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Enterprise GIS in Telecommunications

September 2004

Prepared by: ESRI 380 New York Street Redlands, California 92373-8100

Enterprise GIS in Telecommunications

Table of Contents
Section 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Page ABSTRACT ....................................................................................................................... 3 GEOGRAPHY AS A COMMON FRAME OF REFERENCE ........................................................ 3 HOW GIS IS USED BY TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATIONS ..................................... 4 ENHANCED TELECOM OPERATIONS MAP ......................................................................... 5 ENTERPRISE GIS ......................................................................................................... 12 EXPANDING NETWORKS................................................................................................. 13 INTEGRATING DATA....................................................................................................... 14 SERVING CUSTOMERS .................................................................................................... 15 SHARING THE INFO......................................................................................................... 16 LOCATION IS EVERYTHING............................................................................................. 17 FINDING WHAT YOU WANT ........................................................................................... 18 GIS MEANS VISUALIZING YOUR BUSINESS ................................................................... 19

UNDERSTANDING OF GIS TECHNOLOGY............................................................. 3

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1.0 Understanding of GIS Technology


1.1 Abstract

This paper describes how telecommunications companies around the world use Geographical Information System (GIS) technology to manage their networks, provide better customer service and create new service offerings.

1.2

Geography as a Common Frame of Reference

Most of the elements in a telecommunications network can be identified in terms of their location. The discipline of geography recognizes this and has established a standard framework of location-centric or spatial coordinates for communicating and relating the placement of people, network facilities, and events. As such, geography as shown in Figure 2-1 provides a spatial baseline that can be used for systematically storing, analyzing, and communicating most types of data. In essence, geography supplies a structurally coherent common ground for managing and visualizing telecommunications network related information in the areas of fixed line and wireless services. Figure 2-1 Telecommunications Industry GIS Common Frame of Reference

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Enterprise GIS in Telecommunications

1.3 How GIS is Used by Telecommunications Organizations


Telecommunications companies around the world maintain a great deal of information that requires the close integration of administrative, sales, customer, engineering, and operational data. Such companies benefit from using GIS technology because it is built on standards for data integration, analysis, and visualization. Efficient decision making and management of network facilities and resources can be supported using standard GIS tools and methods. To maintain a competitive advantage and compete in a global market, telecommunications companies depend on a smoothly functioning work flow process that integrates information for marketing, demand forecasting, network engineering/construction, customer management, and operations support. Although telecommunications providers generally have the same needs for information, how the internal work flow is organized can vary significantly from company to company. Historically telecommunications companies have used an assortment of information systems. Many of these systems were in-house and others implemented by outside vendors. Many of these systems were never designed to work together. When these systems were implemented, there was no perceived requirement for information sharing. Today telecommunications companies operate heterogeneous networks comprised of equipment from multiple vendors and leased network facilities from other carriers. Mergers or acquisition of other companies require the incorporation of, or at least interaction with, completely different networks and systems. The need for information sharing within companies and interoperability between systems has been recognized by the telecommunications industry for a long time. Originally founded in 1865 as International Telegraph Union, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) http://www.itu.int/home/ promotes standards in equipment that guarantee generalized interconnection between communication systems. To improve interoperability, ITU has developed the Telecommunications Management Network (TMN), a method of standardizing business organization. This hierarchy of support systems specifies interoperability through the use of industry-standard protocols. Further, many communication companies today are adopting the Enhanced Telecom Operations Map (eTOM) framework. The eTOM is a TeleManagent Forum http://www.tmforum.org/default.asp initiative to deliver a business process model or framework for use by service providers and others within the telecommunications industry. The eTOM is the most widely used and accepted standard for business process in the telecom industry and was recently adopted by the ITU.

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1.4 Enhanced Telecom Operations Map


The eTOM framework shown in Figure 2-2 describes all the enterprise processes required by a service provider and analyzes them to different levels of detail according to their significance and priority for the business. For many telecommunications companies, it serves as the blueprint for process direction and provides a neutral reference point for internal process reengineering needs, partnerships, alliances, and general working agreements with other providers. The role of GIS is applicable in all aspects of the eTOM framework as described in Table 2-1. Figure 2-2 Enhanced Telecom Operations Map

The table below provides a direct relationship between the eTOM framework and the role of GIS within this model.

