As any business in the industry, you have to deal with tons of tasks. Data entry, invoicing, inventory management, all of these tasks are crucial but mind-numbingly repetitive. So instead of humans toiling away at these repetitive tasks, robotic process automation (RPA) software steps in, like a virtual assistant taking care of the tedious stuff. The result? Your human workforce is freed up to focus on creativity and high-value work.
And it's not just telecom. RPA is making waves across various industries. Banking, healthcare, you name it – RPA's footprint is expanding. It's not merely about making tasks easier; it's about making businesses smarter, more efficient, and customer-centric. Just look at the numbers: in 2022, the global RPA market boasted a staggering value of $2.3 billion. Moreover, projections indicate a jaw-dropping growth rate of 39.9% from 2023 to 2030.
At Flyaps, we've spent a decade guiding telecom giants through the ever-evolving landscape of technological trends, so they would keep up with competitors and offer the best possible services for their customers. And that is exactly what happened when RPA emerged. We’ve got a lot of experience with this technology, having mastered its ins and outs across various industries, including telecom. And that's why we decided to delve into the practical side of this technological revolution.
In this article, we're going to unravel the real-world stories, the RPA use cases in telecom, and the implementation steps that have transformed telecom companies. So, keep reading!
RPA in telecom use cases
RPA is a great instrument for automating repetitive tasks in almost every department of a telecom company. Let's take a look at some real-life examples of how RPA has made big improvements in the telecom industry. We'll start by talking about two of our important clients, NetSpark IP & Telecom and Nextgen Clearing.
Automated calculations for mobility engagement NetSpark IP & Telecom, a telecom consulting company based in the US, faced a significant challenge as they grew. Their team relied on manual processes and lacked a centralized system to manage their project workflows and client relationships. This became particularly troublesome when employees needed to determine the best tariff plans for their clients. This task was both time-consuming and intricate, often involving up to 10 people in a single project, and placing a considerable strain on their resources.
To tackle this issue and streamline their operations, NetSpark turned to Flyaps, leveraging our extensive experience in the telecom industry and our highly skilled team. Collaborating closely with leaders from various departments, we meticulously assessed NetSpark's specific business needs. In just three months, we developed a customized CRM/ERP system featuring a built-in RPA-based calculation tool.
This innovative system enabled NetSpark to automate the labor-intensive process of analyzing client data and recommending the most suitable tariff plans. Furthermore, it provided different user roles and access rights, ensuring that NetSpark employees and customers had secure and relevant access to the system.
As a result of streamlining back-office tasks with RPA, NetSpark significantly reduced manual work and, consequently, increased its revenue.
Automated invoicing for roaming services
RPA in telecom has the ability to digitize bills, which saves employees valuable time, allowing them to focus on tasks that generate better revenue. When combined with AI, telecommunications companies can achieve even more impressive results.
The thing here is that RPA excels with structured data, but when paired with AI, it can also handle unstructured information, such as data in PDFs. By combining RPA and AI, you can automate the invoicing process, even if your clients use PDFs and each of them has a unique way of formatting their documents. Let’s see how it’s done.
Nextgen Clearing, a top-notch global roaming services provider operating across 13 countries. The company helps their clients manage financial transactions between operators by streamlining complex processes like wholesale roaming, interconnect, and financial clearing.
Working with telecom operators around the world, Nextgen uses a number of tools to manage different parts of the roaming business, billing included. However, their billing system had a problem - it could create separate agreements between operators and their partners, but not between an entire strategic alliance of operators (hub) and this aliance's partner. As the number of such hubs grew rapidly, Nextgen staff had to create agreements for them manually. This required invoices that showed both the total amount for the hub and the breakdown for each operator within the hub.
Nextgen employees had to generate invoices for each operator within the hub using their old app, then painstakingly compiling them into a single bill. Extracting data, crunching numbers, creating PDF invoices, and sending them out was a labor-intensive chore.
Soon, Nextgen Clearing realized they needed an automated solution. That's when they turned to Flyaps for help.
We created the FC Hub application to automate hub invoicing. However, there were challenges to overcome. In each invoice, amounts could appear in different currencies, including the agreement's currency and partners' local currencies. Our system had to convert the stored SDR amount into multiple currencies and incorporate them into the invoices.
Handling diverse PDF invoices from clients was another challenge. Each client had their unique way of generating PDF invoices, so we developed parsers tailored to each partner and clearing company. This allowed FC Hub to extract the necessary data and accurately allocate values among affiliates.
