Thinking about the challenges facing this industry I was reminded of the saying about “… doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” According to BrainyQuote.com, Einstein called that insanity and it definitely applies here. Network operators have been led to believe that automating or managing a business process will somehow fix that process and deliver different results. While automation may reduce errors, it doesn’t fix what has become a fundamentally outdated process. The Order Management (OM) process in use by many operators today is based on the very manual, fill-in-the-blanks process that was implemented 100 years ago. Over the years, the most significant change to that process was the introduction of carbon duplication forms that enabled operators to manually capture the order and then peel apart the form so that one copy went to Provisioning and one to Billing. Although the systems are bigger and more expensive today – that’s still basically what happens – and it’s not working anymore.
OM can no longer be a passive process that collects and stores customer data while triggering a provisioning workflow that has always been the same for every order. Capturing and delivering a customer order now is a complex, dynamic process that must adjust to every customer and find its way through a maze of fulfillment and activation systems for each unique combination of products and services. That takes more than better process automation and management – it takes a different process from start to finish.
Instead of every customer ordering the same thing, operators need a catalog that enables design and delivery of customized products that are unique to every order. Instead of executing a static workflow, operators need intelligent service definitions that can be configured and re-configured on-the-fly and activated across any variety of network and IT infrastructure. But most important, operators need to understand and adjust to the data as it is captured and modified. BPM doesn’t optimize processes and EAI only transports data – both are passive methods of doing the same thing the same way. What’s needed now is a dynamic, configurable approach that accommodates existing systems and data while executing an improved process.