“We need to invest in a way that makes sure we’ve got the workforce we need in the future.”
Workforce management is the tool/s by which discrete CSP tasks are tracked and managed. For example, when creating a new customer order, the following separate pieces of a sample end-to-end order process might all be handled by different staff:
- The Procurement Team need to order a telephone
- The Customer Service Team needs to notify the customer when a technician will visit their house
- The Field Workforce (ie Technicians) need to connect the cable from the nearest connection point to the customer’s house and conduct a local test
- The Provisioning Team need to activate the service on the CSP’s infrastructure
- The Test Team need to check that the line is operational
- The BSS Team need to initiate commencement of billing
- The Customer Service Team needs to notify the customer that their service is operational
Within large CSPs there might be many staff within each of these teams (workgroups), so allocating tasks (work orders) across many staff becomes challenging. Workforce management tools provide automated or manual assignment of work orders often even providing skills-based routing, which identifies the active staff within the assigned workgroup that are best suited to process the work order through being appropriately qualified/skilled or optimally located.
The workforce management tool may even automatically generate machine to machine (M2M) tasks such as number allocation, billing activation, inventory polling, etc via APIs.
As with all automated systems, these tools can be powerful but care must be given to ensure they remain optimised. If the skills-based routing tables aren’t maintained they can actually reduce the efficiency of allocated tasks / operators. Automatic M2M actions can also quickly generate spurious data that is complicated to repair.