How Robotic Process Automation is Changing The Telecom Industry

With more and more devices connected to the internet (not just phones, printers and computers but "smart" ovens and thermostats), Telecom, 5G and edge computing are becoming more diverse and essential. With the sharp increase in demand comes more ways for providers to monetize services and more difficulties to overcome. User support and fulfilling orders are becoming ever more complex, even for functions that were once considered basic fundamentals.

RPA use cases in telecommunications are becoming a popular option for many telecom providers to streamline processes. This is also happening because RPA can be used at many levels of telecom operations.

The Meaning of RPA

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. IT involves the deployment of software-based robots to handle simple, everyday tasks such as data entry that are required but also repetitive and tedious for humans to carry out.

Another area where RPA has been utilized is in processing invoices. A bot is fully capable of following instructions such as the following:

● Copy an invoice's data
● Paste the data into an accounting program
● Pass the invoice on for payment approval

Automation in the telecom industry also simplifies tasks such as processing incoming orders, updating existing or adding new customer information and generating outgoing bills and invoices.

These are just a handful of the possibilities and benefits of robotic process automation that telecom industries can take advantage of. When paired with AI, RPA can also write simple code and even deploy and manage other bots.

The Impact of RPA on Telecom

With every advancement in telecom technology comes new and higher expectations from customers and the population at large. Business and personal telecom users rely on high-speed communication and reliable services, and their standards continue to be set higher.

To adapt and meet the demand, which continues to expand with the advent of the Internet of Things and 5G, the Telecom industry needs to make significant changes. They are no longer just network providers but also providers of scalable cloud platforms that can adapt to growing volumes of multiple types of data.

Two key ideas that Telecom provides must focus on are the need to modernize practices to be flexible and adaptable and make the user experience more personalized and engaging.

Improving Agility by Staying on the Cutting Edge

Companies in the telecom industry must balance adhering to government regulations and keeping up with new technological developments and changing customer demands. RPA helps to make this process easier and improves the adaptability of these companies.

Keeping Infrastructure and Applications Simple

Telecom providers don't just use one type of software or platform to deliver their services. They use a combination of different applications working in concert, performing tasks such as network mapping and data mining with products from other developers.

RPA makes it simple for these systems working alongside each other to share data and integrate their processes. There's no need for specialized code or new APIs either. RPA simply programs automated bots to conduct the process and mine for information as a human would do. Using bots is not only more efficient but also less prone to error.

Another benefit to how robotic process automation works is that bots created by RPA are highly scalable. It's a simple matter for more bots to be developed as the number of data transfers increases, so there are always enough bots to handle the workload and keep things moving efficiently.

Streamlining Management of Networks

One thing that never or rarely slows down or decreases is network traffic. Instead, it grows continually, sometimes at exponential rates, every year. In the event of latency or a network failure or disconnection, more and more users and revenue are compromised.

When used with AI, RPA provides automated network optimization and automatic, real-time response to faster and more fundamental problems than human monitoring. With this in place, users experience more reliable service, and the company improves its reputation.

This could be done through machine learning and AI to glean information from the analysis of network utilization. The AI can single out metrics that go against baseline performance, possibly indicating a fault. It can also help determine if the number of users is too much for the network to handle.

Another possibility is using a management scheme for business rules to spell out specific instructions and steps to take when key metrics reach critical points. When this occurs, AI triggers an RPA bot, acting based on the previously mentioned instructions. After fixing the problem, the bot can also send a report to network techs with essential data.

Staying Within Regulations

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is a regulatory body in the United States that sets regulations that the telecom industry must adhere to. These include laws regarding pricing and licensing of services as well as anti-trust. Every new service and procedure that a company adapts must ensure that it doesn't violate these regulations. RPA simplifies this process, taking the workload off of a human compliance team.

While ensuring continued compliance seems daunting, all it requires is bots gathering compliance data and copying it to a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet remains subject to human review while the task of collecting it is left to more-accurate automation.

Utilizing Metadata

An ever more common occurrence is the convergence of Telecom and media. Many companies offer both services together, and they typically go hand-in-hand. Telecom companies are frequently creating their own content and the media platforms for distributing that content for streaming.

RPA is an available option for automated management of a provider's content library. Functions such as processing via AI and optical character recognition allow RPA to extract specific, valuable data and then tag and categorize the data for further research. This also helps when devising new content and targeted advertising.

Innovating Your Services

RPA lets telecom companies put the resources in everyone's hands for making code-writing bots that streamline processes. Different team members get to offer their own creativity, delivering unique and innovative automation to the enterprise.

This is especially helpful when members of a particular department can automate tasks based on their own first-hand experience. They know best how to do tasks effectively in their position, so their bots are more likely to be able to address the workload.

Improving User Relations Through Better Service

Any connection issues can negatively impact customer satisfaction, especially if they take longer than a day to fix. Many resolutions take, on average, a little over four days to implement. This means a significant hit to customer satisfaction.

While users will have problems with their telecom providers, companies should look at this as a challenge to overcome and an opportunity to improve service quality. RPA may be automated software, but it can still provide assistance that enhances the human experience when using telecom services.

Make Ordering Easier

RPA does quite well in transferring data from one system to another. For example, it can make customer orders more streamlined with its ability to move data from order placement to payment and then to fulfillment. It also works with the inventory system, routing orders to the correct warehouse to ensure an optimal shipping time.

Using RPA can also reduce the time it takes for a customer service rep to arrange services for a user and make changes to their account. While the agent talks to the user on the phone or via real-time chat, the bot works in the background, sending the address and other information to dispatch. The rep can keep the new customer engaged, making them feel valued and getting their order arranged without putting them on hold.

RPA is also applicable when servicing customers in brick-and-mortar store locations. If a customer purchases a device such as a smartphone, they may ask for assistance setting it up while still on-premises. An RPA bot can deal with setting up an account with billing and other tasks while an on-site rep guides the customer through the steps and helpfully explains the features and functions of the device.

Since one of the benefits of robotic process automation is the ability to focus more attention on customers, it's a big part of improving retention and driving the growth of the customer base.

Add a Human Touch

Though it seems paradoxical to say so, robotic process automation makes customer service seem more human and authentic. This is because human customer service reps can focus their time and energy and interact with customers personally while leaving technical data gathering tasks to the bots.

This brings up the critical point that not all tasks can be automated. A bot can't talk to a customer and make them feel valued. While customers want problems resolved quickly, they still want to feel like the company values their time and their patronage enough to dedicate real human representatives to working with them.

As mentioned, RPA can help with ordering and service provisioning. Another way to make RPA less robotic to customers is to integrate with AI so it can adapt to changing situations rather than going through the same rote process over and over with each customer.

Businesses can excel by anticipating customers' needs with the help of machine learning and AI. Analyzing user habits and patterns helps make advertising more targeted, directing them towards products and services they are likely to be interested in based on history.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

Just as important as innovating your own company's services is seeing what competitors in your market are implementing and working on. This can be a lot of data to sift through to find useful information, which RPA excels at.

RPA bots can browse competitor websites for information such as product offerings and prices, helping to ensure that your company is offering something comparable or better.

>RPA's Role in the Telecom Industry

As telecom companies continue to build a more robust infrastructure and increasingly complex networks to meet growing customer demands, RPA will have an ever-bigger role to play.

One thing to consider is the also-increasing cost of network ownership; the expense of maintaining and servicing networks means less revenue, and that expense also keeps getting bigger as technology advances.

Increasing revenue is essential, and RPA also serves this function by automating basic and even more advanced tasks. This allows the company to expend resources in a more targeted way that lowers operating costs.

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