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Enterprise GIS in Telecommunications Table 2-1 eTOM Framework and GIS Role
eTOM Framework Marketing & Offer Management The Marketing & Offer Management (Marketing / Sales) process grouping focuses on the knowledge of running and developing the Core Business. It includes functionalities necessary for defining strategies, developing new products, managing existing products and implementing marketing and offering strategies especially suitable for information and telecommunications products and services. These processes deal with product, markets and channels; they manage market and product strategies, pricing, sales and channels, new product development (and retirement), and marketing telecommunications and promotion. GIS Role Sales / Marketing Telecommunications providers are tied to geography more closely than many other types of businesses. They operate within service areas and the infrastructure that delivers services is linked directly to the location of each customer. Telecommunications companies segment the characteristics for both consumer and business customers geographically using GIS. This not only lets them market more effectively but also helps them forecast the demand for services. Both targeting customers and predicting where and when growth will occur involves integrating corporate intelligence, existing network locations. demographic data, and information about the progress of building projects in the area with location data and applying various modeling techniques. The information obtained from this analysis drives network improvement budgets, network planning, and marketing campaigns. Additionally, determining appropriate locations for stores and outlets is another common function for GIS. Network Planning Information generated by marketing and market segmentation activities that define current and future communication demands can be used to create a logical network of capacities and estimate the capital expenditures required to build this capacity. GIS is widely used in decision support for network planning. Effective capacity planning uses current data describing the existing plant, the demand information from the marketing phase, and network performance information from OSS.

Service Development & Management The Service Development & Management process grouping focuses on planning, developing and delivering services to the Operations domain. It includes functionalities necessary for defining the strategies for service creation and design, managing and assessing the performance of existing services, and ensuring that capabilities are in place to meet future service demand.

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eTOM Framework Resource Development & Management The Resource Development & Management grouping focuses on planning, developing and delivering the resources needed to support services and products to the Operations domain. It includes functionalities necessary for defining the strategies for development of the network and other physical and non-physical resources, introduction of new technologies and integrating with existing ones, managing and assessing the performance of existing resources, and ensuring that capabilities are in place to meet current and future service needs. GIS Role Fixed Line Network Engineering Fixed Line engineering systems are GIS-based applications that design and document the geographic layout of a companys outside plant (OSP) and Inside Plant (ISP) infrastructure. Engineering applications allow for quick review and modeling of network routes, automation of the work order process, and high volume cartographic output to support technicians and construction operations in the field. Wireless Network Engineering Nowhere is competition in the telecommunications industry more intense than in the wireless sector. While most second generation networks have rolled out, new wireless network technologies are forcing carriers to redesign all or parts of their networks. Designing and building a wireless network is a costly process that involves several iterations of planning and testing. Having paid handsomely for third generation (3G) licenses, many carriers are highly motivated to reduce the cost of building new networks. GIS-centric planning tools are often used to reduce both time and financial concerns with network design and rollout. By integrating special datasets related to effect of the environment on wireless signals with sophisticated RF models in a GIS, a very accurate picture of a proposed network can be created. GIS-based optimization tools are becoming increasingly common at wireless carriers as they attempt to squeeze greater value out of their network.

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eTOM Framework Supply Chain Development & Management The Supply Chain Development & Management process grouping focuses on the interactions required by the organization with suppliers and partners, who are involved in maintaining the supply chain. The supply chain is a complex network of relationships that a service provider manages to source and deliver products. In the ebusiness world, companies are increasingly working together with suppliers and partners in order to broaden the products they offer and improve their productivity. These processes ensure that the best suppliers and partners are chosen as part of the enterprise supply chain. They help to support sourcing decisions made by the enterprise, and ensure that the capabilities are in place for interaction between the enterprise and its suppliers and partners. They ensure that the contribution of suppliers and partners to the supply chain is timely and delivers the required support, and that their overall performance and contribution is as good as or better than for vertically integrated enterprises. These processes include establishing and maintaining all the information flows and financial flows between the provider and supplier. Customer Relationship Management Customer Relationship Management (CRM): this process grouping considers the fundamental knowledge of customers needs and includes all functionalities necessary for the acquisition, enhancement and retention of a relationship with a customer. It is about customer service and support whether storefront, telephone, web or field service. It is also about retention management, crossselling and up-selling, and direct marketing for the purpose of selling to customers. CRM also includes the collection of customer information and its application to personalize, customize and integrate delivery of service to a customer, as well as to identify opportunities for increasing the value of the customer to the enterprise. CRM applies to both conventional retail customer interactions, as well as to wholesale interactions, such as when an enterprise is selling to another enterprise that is acting as the retailer. GIS Role Supply Chain Management GIS technology provides new ways to see and understand complex business data in the area of supply chain management. Communication companies can fully leverage the data and its relationship to other information stored internally or outside the enterprise to better make decisions, facilitate improved internal and external communication and better work processes, increasing shareholder return. More complex applications include geospatial data in data warehousing systems and are used in conjunction with On Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) clients to add a "where" dimension to corporate business intelligence.

