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BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

OSS Virtual Event: Aircel's IT HIT

Three OSS Imperatives: Customer, Cost & Cloud -- The CIO of one of India's largest mobile operators told delegates to Light Reading's virtual OSS event today that without a complete transformation of his company's back-office IT systems, the creation and provision of its current mobile data value-added services would not have been possible.

Ravinder Jain, the "chief innovation officer" at Aircel Ltd. , talked with Light Reading previously about the changes at the Indian mobile operator earlier this year, but today he went into greater depth, outlining the new back-office architecture that, the company hopes, will soon be supporting 3G as well as 2G services. (Aircel is one of nine companies bidding for 3G spectrum in an ongoing auction.) (See SPIT Week Spotlight: Aircel's Transformation, Aircel's CIO Talks Innovation , Bids Flood In for India's Spectrum Auctions, and India 3G: Bidding for Glory.)

Jain said Aircel decided in 2008 to transform its IT stack because it wanted to expand and grow, but the operator had high operational costs and disparate systems, many of which were home-grown. "We couldn't get a single view" of the company, he said.

So the decision was made to overhaul the IT systems and invest in a "single, world-class" system to help reduce costs and become more efficient. After 18 months, Aircel launched its "new business," with broader geographic coverage and new services, on the new IT stack, much of which came from Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL). (See Aircel Uses Oracle and Aircel Charges With Telcordia.)

Jain identified the service delivery platform (SDP) as "one of the most critical and important systems we [now] have," and said the SDP and the new customer relationship management (CRM) system (which now provides Aircel with a single view of all its 35 million customers) as the linchpins of its Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) capabilities. (See The SPIT Manifesto.)

He said the introduction of the new IT stack has enabled the operator to optimize its headcount, by focusing the attention of its operations staff toward positive developments rather than firefighting; launch new services in eight new circles (service areas) in just 59 days; reduce the time it takes to introduce a new value-added-service (VAS) to four weeks or less, from 12 to 16 weeks; gain better insight into how its customers are using their services; and respond faster and more accurately to customer issues, with a much higher rate of "first-time resolution" instances.

With the VAS, it's not just the quicker time to market that Aircel has gained, but the ability to provision services it previously could not have handled, such as Dialer Tunes Eat-All-You-Can, which enables customers to change their dial tones as many times as they want. Jain said the company's Pocket Internet service, which offers mobile Internet services to pay-as-you-go customers, was a "game changer" in the Indian market that wouldn't have been possible to launch or support with Aircel's legacy SPIT systems.

One of the major challenges Jain faces is managing the availability and reliability of the new OSS and BSS systems that now underpin the operator's services. He says the company has had to invest in a lot of regular IT hardware and software to monitor the new SPIT systems, and to make sure it's all running smoothly 24/7.

Jain's presentation, along with all the other presentations and the virtual show floor, will be available as part of an archived event on the Light Reading Website within a few days.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:39:03 PM
re: OSS Virtual Event: Aircel's IT HIT

It looks like Aircel made its decision to deploy a whole new back office at the right time, when it had a lot of independent, simple, home-grown systems in place and before it undertook a major expansion, so it didn't have so many integrated legacy systems to replace. Still, it's an impressive user case, and the operator is adding millions of new customers each month without, it seems, any major operational difficulties.

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