Technological advancements in telecommunications are keeping everyone on their toes, as communication service providers (CSPs) obsess over the next big thing to roll out and change the way the world communicates, stays informed, manages its daily lives, and more.
Inside organizations and their NOCs and IT departments, infrastructures that establish and maintain digital communication and solid connectivity — the driving force behind ever-increasing customer experience — need consistent upgrades. And that upkeep can easily cost a pretty penny.
CSPs often call the investment shots and base them on what the future holds. For the next five years, in fact, investments are expected to break the $50 billion mark with most of that spending going to 5G and automation of network operations and services.
Telco automation journeys are going strong for many organizations worldwide, with the implementation of network automation underway or plans to start the process locked in place. In a time when efficiency and saving money are top of mind for company leaders, today’s rising demands position automation as the perfect tool to sail through challenges and reach business goals. As more and more telcos realize the value of automating their networks, they’re taking innovative action sooner rather than later to reduce costs, produce revenue, and generate return on investment (ROI).
Breaking Down Five Automation Benefits
The positive change that automation offers telcos has no limit. For instance, a wide variety of tasks can be automated to strategically utilize NOC operators and technician hours, improve decision-making, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. At the end of the day, these moves equate to adding capacity to already-strained resources and balancing top priorities at the same time, without fail. Some of these priorities include automation workflows across disparate systems, ensuring capacity is available on-demand, and orchestrating network silos.
Automation proves to be of great benefit to the telco sector, especially when facing today’s tallest obstacles. It’s about benefits that are imperative to the business rather than bonuses or nice-to-have perks – those that ensure the reliable, fast, and personalized service that customers expect. Automation enables the proactive identification and resolution of customer issues, optimizes network performance, and helps organizations meet service level agreements (SLAs).
Take a look at some of the benefits of automation today:
Freeing up NOC engineer’s by automating repetitive, low-value tasks is nothing new. Meeting business demands requires critical focus from NOC teams, who are needed for the complex, most impactful processes. Automating manual tasks reduces staff workloads, and leads to faster service delivery, and labor-related cost savings.
Telecom network complexity is deepening at an alarming rate, as it expands beyond what human
IT staff can manage. It’s not even about being buried in mundane tasks and risking human error. It’s about having to have advanced AI/ML-powered tools to analyze the enormous data volume that networks handle today and enabling human teams to make better predictions on network behavior, effectively identify potential issues, and act on proactive measures.
Enhanced customer experience
Customers expect so much reliability and performance from their services that when an issue arises, they won’t tolerate the time it takes to fix the problem. They don’t want disruptions and when the inevitable happens, they demand immediate help. For instance, customers can use chatbots for routine interactions and resolution of common issues, like billing or technical support, without having to wait on human help or jump through unnecessary hoops. The sooner they can get back to business, the happier they’ll be, which means business-critical satisfaction and loyalty.
Reduced operational costs
Workforce allocation is a prominent area for automation opportunity, with an increasing focus on left-shifting and freeing up L1 engineers. Automating L1 tasks makes key resources available, boosts operational efficiency, and reduces operational costs. Automation also helps to prevent downtime, which can cost organizations a tremendous amount of loss due to the impact on productivity and outages. Even the shortest amount of time that a service is unavailable can do serious, long-term financial damage by keeping customers from using them.
Improved competitive advantage
Automation is a key differentiator from company to company. It means “keeping up with the Joneses” and outdoing the level of service quality they provide. Customers will migrate to and stick with the company that offers the most reliable, fastest, and tailored services, as well as product affordability and resiliency, and that’s what puts one organization ahead of the others when it comes to competitive advantage.
New innovations in Telecoms Forecasted to Reach a Value of $10 billion
AI in telecommunications is predicted to expand at a CAGR of 43.10 percent, and the market for AI in telecommunications is projected to be worth $10.30 billion by 2030, according to an early 2023 research report by Market Research Future (MRFR), as published by a GlobeNewswire press release.
With predictions like these, investment in AI and automation becomes a no-brainer as it relates to business growth, as network size and sophistication has simply outgrown what humans can do.
IT Automation Investing and the ROI that Comes with It
Think about how far we’ve come since 2020, when the world proved remote work was possible, data volumes climbed higher than anyone imagined, and the expectations of employees and customers threw businesses for a loop. As a result of it all, the relevance of automation in the telecommunications industry couldn’t be more clear.
From a financial perspective, organizations aren’t yet out of the weeds and decision makers still heavily lean on the frugal side of spending. An economic downturn left many companies, including telcos and almost every other business, on shaky ground with plummeting revenues and declining profit margins. Organizations aren’t ready to freely invest in too many solutions at this time, even though investments can still be a priority coupled with managing cash flow and evaluating ROI with a very close eye.
ROI helps to assess the expected return on a project relative to its initial cost to evaluate the potential value of an investment.
To calculate ROI, you’ll need to factor in:
Cost savings: Estimate how much your organization can save by automating specific tasks or processes. This may include labor cost reductions, decreased error rates, and increased productivity.
Implementation costs: Account for the upfront expenses associated with the IT automation project, such as software, hardware, training, and integration with existing systems.
Ongoing costs: Consider the ongoing costs of maintaining and operating the automation system, including software updates, maintenance, and potential future enhancements.
Intangible benefits: While harder to quantify, it’s essential to recognize intangible benefits, such as improved employee satisfaction, reduced risk of errors, and enhanced agility in adapting to market changes.
Investing in an IT automation and orchestration tool is a direct route to automating high-value processes and use cases – much more so than minor, single tasks. As each process builds on another and leverages the same data sources, the tool will result in a significant ROI jump and a reduced payback period.