Customer Relationship Management In todays competitive telecommunications market, customer service is the number one differentiator for companies. Customer relationship management (CRM) applications improve the relationship between the company and its customers. Timely service provisioning, response to customer queries, and reporting on network performance are aspects of CRM. With GIS, call center operators can access all the information on a customer and the associated network based on their location. Databases containing information on outside plant infrastructure, signal quality, planned network build-out, and equipment can be integrated using GIS and made available using a corporate Intranet or, when appropriate, to the public via the Internet.

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eTOM Framework Service Management & Operations The Service Management & Operations (SM&O) process grouping focuses on the knowledge of services (Access, Connectivity, Content, etc.) and includes all functionalities necessary for the management and operations of telecommunications and information services required by or proposed to customers. The focus is on service delivery and management as opposed to the management of the underlying network and information technology. Some of the functions involve short-term service capacity planning, the application of a service design to specific customers or managing service improvement initiatives, and are closely connected with the day-to-day customer experience. These processes are accountable to the business management layer function of product management (the profit and loss accountability) to meet, at a minimum, targets set for Quality of Service (QoS), including process performance and customer satisfaction at a service level, as well as Service Cost. GIS Role Wireless Network Management The impacts of cell and frequency planning optimization can now be identified and improvements ensured against pre-determined returns on investment. The goal is to reduce capital investments and maintain higher subscriber Quality of Service (QoS) levels through improved network experiences. GIS provides the ability to visualize the quality of RF Network Configurations and Frequency Plans against pre-defined operational Key Performance Indicators (KPI). This enables companies to troubleshoot and improve network performance in relation to each KPI. It also provides the ability to geographically identify problem areas where network quality, capacity and coverage objectives at the operational level are being compromised. This typically involves integration with third party wireless network decision support and optimization software. Companies can then visualize KPI scenarios by comparing the before and after optimization results, assess the impact of potential expansion to the network or see how the present network can expand to meet new subscriber demands. Fixed Line Network Management GIS can accurately locate critical network assets and inventory data in order to plan, design and engineer the outside and inside plant facilities, view network connectivity and related customer information. GIS allows service providers to efficiently manage existing high-speed broadband network and support the telecommunications technologies essential to extending fiber cabling and equipment to homes and businesses. When integrated with a third party service level management system, the GIS can provide proactive notification / visualization features displaying QoS violation alerts. Using an open GIS, interfaces can communicate with fault, trouble-ticketing, inventory, and CIS operational support systems (OSS) to trigger root-cause analyses and jumpstart problem resolution.

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Enterprise GIS in Telecommunications


