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Contact Centres = Cost Centres?

"Our business is about technology, yes. But it's also about operations and customer relationships." Michael Dell Technical contact centres could be seen as a cost centre, the source of expense to the OSS vendor. As such, they are usually resourced to match (ie lower-end resources, under-resourced, etc). But what if the mind-set of the vendor were to change? Every contact with the customer is an opportunity…

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Understanding the customer’s audience

"The first step in exceeding your customer's expectations is to know those expectations." Roy H. Williams The technical (left brain) versus the visual (right brain) both need to be catered for in the sales and marketing of your OSS. The customer's executive tend to want to easily see big-picture benefits, whereas the technical team wants to see the specifications, lists of features, etc. It’s likely that the…

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Designing your business processes like Jack Welch

"We don’t need the questioners and checkers, the nitpickers who bog down the process.... Today, each staff person has to ask, “How do I add value? How do I make people on the line more effective and competitive?” - Jack Welch I like to consider a company's business processes like a flowing river. The aim is to get as many actions (customer orders, fault rectifications, etc)…

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Making an OSS sale

Sales is all about getting the customer to know you, like you, trust you. Many vendors do this well. However, does it also make sense to extend this concept to trusting the product, not just the people? An OctopOSS represents a large investment of time and resources for an organisation. Product evaluation is often a difficult exercise for the organisation as products have vastly different capabilities…

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Collaborative Teams

As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction!  Irish Blessing When implementing an OctopOSS, consider building a single, transparent team where the customer's resources blend with the vendor's. The vendor knows the minutae of their product (they should!), whilst the customer knows the intimate details of their company far better than an outsider could. Both sides of this…

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Traffic Engineering

Don't have a Traffic Engineering module in your OSS, but have performance analysis and flow-through provisioning tools? If you can carefully configure threshold events in your performance tool to trigger your provisioning tool to fire commands back into the network, then you can create your own traffic engineering.

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Meeting Deadlines

"I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by." - Scott Adams, Dilbert OSS projects can be brutal on work-plans, budgets, scope and deadlines (not to mention the sanity of the broader project teams and project sponsors). But that is forgotten* in time if the project can deliver fundamental value to the business. The dilemma is that work-plans, budgets,…

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Implementing an OSS through a customer’s eyes

"When I was with John, I thought he was the greatest person in the whole world." Then why did you marry Bill, the friend asked. "Because when I'm with Bill, he makes me feel that I'm the greatest person in the world." Technology is not the panacea for business problems. A vendor's product, a vendor's process and a vendor's team are all vitally important...... to the vendor. To…

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Doing things differently

"The man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." James Crook A large proportion of OctopOSS projects fail to achieve their original objectives. This suggests that alternate approaches are required within the industry. I once worked on a project that had been guided by five project managers (PM) in two years, each with their own outstanding merits as individuals. But the…

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Inspiring the customer

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward When an organisation identifies that a new OctopOSS project is required, it is common for some or all of the project’s influencers and evaluators to have limited knowledge about a potential vendor’s products. In some cases, they won’t even understand the main concepts of an OSS or…

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Adapting to each customer

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” Winston Churchill OSS projects are usually delivered to organisations that have many working parts (people, processes, bureaucracies, politics, business units, etc). Rather than closely understanding and adapting to the company, a vendor has a tendency of bringing “best practice” to projects and thrust their standard delivery approach on the customer. One particular…

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Inside Plant versus Outside Plant

Crossing over between worlds isn't just something that John Edward does. Inside Plant (ie active equipment such as switches, routers, multiplexers, etc) is typically managed using Inventory Management software or Configuration Management Databases (CMDB). In this paradigm, a "circuit" is a single link between two entities such as ports on a multiplexer. Outside Plant (eg pits, pipes, cables, splice enclosures, etc) is often managed by GIS…

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Why am I Passionate About OSS?

Consulting on OctopOSS projects allows the opportunity for endless learning and personal growth like no other profession that I can think of. A tennis player's growth is asymptotic, delivering an ever diminishing improvement for a given amount of training and development effort. A project manager deals with new projects and new people, but the evolution of their art and growth is also somewhat asymptotic. However, the…

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Choosing a Naming Convention

How do you uniquely represent every element within your network landscape under a single naming umbrella? Following on from the introduction of naming conventions, where we covered why an OSS naming convention is so important, the following provides some insights into how to choose a naming convention. When choosing a suitable set of naming conventions under an OSS domain, the following must be taken into consideration: The first…

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Why are OSS/ BSS becoming increasingly important?

A carrier’s network coverage is no longer the dominant differentiating factor that it once was (in deregulated markets anyway). The following are revolutionary drivers of change in the telecommunications industry: Commodotised network services (ubiquitous connectivity), Cloud computing (ubiquitous processing and storage), Changing customer expectations (personalisation, relevance, control, responsiveness and timeliness) Ever increasing bandwidth and Decreasing barriers to entry for new providers It is now clear that innovative…

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