Integration with other systems was crucial. Nextgen Clearing's clients used Oracle Fusion for reporting, so we ensured the system could convert invoice data into the required Oracle Fusion format. Additionally, we designed the system to integrate seamlessly with Qlik, a powerful business intelligence tool. This integration empowered Nextgen Clearing to harness Qlik's analytical capabilities, enabling data-driven decisions and valuable insights.
Through our collaboration, Nextgen Clearing automated their cooperation with telecom hubs, freeing their financial department from manual tasks. The streamlined process, built-in support for various currencies, PDF parsing, and seamless integration with different systems, ensured efficiency, accuracy, and improved productivity for both Nextgen Clearing and their clients.
RPA bots gather data from various sources, perform calculations, and generate comprehensive reports within minutes. Our colleagues from IBA Group shared their experience with automating document preparation for a telecom company they prefer not to name. In this case, the telecom company faced the challenge of processing data related to their partners, transferring it from Excel spreadsheets to their SAP ERP system, and then creating Word documents for additional agreements with contractors, all of which needed to seamlessly integrate into their workflow.
To tackle this challenge, IBA Group conducted a thorough benchmarking analysis of leading RPA in telecom systems, including UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism. Ultimately, they chose UiPath as the preferred RPA solution for the telco's needs.
The Software development company implemented an algorithm capable of extracting data from Excel files, processing it, and seamlessly entering it into the SAP system. Moreover, they designed the RPA robot to automatically generate contracts in Word format using the extracted data.
As a result, the solution built by IBA Group not only accelerates the document preparation process but also frees up the company's workforce from repetitive, time-consuming tasks. With RPA handling the laborious work, employees now have more time to focus on analytical tasks that bring value and innovation to the company.
RPA bots are customer support superheroes. They can swiftly analyze customer inquiries, convert them into support tickets, and even provide instant responses from the company's knowledge base. This means quicker resolutions, happier customers, and a more efficient support team. Let's see how it can be achieved.
AIS, a prominent telecom company in Thailand, embarked on a digital transformation journey in 2019. Their primary goals were enhancing customer service and supplier engagement, improving employee job satisfaction by automating routine tasks, and fully digitizing their operations to enhance efficiency and generate additional revenue streams. To achieve these objectives, they turned to UiPath's RPA platform.
Their automation journey began with a proof of concept (PoC) that involved testing RPA technology and gaining support from division heads and senior leadership.
To ensure a smooth RPA adoption, AIS established a Center of Excellence (CoE), securing buy-in from upper management and upskilling employees. 16 trainers upskilled 800 employees to become "citizen developers" capable of creating their RPA solutions.
Through a structured self-learning course and advanced developer training, AIS employees became proficient in RPA, empowering them to identify and automate 560 processes, saving 197 full-time equivalents (FTEs).
The benefits were evident across business units. In Operations, RPA reduced employee workload by 72,000 work hours, particularly in handling customer inquiries. In Corporate Finance, RPA reduced errors and saved over 36,000 work hours by automating tasks such as transaction reconciliation and invoicing. The Advance Contact Center (ACC) division deployed 30 robots, reducing open screens, working steps, and complaints to zero while increasing productivity.
Customer onboarding and offboarding
When it comes to customer management, RPA bots can streamline the onboarding of new customers, keeping all the necessary information collected and organized. On the flip side, when customers leave, RPA in telecom makes offboarding a breeze, ensuring data security and compliance.
An example of its transformative impact can be observed in a recent case where 10xDS developed an intelligent automation solution to streamline the quality acceptance check process before accepting SIM card requests from a telecommunications company's clients.
Before implementing RPA, the customer onboarding process faced numerous challenges. It was a fully manual, and repetitive procedure that involved matching data from scanned ID proofs with internal applications manually. This outdated method led to inefficiencies and significant delays in SIM card issuance, ultimately resulting in customer dissatisfaction.
To address this pressing challenge, 10xDS designed an RPA-based intelligent automation solution. The RPA bot verifies data, validates results, and sends daily status reports, eliminating the need for manual intervention at various stages of the process.
According to McKinsey, RPA has the potential to handle between 40% and 80% of service desk ticket resolution tasks. This especially applies to routine duties like password resets and login issues. Let's look at how Brastel, a Tokyo-based telecom company, took the opportunity to make such remarkable progress with the help of RPA.
The telecom landscape was evolving rapidly, with customers preferring various communication channels beyond traditional phone calls. To meet customer expectations, Brastel expanded its communication channels to include social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Line. However, this led to a complex environment where employees had to juggle between multiple tabs and windows to provide timely responses, resulting in operational inefficiencies.