eTOM Framework Resource Management & Operations The Resource Management & Operations (RM&O) process grouping maintains knowledge of resources (application, computing and network infrastructures) and is responsible for managing all these resources.(e.g. networks, IT systems, servers, routers, etc.) utilized to deliver and support services required by or proposed to customers. It also includes all functionalities responsible for the direct management of all such resources (network elements, computers, servers, etc.) utilized within the enterprise. These processes are responsible for ensuring that the network and information technologies infrastructure supports the end-to-end delivery of the required services. The job of these processes is to ensure that infrastructure runs smoothly, is accessible to services and staff, is maintained and is responsive to the needs, whether directly or indirectly, of services, customers and staff. RM&O also has the basic function to assemble information about the resources (e.g.. from network elements and/or element management systems), and then integrate, correlate, and in many cases, summarize that data to pass on the relevant information to Service Management systems, or to take action in the appropriate resource. The RM&O processes thus manage the complete service provider network and sub-network and information technology architectures. GIS Role Operations Support Systems Operations Support Systems (OSS) monitor the telecommunications network to ensure it functions properly. OSS includes activities such as network monitoring, outage management, billing, and testing. With an enterprise-wide GIS database, staff members have instant access to customer status and history, existing plant records, and signal quality information to support updates, maintenance and repairs to the network. Fleet Management & Scheduling GIS helps telecommunications companies manage and route service vehicles for outage response and service provisioning. An efficient dispatch process balances number of service orders, drive times, territories, and the skill sets of individual technicians. This helps carriers boost productivity, reduce timewindows, decrease costs, and meet customer commitments with capabilities that provide: Dynamic Work Assignment - managing thousands of technicians based on skills, geography, and workloads. Force-to-Load Monitoring - automatically resolving workload imbalances during adverse weather, network outages, or other peak demand times Information Management - displaying location data (job sites, technician status, and estimated travel times) on GUI displays. Appointment Management - allowing customer service representatives to book customer appointments based on real-time technician information.

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eTOM Framework Supplier / Partner Relationship Management Interface Management processes manage the contacts between the enterprise and its current or future suppliers/partners for products or services. These processes are basically contact management and tracking processes. These S/P Relationship Management processes interface with the CRM process of Customer Interface Management. GIS Role Reference the following GIS roles described above: Supply Chain Management Customer Relationship Management

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2.0

Enterprise GIS

In todays global economy, the lines between industries and countries blur. Research often crosses many boundaries. Driven by rapid advances in technology, legislative reform, and global competition, the telecommunications world is changing at an ever-accelerating rate. To achieve a competitive edge, telecommunications companies have been embracing GIS as a technology that will enable them to survive, compete, reduce churn and win market share. We are now at a point where the industry as a whole feels that GIS is a valuable technology that will enable them to visualize their business, the competition, and identify areas and products for potential market growth. Telecommunications companies view GIS as a value-added service that can often mean the difference between keeping and losing a customer. Many of these services are accessible via the Internet today such as online Yellow Pages and White Pages and locators that can tell a potential customer if they are eligible for certain types of services based upon their location. This paradigm shift on how GIS technology is perceived has dramatically changed the way most GIS projects are implemented in the industry. Traditionally, most companies adopted the approach of implementing a single GIS application that met the needs of one department such as engineering. The need to share GIS data with other divisions in the company was not typically required nor was it a deciding factor when implementing a GIS. Today, telecommunications companies are looking for ways to leverage existing investments in data, software, hardware, and IT staff. Field engineering tools and the use of mobile networks, which make geographic information available through wireless devices to business and consumer users, will further increase the value of GIS. The addition of location-based services driven by GIS will generate additional revenue for telecommunications carriers and their business partners.

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2.1 Expanding Networks


When it comes to telecommunication companies, GIS has traditionally been used to manage spatial information as it relates to outside plant facilities; those parts of a companys network that exist out in the field. No longer limited to the traditional telephone poles and lines, todays telecommunication networks include everything from fiber-optic cables to radio antennas to cellular base stations and all the elements in between. Regardless of the number or types of features involved in a particular network, GIS software lets engineers add or delete features as necessary, trying different designs until they find the most suitable one. All this with point-andclick technology that lets them quickly perform analyses that might otherwise take days to complete. Deciding where to expand its network and which services to provide are two of the most important decisions a telecommunications company must make. The success of these decisions depends on providing the right services & information to the right people at the right time. Locating potential customers and deciding which services to provide them involves studying data that often comes from other departments or even from outside the company.

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2.2 Integrating Data


More than one department is involved in expanding a telecommunication network, from those that provide data to those that approve work orders to those that actually go out and physically install the facilities. To be efficient, changes to the network must be made nearly as fast as their need is identified, a process that is impossible if each department has to access, process, and review data stored in separate databases. This is complicated further when the various departments use different software to manage the data. GIS solves this problem by making it easy to process, store, and retrieve data in a centralized database. Storing data in a centralized database ensures that users throughout the company have constant access to up-to-date information, whether that information came from departments within the company, like customer service, marketing, or engineering, or from outside the company, such as census, land-use, or topographical data.

