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Food for thought for telecommunications service providers

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Infor’s recent announcement that VTR Global, the main telecommunications service provider in Chile, is using Infor EAM Enterprise Edition for its maintenance operations has served to stir things up in the local market.

Jane Thomson, MD of Softworx, an EOH company and distributor of Infor in Sub-Saharan Africa, explains that as a telecommunications service provider, VTR needs to maintain many network assets such as cables and hardware: “The success of this implementation has direct implications for our local industry – as it was to solve challenges they too are facing.”
Local telecommunications provider Telkom felt the full wrath of consumers in January this year as Telecommunications Action Group (TAG) published a full-page advert in the Mail & Guardian newspaper calling for the reform of the telecommunications sector in South Africa citing exorbitant costs and poor performance by the provider. In May 2007, government joined the debate about cost in particular, urging Telkom to lower its phone and internet fees, which are among the highest in the world, in order to reduce the cost of doing business in South Africa.
“Telkom has come under increasing criticism over the past couple of years regarding its costs and service,” says Thomson. “VTR was facing a similar situation. The company recognised that maintenance was a critical part of their business operations with the reliability of their voice, video, and data services being vital for customer satisfaction. They also appreciated that this was a major contributor to their costs – all of which are passed on to their customers. They thus went on to deploy Infor EAM Enterprise Edition.”
The deployed solution has streamlined maintenance processes across VTR’s operations ensuring improved efficiency, quality management, and customer service, further supporting the company’s growth.
Among others, the control platforms provided by Infor EAM Enterprise Edition help optimise the following:
* The quality of service in devices installed in customers’ homes, including the ability to control service quality remotely;
* The implementation of proactive plans in case of network failure, as well as lower overall network failures;
* Installation certification, and;
* Network and equipment failures can now be avoided or anticipated to minimise down-time.
Thomson adds that with the sector opening up in South Africa, the ability of both Telkom and Neotel to address each of the above, and expedite services and delivery through their maintenance and operations departments will very soon segment the market, “This implementation is helping to streamline and control processes within VTR, establishing an efficient system to manage assets with preventive and corrective maintenance activities. Our local industry players could definitely benefit from similar implementations.”
Thomson’s confidence in the product is substantiated by VTR’s results – Infor EAM Maintenance Key Performance Indicators are already showing the following:
* The network is constantly improving its operative results, now meeting its goal of reducing network unavailability per home to just five minutes per month;
* The time between repairs has also shown great improvement, with just 30 minutes for massive service losses;
* Another important item of optimisation is the reduction of customer service claims, which have improved from 0.82% in 2005 to 0.25% in December 2006.
She adds that what differentiates Infor’s Enterprise Asset Management solutions is that they allow customers to maintain, manage, and improve the performance of their capital asset infrastructure, including manufacturing equipment, fleets, and facilities.
“The solutions combine asset management functionality and reporting with analytics to deliver powerful platforms for optimising enterprise asset performance. Infor's EAM solutions thus go beyond traditional management of assets providing information that helps identify key trends and anomalies, forecast performance issues, and helps to make forward-looking decisions to take action – something I believe our local telecommunications providers (not to mention other industries) would do well to sit up and take notice of.”