Most of the processes that we see in the OSS/BSS environment require some kind of manual activity. These activities differ from configuring a server over a telnet session or a truck roll to the customer site to install an equipment.
In telco world, we call these manual tasks as work orders. Work orders can be assigned to people from our internal organization or to supplier/partners. Most operators use the outsourcing model and rely on supplier/partners to handle their installation and maintenance tasks for their networking equipment. Usually, as the geography increase, multiple supplier partners are also enter into the picture.
When work order counts start to increase and there are multiple supplier/partners that are in charge of specific regions, it is hard to manage and coordinate all these transactions.
Here comes the Workforce Management Systems. Workforce management systems, manage the work orders and their coordination between different parties.
Other than coordination, these systems have another very important task: Scheduling and Dispatching.
Scheduling means, maintaining the calendar of all the involved parties in the work order chain. This way, Allocated/Free time periods can be tracked and best time to accomplish a task can be determined. Dispatching function can then auto-dispatch the work order to a resource that has free time in his calendar. Dispatching can also take into account resource skills. After entering the resource skills to the system, the system can also dispatch the task to a person who have the necessary skills.
Unfortunately, it is hard to find so many Telco workforce management systems nowadays. Some OSS/BSS vendors claim that they can run this function via their trouble ticket systems however these solutions fall short in responding to some of the workforce management challenges such as skill tracking. Nevertheless, there are also some ISVs in the sector that are offering promising solutions.
Carefully designed workforce management platforms help CSPs increase efficiency in their repair as well as order management activities.