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2.3 Serving Customers


No matter how carefully a company builds its network, it wont last long in the telecommunication industry without good customer service. Customer service departments frequently receive calls from customers who want to know if service is available in their area or who may have had disruptions in their service from a network outage. With access to a centralized database, customer service representatives are better able to provide the customer with accurate information about service availability or how long an interruption in service is likely to last. Provisioning is the single most important piece in telecommunications GIS. A better provisioning process with state-of-the-art tools, taking advantage of accurate geographic information, is the key to maintaining a competitive advantage.

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2.4 Sharing the Info


The popularity of the Internet has encouraged most companies to share information on the Web. Whether they elect to share information with employees through their corporate Intranets, with customers and clients through Extranets, or with the general public through the Internet, GIS helps make it happen. Companies can easily set up web applications, in secure, highly scalable architecture, to support mission critical applications that can be accessed by a large number of users.

A wealth of information is available on the Internet.

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2.5 Location is Everything


The instant information of the Internet combined with the escalating popularity of Web-enabled mobile communication devices like cellular phones, two-way pagers, and handheld PCs have raised the stakes for telecommunication companies. Customers demand instant information and consistent service regardless of where they are. The struggle to compete for information-hungry and increasingly mobile customers has spawned a whole new branch of services, those based on location. Location-based services enable carriers and their business partners to offer unprecedented services to mobile subscribers. More and more mobile devices are being designed to exchange information with GPS or other positioning technologies. Users can look for the nearest gas stations, restaurants, or pharmacies, and get driving directions to the location. Location Sensitive Billing allows wireless carriers to offer multiple rate zones to their customers. Wireless customers will typically pay less in their home zone, with differing rates for other zones of service. With GIS, wireless carriers can instantly identify which zone a call originates in. Location Sensitive Billing is just one GIS-based service that allows wireless carriers to compete with local and long-distance landline carriers.

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2.6 Finding What You Want


Getting from point A to B without knowing the local roads and freeways can be a challenge. Location services allow travelers to find their way, no matter where they are or where they want to go. And if they get lost, all they have to do is enter their destination, and GIS will help them get back on track. Traffic conditions change continually; traffic information, in real time, is useful when and where people need it. Subscribers can now get live traffic information, along with maps and alternate routes, using cellular phones and other mobile devices. When subscribers find out about congestion along their routes, GIS location services can immediately provide alternate routes. Using this technology wireless carriers pinpoint the location of a cellular phone in case of an emergency 911 call. The cellular phone location is then entered into the GIS, and the appropriate emergency response team is routed to the callers position. Even if its not an emergency, locating a mobile device can be beneficial. Whether customers want to locate their cars, their kids, or their coworkers, the combination of GPS-enabled mobile devices and GIS makes it possible. As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, location services will not only let companies keep track of their employees, it will also enable personnel to access remote data servers with portable, wireless devices. This enables workers in the field to have access to the information they need, and provide real-time updates to corporate databases.

Location services are likely to affect our lives more than the Internet has.

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2.7 GIS Means Visualizing Your Business


Telecommunications industry executives who make complex decisions find GIS indispensable for decision support. GIS provides a way to visualize their company in ways that never before was possible. The investment telecommunications companies make in geospatial data and technology will yield benefits in business process automation, improved decision support, and value-added services for years to come. The key is to a modern successful enterprise GIS is implementing a system developed on industry computing standards that has an open architecture, which can meet the needs of a variety of organizations as shown in Figure 2-3. Figure 2-3 Enterprise GIS Architecture
Sales / Marketing Define market strategies Identify potential customer locations Predict market growth Target new customers and services Customer Relationship Management Identify customer locations and data Respond to customer inquiries Provide information on network status Identify opportunities for new services Real Estate / ROW Management Corporate real estate management Right of way management Identify locations for new sites Environmental compliance Network Planning Network infrastructure planning Service demand forecasting Manage roll out of new services Network optimization Network Engineering Project management Network design and engineering New network construction Network overbuilds

ESRI Enterprise GIS

Network Operations Network provisioning Facility / inventory management Fleet management and scheduling Service orders Network Management Network monitoring Outage management Emergency restoration planning SLA / QoS management Supply Chain Management Supplier and partner management Transportation / logistics eBusiness / eCommerce Financial management Intranet / Internet Thin client access Data sharing / corporate portals Real time access to current data Customer access

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