Feature

Bundled Services Lead to New IT Challenges for Telecoms

At SureWest Communications, bracing for change in a fiercely competitive market is the name of the game. Now the once-traditional telephone company offers a "quadruple play" of bundled services -- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) landline and wireless phone, as well as high-speed Internet and digital TV -- to its 230,000 subscribers.

Focus On: Telecom
Top business challenge: To expand customer base by keeping pace with ever-evolving telecom services and converging channels of delivery.
Solution: To diversify and enhance product lines through bundled services and better network capabilities.
How IT can help: By integrating CRM, billing and activation systems; by offering Web-based self-service; and by improving network speed and reliability.

And like many telecoms, Roseville, Calif.-based SureWest has invested heavily in shoring up its network. Since 2002 the company has spent roughly $200 million on fiber optic lines to improve network capacity and better accommodate IP-based services as well as bundled packages. "The capacity requirements are very high, and bundled services only magnify these requirements," CIO Tim Dotson says.

As the $218 million telecom expands further into these offerings, it's using tight back-end system integration between the company's ordering, activation and other workflow systems to enable better, faster service. "We have to be very nimble and be able to make adjustments," Dotson says. "As we expand further into IP-based services, our systems have to be able to evolve."

For all telecom providers, the challenge is how to keep pace with the changes that these new services require. Whether the conduit for bundled services is fiber, coaxial cable or dish, says Rob Stoddard, senior vice president for communications at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the challenge is the same: Telecom providers once offered "one product to one kind of customer." Now their task is to offer multiple services to several kinds of customers.

This was first published in April 2007

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