Alaskan service provider General Communication Inc. has transformed its OSS/BSS capabilities in order to improve customer experience, increase its business agility and offer its customers new business models.
General Communication Inc. (GCI) (Nasdaq: GNCMA), which is the largest telecommunications company in Alaska, improved its OSS/BSS backoffice platform though its "Polaris Program," which was designed to reduce operational costs through managed services as well as adding more automation into its call center operations. By going to an automated and streamlined fulfillment and provisioning process, the company can bring services to market at a faster rate.
The enhanced platform also enables GCI to provide one invoice for all of its consumer products while also reducing the time it takes to provide customers with quotes for new services; all of which was designed to lead to faster sales cycles and improved customer satisfaction.
Maureen Moore, chief customer experience officer for GCI, is responsible for the creation and execution of an overall customer experience strategy for all services -- cable TV, Internet, wireless and local/long distance phone -- as well as all customer touch points. Moore provided more details on GCI's Polaris Program in this Q&A with Telco Transformation.
Telco Transformation: What is GCI's Polaris Program, and when did you start implementing it?
Maureen Moore: The goal of GCI's Polaris Program is to comprehensively transform the systems and processes that support our BSS infrastructure, which includes GCI's call center, backoffice, billing and retail operations. Additionally, a big data migration will consolidate customer accounts and services from two billing systems to one as part of the program.
Initial planning for the Polaris Program started in early 2015. Request for proposal, vendor evaluation and selection, as well as contract negotiation, continued through the first quarter of 2016, and the official program kicked off in April 2016.
TT: Have you seen any operational efficiencies to date, or do you have examples of how the customer experience has improved?
MM: We're not far enough along yet. However, based on what we have seen initially, we will gain efficiencies that will improve our overall customer experience.
TT: Did this project also involve the integration of wireless services?
MM: This project will include the integration of our cable billing platform with our wireline -- Internet, mobile, local and long distance -- billing platform, enabling us to provide customers with one invoice for all telecom services.
TT: This is one area where GCI is developing a new ecosystem around its next-gen back office OSS/BSS capabilities and digital customer experience platforms, but are there others?
MM: The Polaris Program is a multi-year, multi-phased initiative. Future phases include enriching the BSS and digital customer ecosystem, enterprise performance management and supply chain management.
TT: How is GCI adapting its platform strategy to the digital service landscape?
MM: We live in a digital world and we're taking this opportunity to upgrade our platforms to better support our products and services now and in the future.
TT: What is GCI doing in terms of building a platform with open APIs that enable interaction with partners or third-party developers?
MM: This is not really applicable to the Polaris Program, as we aren't exposing the platform to partners or third-party developers.
TT: What has GCI deployed in terms of analytics systems that help its customer experience strategy?
MM: We have a couple of programs in the works, but it's too early to discuss.
TT: Do you have any plans for SDN and/or NFV?
MM: Not in Phase 1, but [they are] possible candidates for future phases.
TT: Do you face more challenges given GCI's large geographic footprint?
MM: Geography is not necessarily the challenge; however, technology -- fiber versus satellite -- can present some challenges. Additionally, ensuring end-to-end customer visibility across product and business lines can be a challenge.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation