Broadband Internet In the Developing World: The Why and How for Field Service
In 1999 Sugata Mitra, Professor of Education Technology at Newcastle University, decided to take a chance based on a hunch. He and his colleagues dug a hole in the wall of an urban slum bordering New Delhi, installed an internet-connected PC, and simply walked away.
What followed was both shocking and inspiring.
Kids with zero knowledge of technology from surrounding neighborhoods began using the computer, learning how to browse the internet, and building skills that would typically take children years in the west.
They did it with zero supervision.
After some initial testing, more computers were installed. The results became even more drastic, as Sugata remarked from the TED stage, “In nine months, a group of children left alone with a computer — in any language — would reach the same standard as an office secretary in the West.”
The implications are hopeful for the impacts broadband internet could have in developing nations. Access to knowledge and new skills could completely change the poverty landscape as we know it. What Sugata Mitra demonstrated was that traditional education might not be the only path. Self organized learning environments (SOLE), and unsupervised knowledge transfer work, too.
Which is why in 2015 the United Nations assembly pledged that everyone globally would have access to the Internet by 2020.
Despite this bold push, the Alliance for Affordable Internet reports that 4 billion people worldwide are still without internet access. Furthermore, by 2020, just 16% of people in the world’s poorest countries, and 53% of the world at large will have obtained internet access.
From a humanitarian perspective, change must happen faster.
On the flip side—for field service professionals—the pace of broadband internet adoption is, in fact quite rapid. In the following paragraphs we uncover how international telecommunications companies can keep up.
How Telecommunications Companies can Succeed with Service in Developing Countries
As internet adoption explodes in select developing nations, field service organizations must adapt to local market conditions in order to succeed.
But telecommunications companies often struggle to scale globally, due to the unique staffing and infrastructure conditions faced in each country.
In the process, our team learned crucial lessons that other global telecommunications companies can leverage. The results of this partnership included:
- Field workforce management system failure rates dropped by 80%
- Changes can now be made seven times faster than with the previous system
- Dispatcher and field engineer productivity remained stable even during system updates
So, how did we achieve this? Here’s a step-by-step preview:
1. Get a Handle on Disparate Systems
TigoUne had grown drastically after an acquisition. The technical consequences of rapid growth included staff using six separate customer resource management (CRM) systems, outdated Windows-based devices, and a general lack of cohesion across field engineer teams. System speeds were incredibly slow, workforce productivity was sub-par, and even small business process changes were time-consuming to implement.
By first mapping the team’s needs, and technical priorities, ClickSoftware was able to help TigoUne transition from six CRMs, to a single integrated field workforce management solution.
2. Align a Comprehensive Project Team
But getting from A to B required more than just software. Success meant getting the right professionals aligned around common problems, and mapping a comprehensive vision forward.
That’s why TigoUne built a comprehensive project team made up of the IT architect, IT technical leader, IT security manager, IT infrastructure specialist, IT development leader, field operations lead user, and project manager.
Before any decisions were made, this team hosted a detailed workshop to ensure that all product requirements were captured and prioritized. They followed up with two more workshops to ensure the rollout plan was sound.
In less than eight months, the team went from decision to go-live, due in large part to the implementation process ClickSoftware’s team helped facilitate.
3. Rollout Tailored Service Software
After all team members were on the same page, and system requirements were documented, a smooth transition took place.
“Prior to ClickSoftware, every time we wanted to improve business process, it was a struggle. We now integrate our six CRM systems with ClickSoftware, so each change only needs to be made once.
– Fernando Peláez Tapias, TigoUne IT Technical Leader
We successfully stabilized their system, provided greater ease of use with configuration, and delivered built-in flexibility that met their unique, and evolving business needs.
Ultimately, the ClickSoftware solution enabled the team to get a much better handle on the following:
- Understand the status of daily activities (i.e. tasks without appointments, jeopardy alerts) with greater clarity
- Grow stronger system adoption with an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) that is easier navigate
- Use customized reports to deeply understand the business
- Quickly make small system changes such as views, forms, and dictionaries
- Easily audit tasks
For a more comprehensive picture of TigoUne’s success, click here.
For more field service news and advice, subscribe to Field Service Matters.