As one of the largest cable telecommunications operators in Europe, this company approached Unicorn having identified a need to allow a limited number of larger customers to interface with their legacy systems in real-time. They needed a means of providing a high security, on-line web-enabled interface to involve customers in the order entry workflow and management process and to give them access to specific information and reporting.
£Millions of business was being lost purely due to the complexity of the ordering process for larger customers. Some customers had refused to do business until a more streamlined and innovative approach could be provided.
Customers would need to be able to order point-to-point dedicated communications services easily and flexibly via an Internet browser. Customers should also be able to track the progress of an order as it made its way through the sales process from initial feasibility through to order completion and circuit allocations. Customers should also be able to report and interrogate their own historical dealings.
It is worth noting that a previous attempt had been made to provide a web interface to the existing systems and failed. This attempt had taken over a year with no result.
To succeed, new systems would need to be designed and built to leverage the information contained in existing legacy systems. There would also be a need to build a complete high security web-enabled environment for both customers and staff to participate in the sales order business processes.
The Unicorn Solution
As specialists in data and Internet integration, Unicorn was pleased to accept the responsibility of technical leadership in the development of the new systems. In partnership, we designed, built and deployed all the required systems and held responsibility for all aspects of the software development including design, development, data migration, testing, integration and deployment.
The new systems are completely browser based and provide a high security environment for order processing. Service Level Agreements with Customers for service performance had to be maintained and the new system graphically shows how these key criteria are being met.
Legacy systems were migrated from existing data formats to SQL Server and a study was undertaken to determine how legacy system logic could be incorporated into the new system. We found that significant portions of the existing system could be re-used and therefore development time could be reduced.
Depending on login, the new system can serve many purposes. If you are responsible for finding and fixing faults in the Network Operations Centre you have at your fingertips all of a customer’s circuit data. If you are a member of the Customer Operations Team you get to see all customers’ orders and feasibility requests as well as circuit details and network capacity information. What’s more because the entire system is browser based, staff can securely access this information from anywhere, including at home or from a customer’s site.
Some other features of the new system are:
- Integration with Royal Mail Postcode Searching
- Integrated Customer and management reporting and charting
- Numerous transparent security checks.
- Team/Group oriented.
Despite the complexity of the system and time constraints for development, user testing found very few system errors, and the new online system now runs unattended 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The completed system was developed and deployed on time and on budget.
Investment in existing systems was maintained by reusing portions in an object-oriented manner.
The new online system has provided a means to expand the customer base for point-to-point telecommunications services and offers a value added service to existing customers as well as a sales point for new customers.
For the first time, the valuable corporate resource of information is available to all authorised staff throughout the entire organisation and can be used for Customer Relationship Management and network fault finding amongst many other things.
The efficiency of the Order Entry Team has been increased by allowing data entry to be done by customers rather than expanding the team of administrators to cope with extra workload. Operations have become more streamlined. Now the customer completes details of order and may interrogate its status.
Customer enquiries have been reduced significantly.
The online system assists in meeting the Service Level Agreement performance targets established with customers and forms the cornerstone of the eBusiness strategy.
The new systems have captured new strategic customers and increased revenue.