Most of the operators and service providers we work with are keen to have an end-to-end, Lead to Cash process that ensures effective service delivery, customer satisfaction and revenue collection. In most cases, there is still a lot to do to get there. Many telecommunications businesses still have ‘silo-based’ BSS systems and processes that are not very well joined-up – virtually guaranteeing erratic service delivery, questionable customer service and revenue leakage.
Recognising this, it is tempting to embark on a major transformation programme designed to achieve the required level of system and process integration. While this is entirely understandable, too many of these projects fail, resulting in loss of both money and time. We have written previously about the main reasons for the failure of large-scale IT projects – see ‘Turning the Tide: How to stop IT projects failing’ and ‘Project Delivery Assurance – a United approach’ (http://www.t-exec.com/downloads/ ). We want to focus here on a low risk, value-driven approach to achieving effective Lead to Cash performance that maximizes business value and ROI.
Our recommended approach calls for the execution of a series of small-scale projects, preferably using an ‘Agile’ methodology, configured according to an overall architectural ‘blueprint’ for the Lead to Cash process. These individual projects should each be designed in harmony with the overall blueprint, but be focused on those areas where value (to the business and to its customers) and ROI are agreed to be high. In general, these projects should be of around 3 months duration, involve only 6 – 10 people and result in the delivery of working systems and processes that are then immediately released to the business. Project teams should include representatives of the business stakeholders, as well as the required analysts, developers and testers, all working closely together under the guidance of an experienced Project Manager.
Working in this way, the ultimate shape of the solution is defined at high-level in the architectural blueprint, but the individual projects are designed to deliver real value to the business immediately. This avoids the situation – seen all too often – where major programmes take years to deliver any meaningful value as a result of endless discussions about requirements, resources, budgets, and so on. The sheer number of people and factors involved in these programmes makes them hugely difficult to deliver successfully (see Standish Group, Chaos Report 2013). And even when results are delivered, there is a real risk that the actual needs of the business will have moved on over the duration of the programme, reducing its ultimate value.
We believe that very few organisations can afford to run transformation programmes this way, where the business sees no value at all until a large investment is already sunk into the programme, for better or worse. Instead, an approach that defines the required architecture at the outset, and then executes mini-projects based on achieving immediate value can deliver what the business really needs, even when this is shifting as the work progresses.
Effective Lead to Cash processes are essential to success and growth in the telecommunications sector. The smart businesses will adopt a flexible strategy based on small-scale projects within a well-designed overall BSS architecture.
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