To address these challenges, Brastel adopted a multi-faceted approach, using RPA and customer service tools. They integrated LiveChat to handle synchronous customer communications, streamlining social media interactions into a single interface. KnowledgeBase was introduced for internal knowledge management, helping agents create FAQs and articles to enhance customer support.
But the ticketing system remained a bottleneck, with unresolved chats converting into tickets. The existing email template was not customizable, and agents had to manually validate customer IDs, update databases, and send responses, a process taking up to 25 minutes per ticket.
To address these inefficiencies, Brastel decided to use the HelpDesk system, an RPA-powered solution. By automating ticket resolution processes, the solution reduced the time required to handle each ticket by 39%. As a result, customers now experience faster response times, and improved service quality, leading to a greater satisfaction.
RPA in telecom implementation strategy: 5 main steps
To achieve the results similar to the examples we covered, it's essential to understand how to automate business processes when integrating RPA into your telco business.
Step 1: Evaluate your business processes
The initial step for you as a business owner looking to implement RPA in the telecom industry is to thoroughly examine every task within your business processes. If you identify tasks that don't contribute much or are overly bureaucratic, you should eliminate them. The goal here is to redesign the entire process for greater efficiency.
For instance, many traditional telecom providers still include steps like manual verification of customer bills and payments. With RPA, you can automatically cross-check invoices and payments, ensuring accuracy and reducing the risk of errors.
Step 2: Identify the process you want to automate
In the telecom world, all processes fall into two categories: transactional and decisive. Transactional processes, which involve lots of repetitive work, are usually prime candidates for automation. To identify these, look for tasks with high volumes, lots of manual effort, repetitive actions, and rule-based tasks.
For instance, your telco receives a significant number of service orders from corporate clients daily. Each order involves a series of manual steps, including data entry, verification, and order tracking. With hundreds of orders coming in, this process is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors.
Transactional element in this case would be the order processing that involves high volumes of requests, and verification and data entry tasks would be repetitive actions.
Step 3: Create an automation plan
Once you've picked a process to automate, the next step would be to create a specific plan for automation. This plan should be tailored to your company's unique structure and the specific requirements of the chosen process.
For example, if you decide to automate the process of call barring, you'll need to carefully examine each step involved. Determine which steps can be automated and which ones to potentially remove. Let's say you identify that verifying the removal of call barring doesn't add significant value. In this case, you can eliminate this step from the process to make it more efficient.
Step 4: Assemble a team
Quite evident from the use cases above, for a successful implementation of RPA in the telecom business, you should assemble a team that will help you handle all technical tasks. This is both a time and money saver. It can be a team from a pre-built solution provider if you find a ready-made solution that aligns with your needs. Alternatively, it can be a trustworthy software development company if you decide to build a custom solution.
When selecting an RPA in the telecom service provider, it's crucial to find one with the right expertise. Look for a provider that:
1. Has experience with RPA projects specifically in the telecom industry.
2. Offers an end-to-end process consulting and deployment framework.
3. Understands the unique challenges of your industry.
4. Provides tools tailored to telecom processes.
Step 5: Test and launch
Now comes the testing phase. You'll have to run a pilot to see how well your automation plan performs. This phase is critical for fine-tuning your automation approach.
Finally, it’s time to roll out your RPA plan with the combined efforts of your IT department, business unit, and RPA solution provider. The goal is to deploy advanced automation solutions to improve both front and back-office workflows, ultimately enhancing productivity and customer satisfaction.
How Flyaps can help you with RPA in telecom
For a solid decade, Flyaps has been deeply rooted in the telecom industry, crafting products that have been used by over 100 telecom companies. Big players like Orange Group, Hutchison 3G, and Telenor Group have trusted us with software development.
Here’s how we can assist you.
Business process automation consulting: we can assist you in identifying and automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, like customer billing and data entry, using RPA, AI and other advanced technologies.
Custom RPA solutions development: leveraging our expertise, we can create tailor-made RPA solutions to fit your telco's specific needs. This includes designing bots to handle tasks unique to the telecom industry, such as managing call records or optimizing network configurations.
Integrating an RPA-based system with your existing infrastructure: we can seamlessly integrate RPA solutions with your telco's existing ecosystem, ensuring compatibility and minimal disruption. This enables a smooth transition to automation while maintaining data security and compliance with industry regulations.
Eager to transform your workflow with RPA? Reach out to us today!