Supporting Ops

The mind is seldom quickened to very vigorous operations but by pain, or the dread of pain. We do not disturb ourselves with the detection of fallacies which do us no harm..”
Samuel Johnson

Operational Support Systems are exactly that – OPERATIONAL support systems.

Many people in our industry lose sight of that fact sometimes.

For example, how many of us actually know what our CSP’s field work-force actually do? The processes they follow, the equipment they use, their return-to-base policies, their most common job allocations, their scheduling rules, the terminologies or naming conventions they use, the particular rules / constraints / regulations that they must abide by, the rules-of-thumb they apply, etc?

Other operational teams, such as network operations, are commonly consulted on an OSS’s requirements, but the field workforce rarely is. If you’re in any way responsible for creating the Tickets of Work or Work Packages that the field workers use, then don’t you think you’re obliged to find out rather than assume what they might need (the fallacies which do us no harm)? And when I say “in any way responsible,” that also means all the upstream decisions, such as naming conventions, interface specifications, data capture, process designs, etc.

Often the field-work activities are outsourced to third-party companies, so it’s an easy excuse to claim that you don’t have access to the field workers. That’s probably true… but any inefficiencies created (directly or indirectly) by your OSS tools or processes will impact the CSP you’re representing through repeated truck rolls, inaccurately recorded data, etc.

You might counter by claiming that the third-party could be compensated by orders activated rather than truck rolls so there is no financial impact to the CSP. You could be right about the contracts, but there is a reason why many CSPs around the world are using the NPS (Net Promoter Score) metric. Many believe that customer satisfaction (or dissatisfaction if the field workers can’t deliver service quickly) is a fundamental measure of whether their organisation is thriving (or not).

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