At Mapcom we created a platform for exchanging information between departments for communication service providers, campuses, and utilities. The major highlight of this platform is the capability to bring all the information within those organizations into a single database; once there it can be correlated, enriched, and presented to various departments. This is our approach to managing complexities and delivering services for our 180 clients. However, it’s not the only approach we have seen—many of our new customers migrate from the “all-in-one” solutions.
All-in-one solutions offer many promises to their customers, such as promises to make operations more efficient, decrease the costs of support systems, and provide data visibility to other departments. The difference between the all-in-ones and our platform approach is openness and flexibility. With our platform we also make operations more efficient, decrease the costs of support systems, and provide data visibility to other departments. This platform approach doesn’t force departments to compromise their own efficiencies and workflows, like the all-in-one solutions do. Departments can customize interfaces for their particular workflows, and the platform does the heavy lifting when it comes to coordinating the information.
All-in-one solutions are not open to including other operational support systems in workflows – they try to be everything for every situation. Unfortunately the complex problems that service providers face and the market dynamics have proven time and again this is not sustainable. New technology, new hardware devices, and new service needs will emerge and the all-in-one platform can’t respond quickly enough or provide the flexibility to adapt workflows to what customers want. It might be workable for the all-in-one vendors if every communication service provider was the same, but each one has unique aspects of its people, processes, and plant. And when the communication service provider has to fit the generic “service provider mold”, a lot of the efficiencies and savings evaporate.
Openness and APIs are the solution to these sustainability challenges. Service providers need access to their data and they need to deploy new technologies and new support systems for those technologies according to their time lines– not the software vendor’s. An open platform with documented APIs allows a service provider to customize the software support systems to meet its workflows and needs. Customization is critical to squeezing every last possible efficiency and savings from operational processes. Ideally, each department would have exactly the system it needs to fulfill its responsibilities and the information flows between departments are handled in the background. That’s what our platform strives to be.
Switching from an all-in-one vendor to a more customizable platform doesn’t have to be a headache. Watch for another blog next week about the benefits of making the transition or email us to find out more.