Batelco boosts network efficiency

Bahrain’s incumbent telecoms operator, Batelco, is preparing for market liberalisation in the Kingdom by making itself a more customer friendly and responsive organisation.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  June 26, 2003

Streamlining|~||~||~|Bahrain’s incumbent telecoms operator, Batelco, is preparing for market liberalisation in the Kingdom by making itself a more customer friendly and responsive organisation.

Under its Get Ready! scheme, the telco has been carrying out departmental streamlining processes to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. The project spans from back office operations, such as network services, product development and corporate affairs, to the development of front end departments, including a customer services operation.

“We are now some six months into the Get Ready! project and the achievements we have made are very impressive,” claims Samir Nooruddin, Batelco’s chief operating officer.

“Everyone inside Batelco knows the Get Ready! project is a comprehensive change management programme throughout the company, but we decided to share this update so they [the general public] can see just how busy we have been in getting ready for the arrival of competition in the Kingdom,” he continues.

At the back end, Batelco has also formed a network strategy/IT department, which has been tasked with defining the telco’s infrastructure planning for the forthcoming years and centralising management processes under a network operations centre (NOC).

“The network strategy department will comprise around five staff,” says Ebrahim Zainal, general manager, network, Batelco. “This department will function as the main interface between the front end — sales & marketing — and the back end of the organisation. The goal of this department is to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) across all platforms,” he explains.

The department is expected to achieve its goal by aligning short term planning across all platforms and carrying out rationalisation processes across these platforms. According to Batelco, the team has got off to a good start, boosting network efficiency by 16% already.

Furthermore, the NOC, which is scheduled to be fully operational by September, will also help Batelco reduce costs by providing administrators with a centralised view of the entire network infrastructure and carrying out 24x7 monitoring and basic fault management processes.

“The centralised NOC… will enable Batelco to have a single view of all its operational networks, such as the mobile network with its 17 mobile switches and 100-plus base stations, the fixed network, the ADSL networks, data networks, and so on. This will also enable us to monitor our utilisation of international capacity over cable and satellite, which is a very expensive commodity,” says Zainal.

“This optimised utilisation will also result in lower costs, and lower tariffs for the customer. Additional management tools will be deployed to help in streamlining network efficiency,” he adds.

The NOC will also enable the telco to reallocate resources and become less dependent on shift workers.

To compliment the NOC, Batelco has also deployed a centralised network inventory solution to provide information about network capacity, including historical details. “This will reduce capacity misalignments, and thus reduce working capital and operational expenditure,” notes Zainal.

Furthermore, the networking department has also assigned a team to look at its future network requirements and ensure that any expansion of the existing infrastructure will remain in line with its current cost cutting and efficiency drive.

“Batelco has recently formed a new networks strategy and infrastructure department comprising of four highly experienced technical staff. This department will be setting the direction for the long term future of Batelco’s network,” explains Zainal.

“It will also work on aligning all services provided by Batelco to use the minimum number of network platforms, hence achieving lower costs, efficiency and driving towards operational excellence,” he adds.||**||

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