The great telecommunications expansion of the 21st century continues unabated with new generations of smart phones and other devices reaching more consumers than ever. And many wireless industry analysts are putting the growth of Internet-connected devices at one trillion by 2013, with the vast majority of this growth coming from mobile devices and smart phones. Mobile devices are now an “always on” technology. Just like light switches, we turn them on and expect a functional service, and demand that software and firmware upgrades integrate seamlessly with our usage patterns.
Key to meeting these ever-growing demands is an IT infrastructure integrated with business processes, one that is clearly understood, codified and ready to go to work at moment’s notice. In too many cases, even today, IT applications and data assets are not integrated and are tightly connected with brittle links. In these situations, customers do not receive the services they expect and need in a timely manner… or at all.
The Fast Pace of the Telecommunications Revolution
Dramatic improvements in capability and speed have provided the smart phone market with robust competition amongst device manufacturers and network providers. A wide range of capabilities must now be configured, serviced, updated and extended on hundreds of millions of devices around the world. User growth remains impressive. If customers do not receive a rich feature set, high performance and a high quality of service, they can switch carriers. Of the many players in this market, the network service provider is one area where the rubber meets the road on an hourly basis with millions of subscribers.
This robust ecosystem with high qualities of service would not be possible without flexible, integrated IT infrastructures, services and applications. Users go to physical stores and service provider websites looking for the latest mobile devices or upgrades to existing phones and service packages. These many facets of user interaction force network service providers to exist at multiple levels in the market, from local areas and specialized services to regional, national and international providers.
Struggling to Keep Up The Old Fashioned Way
Since the inception of the smart phone, telecommunication companies have been called upon to more quickly respond to customer needs. However, several service providers still rely on some manual processes or brittle integration architectures that use old-fashioned enterprise application integration (EAI) and hard-coded data integration. As we illustrate below, these situations can lead to high costs and dissatisfied customers. While true to life, this problem is diminishing in frequency as telecommunications companies update their IT infrastructures to modern service-oriented and event-driven architectures (SOA and EDA).
In this example, customers use a website or portal to purchase new smart phones or service plans. The customer goes to a website, fills out an application or service request/update form and then submits it through the web browser. Increasingly, this interaction is conducted on a wide range of devices, from PCs to smart phones and tablets.
In a better case scenario, the applications are connected with hard-coded EAI or messaging links. However, these applications are not easily changeable and require significant custom code to extend the EAI or messaging to work with the business events, data transformation, workflow, business rules and data integration, usually as an afterthought.
In a less desirable scenario, the front-end web applications are not integrated with back-end databases or provisioning and billing applications. In this situation, employees receive the web application forms online and must print them out to enter data into a variety of databases, requiring the provisioning and billing applications to be run against the new data sets representing a new customer. Given the time requirements, the people driving this part of the business are likely to become bottlenecks.
Additionally, service providers will run into the wall of human error – spelling mistakes, typos, and incorrect information about services requested, prices/specials, and even the service packages themselves. These errors drive delay, cost and customer dissatisfaction as shown below.
There is a Better Way with JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform and JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform
A SOA built with JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform and/or JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform can help an enterprise deliver better results. The enterprise service bus (ESB) provides the foundation for intelligent business event handling, linking data presented from the data virtualization engine and applications in a seamless manner, adding value to existing or new messaging deployments. This architecture helps minimize pain points associated with non-integrated applications and data and frees personnel to work on higher-value activities like improving products and services. Instead of taking days to recover from errors, the telecommunications company can respond in minutes, reducing time and costs to offer an improved customer experience.
JBoss Enterprise Middleware subscriptions offer this business value in a more affordable and higher-quality fashion. The open source community drives higher quality and easier-to-use platforms while the Red Hat testing and certification processes gives users confidence that these open source platforms can run telecommunications processes and integrate these applications and data in a safe, IT consumable and supportable manner. JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform and JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform offer this value to the telecommunications industry, as well as and many others.