The phrase "turnkey solution" is thrown around a lot in sales negotiations, sized-upon by purchasing departments as a cure-all low-risk solution to large delivery programs, and held out by sales-personnel as the deal clincher and key differentiator. In many cases neither parties truly understand the commitments their organizations are making, and this lack of awareness is the seed of future customer dissatisfaction and margin erosion. The trend for NEPs to include BSS / OSS system replacement projects as part of turnkey network upgrades has exacerbated this problem.
Turnkey solutions are presumed to be handed-over to the buyer in a ready to use state. The first problem in the interpretation of this definition is whether the buyer must also be ready for the solution and if so who takes the responsibility of ensuring the customer's business and operational readiness.
Business Readiness includes the definition of new or amended business processes along with training on the systems and associated new processes. To ensure the smooth adoption of the new system, in-flight business transactions at the time of cut-over must be migrated and data migration must be performed to ensure historical information is available to users of the new system. In addition a communication plan must be defined and executed with regard to other impacted stakeholders - suppliers, customers, regulators.
Operational Readiness includes the definition or refinement of processes required to manage the new systems. Backup schedules and maintenance routines will be changed, existing application management consoles will monitor the new system and its satellites.
Systems vendors and NEPs do not typically take responsibility for business or operational readiness. Many claim that they have professional services departments that can deliver turnkey solutions but their definition of turn-key is that of a car salesman who is happy to exchange the keys of a new automobile for cash without determining whether the buyer can drive or knows that the car must be refueled to continue operating.
Our consultants work with both traditional "box-shifter" system vendors and CSPs to ensure their turnkey program for systems delivery includes all the elements required for success. Ideally this work starts in the contract negotiation phase of the program or in the pre-sales solution analysis phase, but we have also been introduced at later stages to perform program recovery. The work includes the following activities:
Systems Integration Analysis
Integration activities with other vendors is rarely considered in drawing up the turnkey contract so the customer is disappointed and the vendor is exposed to financial losses in their unaccustomed role as primary integrator. Our consultants perform an analysis of the existing and to-be architecture and identify systems that will be replaced or integrated as part of the delivery program. Where necessary we open negotiations with the vendors of these systems to enable the sharing of interface details and legacy data for migration.
Our BAs identify existing processes that will change as a result of the new system introduction, in addition they look for seemingly unrelated processes that rely on output of the current systems, i.e.: campaign management in the marketing department that relies on a high-usage report created by the fraud management system. A plan is created for the treatment of in-flight transactions at the time of cut-over. This might include restricting certain business activities for a short while, or defining the compensating actions for such restrictions, i.e.: stuffing the channel to ensure stock availability.
BSS / OSS systems must be run in accordance with certain operational dependencies or restrictions to ensure the integrity of business information, these typically include dependencies between payment processing and bill-runs, or restrictions on performing back-ups during prepaid MSISDN churning. Our consultants capture these scheduling inter dependencies alongside details of back-office operational procedures that will be required to run the new systems.
Training needs Analysis
Following on from the business and operational analysis activities a training program is identified for all users of the system, end-users of the business functions and operational staff involved in ongoing maintenance.
The primary return a CSP will achieve for performing Business and Operational Program Management is in the faster realization of the business benefit case for the supposed "turnkey" solution. It is our direct experience that certain programs have been designed to fail on the basis of third-party dependencies not being included in the original scope. In these cases Miso has identified the dependency and the cost to the program of not bring the external vendor into the program. In other cases Miso consultants have designed the program recovery organization and taken direct responsibility for the activities outlined above.