Why It's Time for Service Providers
to Digitalize Field Operations
Whether COVID-19 or the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), it’s clear the broadband industry is almost singularly focused on expansion. Having said that, the question is whether Service Providers are truly ready to efficiently expand their network footprints and grow their subscriber bases. Either of these drivers could easily be viewed as a disruption (or opportunity), but conversely driving a new paradigm for the industry.
Let’s face it, communication and efficiency improvements are needed to capitalize on this opportunity. Both internally and externally. The increase in demand is also driving the need and support of third-party contractors who most likely sit outside of any current digital solution. Real-time communication and location awareness can help Service Providers expedite build outs, drive timely marketing deployments, and decrease the time to revenue for new subscribers.
Too much is still being done on paper. From site survey, build out, installation and cut over, Service Providers need a digital solution. Waiting for survey information from the field is costly and time consuming. Not knowing when work is completed and ready for the next step in the process compounds the problem. Digitizing workflows can improve the timeliness and accuracy of the data. Real-time information exchange can transform the process, drive efficiency, increase time to revenue, and lower overall costs.
The need for expansion coupled with the time sensitive nature drives the need to add third party support. Existing tools (except paper) generally cannot extend to include third party contractors. Having a critical extension of the team outside of any current process creates inefficiency and risk.
As data is being collected or work completed, being able to, visualize it all on a map, on one screen helps evolve the process. Getting everyone from the field, including contractors, all the way to the back office on to the same page is critical. Visualizing where surveys are being done, work being completed, drops that need to be buried, etc. on any screen should be an imperative.
Paper is very ineffective and transposing that information into the planning/drafting GIS system takes time and is error prone. A better solution is to ls leverage digital solution APIs to automate the information flow and direct integrations to reduce both time and errors.