Deploypartners Case Study
Telstra Whisper – real-time control for mobile infrastructure
Telstra is Australia’s largest mobile network provider with 7,000 operational mobile sites creating comprehensive network coverage. The network of mobile phone ʻbase stationsʼ needs to be constructed and upgraded to maintain such coverage. If deployment of this infrastructure is not managed in an effective way then real-time impacts on the overall network performance could result, leading to reduced customer satisfaction.
Projects are created to deploy this new infrastructure and the current system used to manage these projects is mainly paper based. It also relies on email for distribution and approval. Approximately 1000 people are involved in these projects: Telstra engineers as well as external contractors – and it is cumbersome, expensive and slow. Consequently managing projects can be more time consuming and costly than it should be.
Telstra is introducing the next generation 4G network in 2012 and will initiate several thousand new projects to construct and upgrade new and existing mobile towers. In addition, the existing towers and antennas need to be maintained.
The challenge DeployPartners undertook was to model current processes used to manage the acceptance and integration of mobiles infrastructure to develop an integrated paperless, workflow project management system with active KPI management. Meeting the challenge involved integrating both the existing human and system interfaces into a single simpler system. Processes were reviewed and modified so as to deliver significant cost and time savings and ultimately translating into improved customer satisfaction.
Whisper is an electronic project management solution developed by DeployPartners in Australia as a one-to-one replacement of Telstra’s existing paper-based processes. The DeployPartners development is a web-based workflow system which now has approximately 700 users. Built into this design was a business process management (BPM) tool from Intalio|BPMS. This Intalio|BPMS workflow system is particularly oriented to equipping business analysts and IT technicians with capability to collaborate on the design deployment, and ongoing management of complex business processes. Whisper functionality revolves around online forms – online downloadable versions of paper-based forms, including associated documentation and site photos.
Users interact with the system through web forms. These forms are part of the in-built document management system. This guarantees having consistent project documentation centralised in one place only.
Whisper utilises active KPI management where users receive notifications if they are behind schedule with their tasks. Automatic emails are initiated to shared mailboxes as a prompt for actions to be completed. These tasks are part of a formal approval process for quality control. Process tasks are reusable, and Whisper supports the creation of projects using workflow templates. Users also belong to groups and can be managed collectively. From a security point of view the user accounts are managed through the internal Telstra Active Directory. Whisper, being a role-based system, allows certain people to view certain levels of detail. With various contractors permitted to enter the site and enact their part of a job, Whisper ensures their work is integrated and duplication eliminated.
Whisper allows managers to have great visibility on the KPI progress of the numerous projects through dashboards and reports. Any workflow initiated is generated into a live dashboard of group roles and project status, indicated by traffic light signals.
Project data can be captured in report formats and oriented into action lists. Reports can include such requests as:
- Completed Projects – Summary and detail
- Open Projects – Summary and detail
- Projects Due this Week
- Antenna Bearing and Tilt Change
- Site Project History
- Outstanding Actions
Whisper is integrated with CANRAD – Telstra’s current Radio Network configuration database. CANRAD records antenna bearing and tilt information which Whisper is able to update directly as part of the site integration process. As new infrastructure is brought into service, tilts and bearings may need to be adjusted at existing sites to ensure optimal network performance. Whisper provides real time access to existing settings as well as providing an interface for writing updates as the existing settings are changed. Users such as Radio Frequency Planners, Civil Design Contractors and Constructors can view current antenna tilt information and update the information in CANRAD via Whisper.
Whisper makes the relevant material available to the correct groups for approval and then releases the next stage of the project for action. During the integration and commissioning works, Whisper allows the test results and final documentation checklists to be visible in one centralised place.
Throughout, the emphasis is on visibility, simplicity and efficiency.
The Telstra application demonstrates these Whisper core advantages:
- Streamlined business processing, using consolidated online forms eliminating duplication
- Reduced processing time and errors of paper processing
- Whisper initiated emails have hyperlinks to take the user to the required screen in Whisper.
- Significant cost and delivery time reduction, while improving delivery quality.
- A professional presentation enhancing the user experience.
When asked, Telstra highlighted to DeployPartners some of the areas they believed had changed significantly through the Whisper implementation:
- Project management of the end-to-end mobile base station commissioning process in a consistent manner across Australia by regional Program Delivery personnel.