With demand for mobile data services skyrocketing in the last several years, telecommunications providers are devoting significant resources to expand their network capacity and ensure fast, reliable connectivity for customers. Achieving these vital goals depends on effective and efficient telecom field operations workflows.
Telecommunications companies can no longer rely on manual, labor-intensive, inefficient processes to manage critical tasks like scheduling work crews, dispatching teams to where they are most needed, or deciding how to best manage vegetation to avoid fall-in and grow-in risks. To improve how they install, maintain, and repair equipment and infrastructure in the field and optimize field technician deployment, leading telecom companies are turning to geospatial software specifically designed and built to improve telecom field operations.
Geospatial and digitization technology has the power to transform telecom operations by automating field operations workflows—improving field-to-office communication, reducing manual touchpoints, increasing field crew efficiency and productivity, and improving the customer experience. These solutions also make critical infrastructure data easily accessible for real-time reporting, analysis, and decision making.
Here are five telecom field operations workflows that geospatial and digitization technologies can greatly improve through automation.
1. Scheduling Field Crews
It can be challenging for telecom companies to schedule huge teams of field personnel across large geographic areas. Navigating obstacles like difficult landscapes, large data volumes, and remote regions can make the scheduling task especially tough. Yet an effective field operation demands efficient field crew scheduling.
By using a GIS solution that digitizes and synchs field data across disparate applications, telecom back-office teams can gain greater control in managing field staff scheduling, while streamlining the process by eliminating manual steps. Map-based geospatial software for telecommunications makes it easy to visualize both scheduled work and work to be scheduled in real time, for a more proactive approach to scheduling. And by mapping the telecom infrastructure, these solutions facilitate more informed crew scheduling decisions based on situational awareness of on-the-ground conditions, while accounting for factors like an employee’s upcoming time off or other unavailable time blocks.
2. Assigning and Dispatching Field Crews
Making the best decisions about where to assign and deploy telecom work crews is essential to an effective field operation, but it’s highly dependent on a significant volume of data, often residing across different systems. That makes the task of assigning and dispatching field crews an ideal case for automation.
A robust telecom field workforce management solution can ensure all the data that’s relevant to effective assignments and dispatching is captured and stored in a single database for easy access by back-office teams. Using a visual map-based dashboard, these telecom teams can see where field work crews, equipment, and other resources are currently located and make informed decisions about where to deploy those resources next. The most advanced solutions can even generate automatic dispatch instructions. As technologies like AI become more widely used, field workforce management platforms will begin to leverage historical data to develop predictive models that further improve how telecom companies assign and dispatch field crews.
3. Scheduling Proactive Maintenance
To ensure optimal uptime and access for customers, telecom providers need the ability to identify the field assets in most need of service based on their condition and maintenance history. With easy access to that information, back-office teams can assign field crews to the critical task of infrastructure maintenance, optimally and efficiently.
Automating this workflow with GIS mapping technology gives telecom providers the power to trace and track infrastructure asset condition throughout its lifecycle while also tracking field crew and equipment location in real time—all through a single, map-based interface. These advanced field workforce management tools enable back-office teams to assess the inspection, maintenance, and repair records of each asset on the map, then assign and dispatch field crews accordingly, at the touch of a screen.
4. Creating Work Orders
Today’s consumers increasingly expect first-issue resolution from every company they do business with, achieving a satisfactory resolution after their initial service inquiry. To meet that expectation, field crews need accurate work orders that enable them to get the job done quickly and efficiently on behalf of the telecom’s customers. But when this workflow is handled manually, errors and delays are likely to occur—reducing field crews’ productivity and preventing telecom companies from providing the exceptional service experience and first-issue resolution that customers demand.
Advanced geospatial field force management solutions automate and improve how telecom companies create work orders for their field crews. Accurate work orders are generated from the results of network tracing operations; then those work orders are immediately accessible for back-office teams and field crews to view and process. The most robust solutions even include route optimization capabilities, equipping field crews with the fastest route to the next assignment.
5. Managing Vegetation
Unless it’s controlled and managed properly, vegetation can become overgrown and encroach on telecommunications field equipment, especially cell tower sites. To keep vegetation from interrupting mobile service to customers, damaging property, or endangering lives, telecom companies need accurate data on the state of vegetation near every field asset. But that data often originates from many different sources (including aerial images and field crew documentation) and typically exists in a mix of both manual and digital formats.
Today’s field force management solutions make it easier for telecom companies to plan how to manage vegetation by collecting and providing access to accurate, real-time data on the state of vegetation around their valuable field assets and infrastructure. With a dynamic view of how vegetation is growing across large geographic areas, telecom providers can employ the most effective vegetation management practices to reduce fall-in and grow-in risks and stay compliant with federal, state, and local regulations.
With a robust field management solution like EpochField that utilizes geospatial technology, your telecommunications company can easily automate your most important telecom field operations workflows while making it easy for your field workforce to use. EpochField transforms how your telecom field crews and back-office teams work—enabling you to improve efficiency and productivity, reduce operational costs, and deliver the fast, reliable connectivity and service your customers demand.
Schedule an EpochField demonstration to learn how we can deliver these benefits for your telecom company.