February 19th, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport in Orlando, FL.

Click here to visit the AOTMP  site (external link)

Contact us to schedule a meeting

Interface Security Systems and Vertek Corporation Mark Fifth Year of Strategic Relationship

Vertek’s Telecom Lifecycle Management (VTLM) Offering Proves Key as Interface Continues to Deliver Market Leading Suite of Cloud-Based Managed Services to Large Enterprise Multi-Site Companies

ST.LOUIS, MO and COLCHESTER, VT, November 4, 2014 – Interface Security Systems, a leading North American provider of IP-managed physical security and secured managed network services, and Vertek Corporation, an innovative solution provider offering in-depth operations consulting, business intelligence, BPO and software capabilities, are celebrating their five-year strategic relationship. Interface is a portfolio company of SunTx Capital Partners.

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