Key Benefits of a Central Work Flow Engine
Guide Sales to Deliver “Custom” Services
The key challenge in serving any commercial account is that each customer expects to get a customized offering, even though a telco can never make money
operating that way.
The beauty of the Northflow system, however, is that it manages all the product components of an order.
Customers think they are getting custom services, but in reality the services they get are Lego block creations from standard products in your catalog.
What’s more, the workflow engine simplifies the management of many regulatory and market-specific product variations to make it look like one product for
Workflow is also key to create guided selling for each service, thereby ensuring the accuracy of orders and dramatically shortening sales-to-bill cycles.
One operator explained their program this way:
"Guided selling helps us because integrated access can be sold probably a hundred different ways, but if the right item codes are entered into billing, it’s
accurate and efficient. It helps us get things fulfilled quicker. The big payoff is that the customer is much happier. They know what they ordered, and if
the first bill arrives and it’s close to exactly what they signed, that’s a relief.”
Share Data to Speed Order-to-Cash
Though different systems are used by different departments and people, information is shared so that every person involved in the order/follow up process
has definite time lines assigned.
At one operator, this greatly helped organize their work:
"By having everything go through the order process, we can track orders continuously. Everybody now knows what they have to do and when they have to do it. We also improved the accuracy and completeness of our records — and that’s huge.”
Intelligently Cross Sell & Enable User Control
Having access to accurate and timely data is a big enabler
to cross-selling and pushing products that fit the “lifecycle” of individual customers. Workflow helps in a couple ways. First, it advises salespeople on
what products clients have so they can recommend the next logical product to pitch. And second, workflow delivers a rich self-service capability.
Here’s one operator’s experience:
"A strong self-serve capability is crucial for our consumer customers: we want to give them the ability to make changes to their services whenever they want, and in that way truly control their services.”
Arm Salespeople with Accurate Data
Good salespeople constantly push the limits of what can be delivered to customers, and in that way they move a telecom organization forward. But these
days, if salespeople don’t have an accurate inventory of products and services available in each market, they’re at a big disadvantage.
Here’s one operator’s perspective:
"Knowing what products are available by geography is really helping our salespeople succeed. While a dedicated Ethernet service is available in a region, a switched Ethernet capability may not be available because the equipment is not deployed there yet, so not having that level of detail hurt our sales-to-order process.”
Improve & Monitor Processes via Reports/Dashboard
Mature users of the Northflow system are adept at creating their own reports and dashboards. Average time-to-complete metrics are calculated and bottlenecks are identified to fine tune processes.
Here’s what one manager had to say:
"We’re probably one of the more sophisticated users of the SuiteSolution system. We’ve produced over one hundred different reports and dashboards. For
instance, we created order-pipeline and quoting-sales dashboards. These are beautiful for catching things that enter the danger zone.”
Better Customer Engagement
By steadily automating and improving processes, a workflow engine enables the vital business shift from “order processing firm” to “customer service firm”.
The goal today is to simplify front-end ordering tasks so care reps are free to talk to live customers and in that way serve them better.
Here’s one operator’s perspective:
"We’ve done everything we could to take away the heavy documentation burden. It not only saves time, it also simplifies later analysis of the customer behavior and call center activity.”
Maintain Data Integrity Across Departments
A central workflow system can only deliver its full benefit when there’s highly accurate and complete data behind it. When the workflow system is first
deployed, legacy data often passes through conversion filters dozens of times to ensure its integrity is rock solid. Then, as new data is entered in, controls are inserted to ensure departments maintain the accuracy of the data they’re responsible for.
Here’s what one manager had to say:
"We’re probably one of the more sophisticated users of the SuiteSolution system. We’ve produced over one hundred different reports and dashboards. For instance, we created order-pipeline and quoting-sales dashboards. These are beautiful for catching things that enter the danger zone.”
Consolidate Systems & Reduce Skunkworks
When the information in transactions systems is incomplete or can’t be delivered in a timely fashion, people find their own way of getting things done — and they do that by inventing their own spreadsheets, email tracking methods, etc. But if you let these skunkworks proliferate, you lose efficiency and the business can’t grow. Consolidating on fewer and more integrated systems is key.
According to one manager we spoke to:
"We selected a central workflow engine because we were gearing up to greatly ramp up the business. And by putting the tool in the middle, it helped us get there. We not only got rid of the ad hoc systems, we also converted six or seven systems into just one.”
Promote Team Collaboration
A key secondary benefit of having good workflow and information sharing is that the departmental teams start thinking and acting in a more collaborative way.
Here’s what occurred at one organization:
"Pushing data out to the departments has really helped people collaborate on projects so we’re not behind the eight-ball so much. Rather than waiting for one team to finish before the other begins, they’re working in tandem. People have gained a greater appreciation for the impact of their decisions on the other stakeholder’s mission.”
Optimize Use of Engineering Talent
The wise deployment of network engineers and support people allows you to compete for enterprise business with Tier 1 carriers. For example, you can become
a high-end Cisco reseller and install/deploy VoIP services for large hospitals or build tailored solutions for SMBs.
One operator manager explained it this way:
"Our size has allowed us to employ some exceptional engineering talent. And we used those technical skill sets in every corner of our business: IT, our
equipment business, transport capabilities, and fiber network."
Consolidate Billing Systems
While central workflow is the key capability operators buy from Northflow, the company’s billing system is often used to consolidate the multiple billing systems that have mushroomed in many organizations.
The chief benefit is reduced system maintenance costs and an improved ability to do cross-product discounts. You can send a unified invoice, for example, across wireless, wireline, internet, and flavors of IPTV or digital TV.
Here’s what one exec had to say about consolidation through Northflow’s SuiteSolution:
"Telcos have a very hard time consolidating billing systems. We started out with four, and I think we are one of only a few carriers offering a variety of service types who has been able to get down to one system. Today when a customer joins us, we create the service with one bill. It gives us a really good view of what the customer has and an ability to offer them bundled discounts.”