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Reacting to a surge in demand for network bandwidth, today’s telecommunications carriers must do more than respond to demand. New market dynamics require longer-term build plans driven by highly resilient, cross-functional planning.
In this paper, Accenture identifies a new approach, Network and Operations Planning, that can help carriers improve performance significantly.
As personal computers, televisions, mobile devices and personal digital assistants become more versatile, demand for voice, video and data services is booming. This trend is driving unprecedented corresponding demand for network capacity. Some projections forecast that demand for additional network bandwidth will increase 25 fold over the next three years. Each major improvement in network speed and capacity generates new services, devices and applications that raise consumer expectations, using up the added capacity and creating demand for more.
However, this growing consumer demand is not matched by a willingness to pay higher fees for the added capacity. As a result, the speed and quality of network deployment are now key differentiators for telecommunications carriers. It is vital that they deploy new technology and capacity quickly and efficiently—not only to avoid customer defections but to capture available revenue and market share.
The pace of change is forcing carriers to move beyond traditional approaches to building their networks. Yesterday’s best practice—responding to existing customer demand and expanding capacity on a just-in-time basis—is a guarantee of failure in today’s environment.
Instead, companies must now deploy their networks in anticipation of demand, using highly adaptive and well-coordinated planning, construction and engineering programs. This change has substantial impacts throughout the enterprise, including on the supply chain. The new network dynamics require a fundamentally different approach to capital planning, network construction, engineering, technology management, capital equipment forecasting, equipment distribution and vendor collaboration.
Most importantly, supply chain operations must be designed to provide maximum responsiveness to the network construction and engineering teams by making sure equipment is available in the right place at the right time. Fortunately, increased volume provides opportunities to change the traditional methods for procurement and distribution of network equipment.
Challenges that cannot be addressed by “business as usual” include:
To address these challenges, it is necessary to transform key aspects of the traditional network planning and building approach in three areas:
Plan all aspects of the network deployment using a common network and operations planning process that spans organizations.
Use a “command center” model to coordinate execution and manage progress against build plans.
Take advantage of the increased volume to accelerate the way network equipment is procured and fulfilled.
Specifically, the network and operations planning approach will address the inefficiencies and delays that plague network deployments. It enables coordination within the carrier and with external partners (for example, equipment suppliers, turf vendors, other carriers) by providing a framework to dynamically meet the demands in crucial areas including:
Jason Cook is a partner in Accenture’s Communications, Media and Technology Management Consulting group with 16 years heavily focused on the telecommunications industry. He has extensive experience helping clients develop and implement innovative solutions for network planning and logistics. He graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Montana.
Adam Hutchinson is a senior manager in Accenture’s Communications, Media and Technology Management Consulting group. He has 14 years’ experience in supply chain planning and fulfillment and has worked extensively with mobile carriers including leading initiatives to develop and implement processes across planning, construction and provisioning of major telecommunications network upgrades. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Operations Management from James Madison University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago—Booth School of Business.
September 19, 2012
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