Technical development is moving faster than the speed of light. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the telecom industry. It’s a world of relentless development and serious competition. So telecom infrastructure builders need to tackle operational challenges through new software solutions.
We had the opportunity to venture into the world of telecom infrastructure development with our client Telelink Infra Services. We worked together with the team to create a solution that facilitates tasks and simplifies internal processes by bringing them under the same roof.
Telelink Infra Services came to us with the task to digitize and optimize internal processes for its infrastructure building teams and project managers. The end goal was to optimize its teams’ time and resources. This would help Telelink Infra Services gain a competitive advantage over other market players and lower its CAPEX.
Before our solution was implemented, Telelink Infra Services workers had to use many different work platforms with a hoast of discrepancies and inconsistencies. This spanned many separate steps in different systems. The documentation of work was a clunky and time-consuming process. Many workers were unwilling to take on a task since they were expected to complete all steps in the documentation process. And if a task was reassigned, the new person on it had to complete every step, essentially doing double work.
The client summarized the key need as “raising the efficiency for both in-office and on-site teams”. This could be extended in several directions:
- Creating a digital technical passport for each site that includes documents and photos as well as a history of past maintenance work (step-by-step workflows);
- Helping on-site teams get a clear picture of components without physically traveling to a location;
- Diminishing the instances of back-and-forth trips because of incomplete information or missing equipment;
- Allowing experienced engineers to stay in-office and keep direct lines of communication with on-site teams, thus expanding the reach of their expertise.
The second need the project had to serve was improving the differentiation of Telelink Infra Services among local competitors. The digitalization trend is very strong in the telecom sector, so Telelink Infra Services wanted to use this new solution as a way to stand out. The TOSS platform would also serve in the long run as a way to facilitate increasing workloads.
Currently, the solution is used for internal processes only. But in the long term, Telelink Infra Services plans to use it in its work on joint projects with other telecom infrastructure providers.
The development of the solution took a full year across three different phases and a total of 11 sprints. It was split into business analysis, product implementation, and post-product validation.
We had to get a full understanding of the different processes and systems already at play in Telelink Infra Services. So we spent 2 months on a thorough business analysis. We conducted numerous meetings with different employees and pored over a significant amount of documents the client sent us, describing the current state of affairs. This allowed our Business Analyst to map out the different processes at play.
We created a few visual prototypes of the overall workflow. Then we iterated on it with the client’s team to make sure we take into account the requirements of all stakeholders. This was the basis for the proposed solution, the work breakdown, and the budget estimates.
Once we had the solution outline, actual development work began. We ran 9 sprints, with work being demoed and shipped at the end of each one.
We ran a pretty standard sprint flow:
- It started with a sprint scope briefing, lead by the Business Analyst (BA), and an internal sprint discussion.
- Then we’d dedicate 2 weeks to development work, with daily syncs keeping us on track. During this period, the developers present their work to the team after each full feature implementation.
- At the end of each sprint, the BA runs a demo of the sprint scope to all client stakeholders, so that they can share their feedback. If any changes are required after the demo, the team will plan them accordingly.
The biggest challenge for our Business Analyst was that the project was growing from the inside out. The initial plan was to develop a specific solution for a particular project. But as Telelink Infra Services saw the benefits, it decided to expand the project scope so that it can host multiple projects gathered in different libraries (as we called them) dedicated to different clients.
It was harder to accommodate these requirements on the go than if they had been present during initial planning. But our agile work process made sure we could run with the changes and satisfy the client’s needs.
Post-implementation validation of the product
Once the solution was live, we worked together with the client over the next 6 months. We closely monitored the feature adoption and feedback from different users in order to make any further adjustments and improvements.
The BA also worked together with Telelink Infra Services on the team onboarding for the new solution. This ensured employees were fully equipped to take advantage of the solution.
Team and tech stack
At the project start, the team comprised of 1 Business Analyst, who also served as Project Manager, 1 Developer, and 1 QA specialist. As the scope of the project grew, we added several developers to the team. One of the benefits of working with a software services provider is the fact that dev power can be scaled up or down as your project grows.
The technical implementation was done with:
- Azure SQL Database
- Azure Blob Storage
- Azure Web Apps
- .NET Core
- OAuth 2.0
The tech stack choice was based on the necessity to come up with a scalable, secure, and reliable solution. We achieved this while also relying on our expertise with proven development frameworks and platforms.
The TOSS platform provided several key benefits, as described by Telelink Infra Services:
- Having a single platform to manage a long-term project brings structure and transparency, and more efficiency;
- A site management solution, where all the information (documents, pictures, measurements) is digitized and accessible, makes it easier to plan ahead for each site visit;
- The resource management module and its reporting capabilities make it easier to assign new tasks to field engineers and monitor the work progress;
- Field engineers and subcontractors can easily send tasks’ status back to the core system thus increasing job effectiveness and decreasing significantly time to market and site commissioning;
- Consistent work quality can be ensured through photo evidence and AI validation.
Additionally, the German branch of Telelink Infra Services will easily adopt the platform with no changes to the data structure or interface design. This is planned to happen in the near future.
Finally, TOSS represents a strong differentiation point for Telelink Infra Services. Some of the other systems integrators on the market have proprietary solutions for different aspects of daily work, but there is no fully integrated platform that brings the whole company into one common digital environment.