This article was initially published in March 2019 and has been updated in December 2020.
Telecommunications companies are increasingly faced with people’s need to be connected with diverse, global networks. As a consequence, telco providers compete with one another to provide the fastest, most affordable, and innovative services.
In order to support rapid growth, telecom companies need to solve the problems posed by large volumes of operational processes — managing data, controlling cost, increasing business agility, acquiring talent, and developing new services.
Robotic process automation in telecom allows companies to transform operational processes, achieve high levels of organisational growth, and significantly enhance the quality of customer service offerings. It brings advantages such as enhanced agility and scalability, improved data communication and transmission, high levels of data security, and last but not least, significant cost reduction.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Robotic process automation (RPA) brings benefits to the telecommunications industry because it’s supported by high frequency manual, repetitive, rules-based processes, which are critical for an appropriate service delivery. The basis of telecom is thus made up of processes which are highly eligible for automation.
The high reliability and accuracy of process outcomes is a must for telecommunication companies that wish to boost their customer service. And this is not easily achievable, taking into consideration typical preconditions of task fulfillment, like the need to go over numerous systems, querying or updating them.
Moreover, telecom providers have to be ready to cope with increased service demands whenever the need arises. This makes a scalable workforce a reasonable entry on their checklist. The use of robotic process automation in telecom reduces error rates (i.e., near zero), improves data quality, boosts customer service, and ups operational efficiency, while also making a significant contribution to cost reduction.
According to AB Newswire, in the Asia-Pacific region, the telecommunications industry has some of the highest adoption rates of RPA technology (together with healthcare, retail, IT, BFSI). A Market Research Report includes a forecast for the RPA market until 2024, during which period, telecom and IT appear to be leading the automation trend in business processes, with a phenomenal growth rate (CAGR) of 60%.
In the first article from this series, we recommended to always mull over robotic process automation use cases as a ‘learning by doing’ process. So let us take a look at some bits of relevant factual information about RPA use cases in the telecommunications industry.
How the telecommunications industry can benefit from RPA
We’ll start with a more extended case study, about the intervention of RPA provider UiPath turning problem-solving for a telecom company into a success story. We’ll then go on to present 8 more robotic process automation use cases, specific to the automation of individual processes in the telecommunications industry.
UiPath case study for robotic process automation (RPA) in telecommunications
The client is a large Australian telecommunications and media company, set to automate its order creation and service removal process in order to better deal with an extremely large volume of transactional data. ‘To better deal’ stands for ‘to reduce the costs involved by the company’s speed booster discount service’, i.e., AUD 20/ customer/ month. UiPath took on this challenge, and approached it by automating the order build process and service removal activity.
“Within 4 weeks, UiPath provided 4 robots, running 24/7 on the client’s CRM system, which were able to process 480–600 daily orders, and, based on these, generate daily reports to be discussed with stakeholders. In the first four months, 25.000 orders have been processed by automating 90% of transactions. The telecom company thus saved 10 FTES.
8 use cases for robotic process automation (RPA) in telecom
1. Periodic report preparation and dissemination
The above success story about robotic process automation in telecom includes an instance of report auto-generation, too. Upon generation, the bot can also analyze the content of the report. Based on the provided criteria, it can decide which stakeholders the report is relevant to, and email it to them. The information thus flows more efficiently.
2. Responding to partner queries
Software robots are smart enough to interpret emails, respond to simple questions, and forward complex ones to humans. This is particularly useful for telecom companies, which usually rely on partners like independent brokers to sell their services.
3. Reducing manual sales order processing effort
RPA technology can capture the business process tasks performed by the employees of a telecom company. Based on employees’ actions, a well structured workflow can be generated, which serves as an infrastructure for automated processes. By mapping each process step with its associated cost for manual execution, it is easy to identify the automation of which steps leads to highest return on investment.
Those steps should be prioritised for intelligent automation, since they would also lead to the greatest reduction of manual processing effort. As a result, information flow efficiency is also improved. This application area is a good example of RPA helping to manage large, unstructured datasets.
4. Competitor price tracking
The transparency of online pricing is a strong motivator for tracking competitors’ prices, especially in the case of eCommerce. And since eCommerce is becoming the norm in telecommunications according to CNBC, careful price monitoring is a very valuable asset.
It goes without saying that automation, with its error-proofness and 24/7 capacity to work, can provide a telecom company with the most careful kind of comparative price analysis. Moreover, software robots can do the tracking at individual, category and brand level, which can offer deeper understanding of the competitive outlook.