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Why Is Provisioning Worse, Not Better?


Edward O'ConnorBy Edward O’Connor, Vice President of Network Technology and Sales,


Total Communications Inc.

Why is the network services implementation process continuing to decline? We ask ourselves this question time and time again  usually when the cutover is in a state of mass confusion. By now we, as an industry, should be really good at this, but were not.

Our company processes hundreds of orders monthly, and its amazing to see how our customer service reps shudder when it comes to cutovers, number porting and a host of similar activities. Those of us in the industry all bemoan the sad state of affairs.

Where Does the Problem Lie?

Is it poor information at the state of the order process? Is it poorly set expectations to the customer at the time of sale or on coordination calls? Are all of the players engaged? Is the carrier winning business? Is the carrier losing business? Is your backroom staff engaged?

Did the rep just pass orders through and not alert project coordination?

These are all important issues, but I would add the carriers internal issues:

  • Have all of the cost-reducing efforts eliminated senior well-versed workers from the process?
  • Are the carriers (still) not playing well in the sandbox together?
  • Were all of the TNs included?
  • Did the service provider losing the service not coordinate with the acquiring carrier?
  • Did the work by the CO get cutover without any regard to the overall cutover?

We agents are all worked up and our channel managers are all in frenzy, but the issues are never addressed. Why? Maybe these systemic problems are too far removed from the front line. And just like in a Six Sigma project, the root causes are not addressed.

I dont have all of the answers, but until the industry invests in pursuing fixes to these supposed nonrevenue-producing” efforts, we all will continue to suffer. Carriers will lose revenue and agents will lose commissions  because customers retreat to another solution.

What do you think? What can be done? Whose responsibility is it to pursue a fix? Where is an oversight process to provide world-class service?

Edward OConnor is the vice president of network services and sales at
Total Communications Inc.,
which has more than 30 years operating experience in the voice, data, network management, and structured cabling arenas as a large interconnect solution provider, representing the Cisco and Mitel/Inter-Tel product lines. Total Communications Inc. also is a master agency representing multiple carriers. OConnor has more than 25 years experience as a leader in telecommunications firms, with expertise in PBX and network sales, marketing, engineering and operations. Over the past 15 years of his career he has held senior sales management positions with SBC, MFS, Brooks Fiber Communications, and MCI, with responsibilities during those assignments handling SMB, wholesale, enterprise and global markets. He also is a member of the
2010-11 PHONE+ /Channel Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board.

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