Expert NOC Services Provision post-COVID19 outbreak
Pruning during pandemics
At the biggest operators in Europe and North America, headcount has been declining for years. According to its annual reports, Vodafone employed 111,684 people in 2015. The number of employees had declined to 95,219 as a result of downsizing and divestments in 2009.
Thousands of jobs have been cut as companies have consolidated overlapping roles after mergers and acquisitions.
The only way to increase profits in low- or zero-growth markets has been to increase efficiency. Technology is opening up new economic prospects.
According to Della Valle, both obstacles are now being cleared by the pandemic. Even consumers who have opposed online shopping during national lockdowns have reluctantly embraced the practice. Customer support centers are becoming crowded and unsanitary. Chatbots such as TOBi offer an alternative.
Vodafone and other operators equipped their staff to work from home in that part of the business. The automated network operations centers (NOCs), once a virus’ favorite hangout, are being cleaned up. There have already been hundreds of job losses at Vodafone’s NOC, and hundreds more are still pending.
Know about outsourcing telecom NOC Services post-COVID19 outbreak.
A Light Reading report tracks employment trends at 21 major service providers headquartered in Europe and North America. More than 44,000 jobs have vanished from the ten companies that report their numbers quarterly, instead of just when they report annually.
The number of jobs eliminated is down from more than 53,000 in 2019. In Europe, however, the rate of decline has accelerated, as COVID-19 lockdowns have caused some financial difficulties for some of the region’s biggest players.
Telecom Italia, one of the major incumbents, has cut the most jobs as a percentage of its total workforce, laying off about 2,700 workers in the first nine months of the year.
As a result of increased competition from the Iliad, an aggressive new entrant, it has lost customers and had to lower prices. Revenues are dropping, debt has risen and the company requires investments in infrastructure. As part of the solution, the company should reorganize its workforce based on new technologies.
Germany’s Deutsche Telekom is responsible for the biggest decline in headcount in absolute terms. By the end of 2019, it would have employed over 237,000 people, including Sprint, the US operator it acquired earlier this year. According to the operator’s earnings report for the third quarter, nearly 10,000 of these positions had been eliminated by September.
Deutsche Telekom has beaten its competitors in its key markets, unlike Telecom Italia. Meanwhile, workforce pruning has fattened profit margins in the country after country with sluggish sales growth.
How have you managed NOC Services since the COVID-19 outbreak at ExtNoc?
An effective Business Continuity Plan has been implemented for our organization. We have received approval from our board and our external audit agency for this plan. When we realized the gravity of the situation following COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the country, all employees were prepared to work from home starting March 20.
Our objective was to protect employees under government guidelines, to ensure business continuity, and to ensure the customers were not hindered in intimating claims or renewing policies.
The arrangements for the trip were made with great confidence.
In addition, new threat indicators and advisories have been added around COVID19 to tackle cyber threats. Our response teams are on high alert to support clients around the clock.
Using SSL VPN and DLP (Data leak prevention) software, we have facilitated the work from home of support office staff through restricted access and two-factor authentication via VPN tunnels with restricted access. Hence, the security aspect of the project is also considered to prevent any glitches in the future.
Are there any specific hours during the day when network resources will be made available?
We have installed a dual Internet leased line (ILL) system in our support office as well as our branch offices. To handle any kind of network load, the center is equipped with more than one gigabyte of bandwidth. In addition, a network load balancer is implemented to handle such scenarios. We have dedicated network engineers in our NOC monitoring for any kind of network outage and coordinating with concerned ISPs for restoration round the clock.
What is the process for posting NOC employee attendance?
The employee attendance system we use is web-based and available on mobile devices. Web Punch has been enabled in both facilities so that the system can capture the right date and time when workers are working from home. In addition, it will provide the user with the ability to capture the geolocation of that area, which will then be used to calculate attendance for the payroll department.
Are they still meeting with customers in person or are they conducting virtual meetings since they will no longer work from home?
Our NOC experts are proficient with the digital platform and can use it effectively. We have also established a WhatsApp presence. Mobile apps allow customers to tag documents during policy sourcing, and they can send documents through WhatsApp. Policy documents are dispatched via Facebook Messenger and email, too.
Has your public cloud exploration reached the point where it can be used for back-end operations?
In terms of regulatory compliance and regulation, we have a long way to go before we can start using public clouds. Few NOCs have moved their entire operation to the public cloud, so we have taken a cautious approach. We are now evaluating and researching the possibility. The public cloud will be adopted after we comply with our compliance requirements.