Southern Communications Group have instigated the “buy back time” program, which aims to identify where an engineering process can be automated and release the personnel from through life management, whilst improving their design capabilities.
A few words from SCG’s CTO Matthew Wring describing their decision to partner with PacketFront for network orchestration:
Southern Communications Group – The challenge of growth
Southern Communications Group (SCG) is a rapidly growing business that deploys own brand connectivity products across the service stack, from direct internet access through private wide area networks to software overlay products such as hosted telephony, supporting a wide range of business verticals including critical and blue light services. The group continues to expand both through organic growth and acquisition. Over the last 10 years the group has grown from £12m turnover to £130m today, whilst maintaining focus on the customer experience which has resulted in industry leading low churn.
The challenge is, exponential growth places significant strain on resources and, acquisition brings complexity of product and knowledge, with wide variations in components used to create the same effect. Variation and low levels of documentation require higher levels of technical expertise across all operatives, and this increases the strain on already maxed out high level technical personnel. The final effect is to stifle innovation and to slow down development of next generation networking methodologies that bring greater productivity and improved margins.
We are all aware moving forward ISP’s are expected to be much more proactive in the management of the end point devices and, at SCG our challenge is greater because we provide products across the whole service chain. With the demise of ISDN and PSTN and the move to all IP, this challenge will only increase and there will never be enough technical expertise to cover the demand.
Buy Back Time using automation
The answer is either to hire or train more technical experts or to make the systems more efficient. We are all aware of the shortage and therefore cost of skilled engineering staff in the UK, who can both design and deploy, so the former is not an option.
CTO Matthew Wring says: “At SCG we have instigated the “buy back time” program, which aims to identify where an engineering process can be automated and release the personnel from through life management, whilst improving their design capabilities. This is a root and branch approach that starts with simplification of components, looks to standardise the configuration of these components, and then automate this utilizing an orchestration tool set.”
Vendor agnostic Network Orchestration from PacketFront
For orchestration we cannot be vendor specific, or rather if we were we would have to train and operate multiple vendor orchestration tools, which is inefficient and costly. We therefore went to the market to find a vendor agnostic tool set that included a rich API capability that would allow us to integrate the processes into the many data platforms in uses across the group. PacketFront and its feature rich vendor agnostic orchestration capability, came out as the best in class during our extensive beauty parade. Key to its feature set was the ability to incorporate “brown field” deployed CPE’s and to allow a small team to take over these devices and manage them forward.
Utilizing this tool set alongside our simplify and standardise program, we will be able to remove inefficiency, stop our senior technicians from burning out, remove complexity from the deployment and through life management so spreading the load to non-technical personnel, scale the network, remove errors, and enhance the information available to both our personnel and the customer, thus improving the customer experience.
Read more about SCG, BECS, BBE and more news
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