Order Management

By | March 31, 2010

Order Management process (Order Handling in eTOM terms) belongs to the Fulfillment vertical in eTOM. It is also in the CRM functional grouping and considered in the BSS domain. Order Managers automate the order handling process and track the whole lifecycle of an order (from the creation stage to provisioning).

All the Order Management, sometimes called Customer Order Management, products come with a workflow engine. (Either external or a propriety, bundled one) and typically there will be more than one deployed workflows. (Based on product type, customer type etc.) The workflows automate the tasks that should be done in order to fulfill an end-to-end customer order.

Order Management starts with Order Capturing. Order Capturing stage is where we collect the order specific parameters. These may be customer choices, provisioning related parameters and some price related parameters. (Reduction rate, promotions etc.). During order capturing, order is also validated against some basic validation rules. Typically, a CRM system captures the order parameters and triggers a workflow on the order manager side. (Over a service bus)

Second step is the Order Decomposition. Generally, Customer Orders represent the Product Orders.(i.e composed of one or more product provisioning requests). Products may include multiple Customer Facing Services and Physical Resources. The Order Manager should know this hierarchy for a particular product and decompose the Product Order into Service Order(s). Service Orders are then be handled by Service Activators to initiate Resource Orders that does the resource provisioning. (Either automatic or via manual work orders)

There is an important detail in the case where you separate your Order Capturing and Order Management platforms. (Typically that is the case in large implementations.) The CRM, (in the mean time your Product Manager) has the Product Catalog, so it knows the Product-to-service decompositions. If we want Order Manager to do the decomposition, it should have access to the Product catalog. This is possible in three ways. One way is you take full dump of product catalog from your product management platform (or CRM) and import it to the Order Manager, replicating the information. Second way is to use Product Manager’s NBIs to reach its’ inventory data. This is a better way. However, if we deploy a separate Inventory Management application that also employs the Product Catalog, this would be the best solution.

The workflow that the Order Manager is running is sometimes called the business workflow. It has interface with the customer, supplier/partners, billing system etc. It coordinates service activation workflows which activates/deactivates services in the infrastructure. Depending on the business processes, it may include availability checks, feasibility checks and credibility checks. It follows a specific business process.

Order managers allow us to provide our customers the progress of their order. This is increases the customer satisfaction. They reduce the operational expenses and order lifecyle times by increasing automation.

One thought on “Order Management

Comments are closed.