The telecommunications industry has been in existence since long and is technologically well equipped to meet the challenges that it faces from time to time. But as time passes, newer and unique challenges arise while providing innovative services to the customers. Telecom companies have to compete with each other to make available uninterrupted, affordable and cutting edge services to their customers.
As the services expand to the remotest of corners and customers’ demand for superior customer experience increases, telecom providers will feel the heat to live up to the expectations of the users. Many service providers are facing challenges like cutting down operational costs, making business more agile and improving business efficiency. Companies also need to hire and retain top talent so that they can develop new services.
Telecom industry is well placed to take advantage of next generation technologies, one of which is Robotic Process Automation. Adopting RPA will help them overcome chronic issues that ail them and will not only help them improve their business operations but also give them a competitive edge.
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The telecom industry is surely ready to ride the wave of process automation technologies such as Robotic Process Automation. Painful tasks in the back office which have burdened the staff for ages can now be handed over to these software robots that will help make life much easier.
So what are the problems that trouble the telecom industry?
One of the most essential priorities for the telecom operators is the ever increasing customer expectations and how to positively manage that experience. Customer is the central focus of the telecom service providers. A study conducted by Ernst and Young reported that customer experience management is the top priority as revealed by the responses of sixty eight percent of the participants in the survey. But because of the expansion in operations and the challenges posed by them, it becomes difficult for companies to satisfy their customers. A few of the obstacles are discussed below:
- Improper Information Flow
There is a large volume of data that telecom service providers deal with pertaining to customers, sales personnel, network providers and engineers. Although this data is stored in the electronic format, physical copies are also maintained. All of this information must be shared well between the various departments which are spread across multiple locations. Improper flow of information can hamper the ability of telecom service providers to create a positive experience for their customers. Delivery of service can get delayed and tracking the business activities may get difficult.
- Low performance level
Telecom service providers apply IT to the back office to speed up work. But these back office personnel have to work on various applications, systems, platforms and databases. These platforms work simultaneously and need proper coordination which is not always possible. Human intervention is required to solve the problems which can interfere with the work schedules of personnel who are responsible for customer interactions. Such deviations from work routines hinder the creation of positive customer experience.
- Operating Costs and Capital expenditures are high
Telecom service providers incur high costs as they have to protect data, maintain data integrity, pay employee salaries, market their offerings, advertise and invest in expensive breakthrough technology equipments. These costs are very high and need to be controlled. Driving down such costs can shift the attention from creating better services for customers.
How Can RPA Help?
Even though there are obstacles that hinder their progress, telecom operators are leaning towards RPA to eliminate these problems. Adopting RPA technologies will help them improve performance, cut down costs, increase efficiency and improve customer experience. Should the telecom service providers adopt RPA, they will be benefitted in the following ways:
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- Ability to Scale operations
Without incurring additional costs, software robots can be upsized or downsized to cater to the demands. Workflows across departments can be replicated in different departments across various locations. Manual work can be allotted to machines and that frees up personnel to focus on important tasks. This enables telecom service providers to scale and respond better to market situations, growth and temporary fluctuations in demand.
- Efficient Data flow
RPA is able to close the gap between varieties of information sources. Software robots are able to effectively monitor the actions of employees and can easily access data they need to operate. RPA is non-invasive so it can be used along with the existing setup. This will help to share data, information better.
- Cost Reduction
Any new technology that the business wants to implement would come at a cost. But the implementation cost of RPA is not so high as compared to Enterprise Resource Planning or Business process management software. The software license of RPA can be used for more than one process whether it is for back-office or front office tasks. This allows for cost reduction and boosts return on investment.
Why RPA is suited for Telecom Industry?
Telecom operators have a wide range of operations such as database management, customer service management, purchase order management, IT and infrastructure services. Given that RPA is flexible, it can be applied across operations and departments. Some tasks like repetitive back office processes can be automated totally while others can be automated to the desired extent.
Irrespective of the level of automation that RPA adds to the tasks, cost reductions and better efficiency is noticed. RPA is commonly used as a lifeline to free the back office personnel involved in daily mundane repetitive tasks. However when RPA is applied to front office tasks, significant improvements have been noticed. RPA is indeed changing customer experience for the better.
The last few decades has seen the telecom sector riding the wave of new technologies that have disrupted the ecosystem. Adopting new technologies has propelled their growth to a certain extent but as they face newer challenges, they must rise and meet them head on. Machine learning, artificial intelligence and RPA are transforming businesses across industries. The old approaches that are holding them back must be abolished to make way for the new approaches. Telecom service providers that opt for next generation technologies such as RPA can surely reap a plethora of benefits.