Over the years, many communication service providers will build up their information systems bit by bit. Every so often as new services are required, a new process and vendor product is installed. Several years later, there can be many legacy processes and vendor products chosen and designed by many different people.
Generally, each implementation team is diligently aware of these legacy processes and vendor products. But in a lot of cases the whole enterprise architecture becomes very convoluted and complicated.
It can get to a point that no one really knows how all the systems fit together, and sometimes even knowing doesn’t help to alleviate concerns. In many cases today, operators are often paying multiple legacy vendors for doing similar functions. For instance, the activation of a service can involve the touching of multiple legacy systems, raising hit-and-hope concerns. In other words, a service activation request is fired off and you hope that it makes it through the various different processes and actually activates the service so that you can start billing the customer — clearly this is not an ideal scenario.
Simplifying these processes has an obvious return on investment but it can be a nervous decision to replace a “working” system. The safer option of leaving things as-is can be very seductive.
So how can you make this process more comfortable? A good place to start is to understand the return on investment. You can ask yourself:
- How much money are you saving the company by updating the systems?
- How much money are you making for the company by activating services more quickly and reliably?
- If you replace the current systems with a new system, do you save on support and maintenance renewals?
- Are your service activations less error-prone?
- Can you reduce the time spent by your engineering staff on these processes?
As you’ll probably calculate, if your network has many legacy systems then it is time to consolidate. Besides, you can probably phase the migration of legacy systems depending on network technologies and service types to alleviate some of the stresses.
Your ace card is that you know exactly what you want. If you talk to a vendor and they make what they’re selling sound very complicated, then in all likelihood they probably don’t fully understand how to deliver the best solution to you. As Einstein said: “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Technology is moving at such a fast rate, and you’re the technology provider. Your information systems should be as dynamic as the wonderful technologies that you’re providing.