There is a common belief that industry thrives on innovation. However, this is not always true. A recent article in Inc. magazine highlighted several industries that are in desperate need of innovation, including education, healthcare, furniture, retail and real estate. And this article only scratched the surface; there are several other industries that could use a shot in the arm, including manufacturing, steel production, coal production and of course, telecommunications. It seems counterintuitive to find industries that are not readily innovating, considering we live in a time where innovation happens daily. This begs the question – why do some industries seem to innovate more readily than others?
According to ATL president, Mark Bilton-Smith, with regard to telecommunications, the primary reason is the need to preserve decades of assets.
“There are many legacy policies, processes, procedures and infrastructure in telecom. They were not easily developed and cost significant dollars. It makes sense that protecting those investments would be a priority.”
For many, the idea that innovation does not occur readily, particularly with regard to a foundational industry like telecommunications, is difficult to understand. It’s important to remember that, unlike some of the more recent innovations in the overall industry that include wireless or Voice-over-Internet-Protocol, much of the foundational telecommunications infrastructure has been around for decades, with a large monetary investment in building out the ability to simply talk on the phone to someone in a different state.
Fortunately, there have been innovations made in this industry that give hope to the idea that more can be made.
Keeping Up with The Times
Today you can walk around with a computer and telephone in your hands in the form of a smart phone, and a large percentage of the population does just that. Obviously cellular phones are one of the major advancements in this industry, along with several others.
“Wireless technology, VoIP and the throughput of information supported on copper or fiber have been the most significant advancements,” says Bilton-Smith. “Today it’s about how much data and with how much speed can be pushed across the ground wire lines and wireless frequencies.”
Even with these types of advancements, there are still areas that are working under old regulations, policies and processes. The unfortunate reality is that the wireline portion, which is still a foundational element of the overall telecom infrastructure, still needs a boost. What is needed to ensure that can happen while maintaining forward momentum on newer telecom innovations?
Bilton-Smith believes it’s opening up lines of communication and cooperation while increasing competition – basically engaging in coopetition, a healthy balance of competition and cooperation that benefits everyone.
“We need to really improve coopetition, particularly in the area of number portability for local, national and international,” says Bilton-Smith. “Today’s process is archaic and, until now, was never automated.”
The inequality between carriers and the manual nature of trying to port numbers slows down what should be a seemingly simple process – to move numbers between carriers. This is an opportunity that ATL not only realized, but chose to address in their new product, PortingPro.
Innovating to Improve the Future
Processes that require significant hands-on interaction simply beg for innovation through automation. Such was the case with number portability since CSR (customer service record) and LSR (local service request) were not automated – until now.
“We recognized that the current porting process is too manual and old tool sets are still in use. That makes it difficult to train new people on this process,” says Bilton-Smith. “Additionally, the technology was also older, using some type of USB device or VPN to access the information.”
The team at ATL worked with team members from carriers across the nation to find the pain points, then addressed them in their number porting solution, PortingPro.
“In the U.S. there is one local number administrator and one toll-free number administrator. Having an interface that automated that administration was not a focal point on their end due to the other very important commitments at hand, so we took on that task and created a better interface that is browser-based and much easier to use,” says Bilton-Smith. “Now there is an innovative solution that brings the varying processes of number porting into one place that provides seamless integration and constant visibility on progress.”
PortingPro’s dashboard provides a view into every step of the porting process. In the past, one person had to manage the entire port as it was the only way to keep up. Now, with PortingPro any member of the team can jump in and ensure progress is being made.
The automation provided by PortingPro provides comprehensive workflow, reduction in fallout by as much as 60 percent and the ability to maximize employee resources. Additionally, clients can update E911, CNAM and Directory Listings, which was not available before now.
“We recognize the need for innovation in our industry and are proud to bring forth a service like PortingPro that will simplify and accelerate the number porting process,” says Bilton-Smith. “We look forward to more exciting innovations in the near future, as we know this is the beginning of a much needed change.”
To learn more about PortingPro, contact the ATL team or call 1-800-Porting.