Million-dollar deal

Telecoms operator Umniah splashes out on an e-business suite implementation for outstanding customer relationship management.

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By  Sarah Gain Published  December 22, 2005

|~|PHOTO-1---Amer-BODY.jpg|~|Amer: In order to provide a customer-centric service Umniah requires a strong technology backbone.|~|Jordan’s third GSM/GPRS/EDGE operator, Umniah Mobile Company (UMC) has invested a massive US$1 million in an e-business suite from Oracle. The telco worked in conjunction with global consulting and IT service provider Satyam Computer Services to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) solution and a point-of-sales (POS) system for UMC's customer contact centre. “We were looking for a technology partner with expertise in the telecom domain and a strong track record in implementing Oracle applications for new GSM operators,” explains Hani Amer, director of IT at Umniah. “Satyam met our requirements and actually exceeded our expectations.” Umniah was awarded its license from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in August 2004, and since then partner and CEO, Michael Dagher, and his Kuwaiti partners, Al Ghanem Group, have been on a major spending drive. Together they have committed to investing over US$350 million in making UMC a serious competitor in the Jordanian telecoms market. “Since our launch just five months ago we have had a lot of success. We have contributed to the development of the telecommunications sector in Jordan by delivering enhanced customer services and improved rates. The commitment from the company’s management, combined with our use of superior technology has helped us win over a lot of subscribers,” states Amer. “We acquired over 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of operation.” As customer service is a key differentiator for telcos in a competitive market, Umniah felt it was important to have its CRM in place before the company opened for business. With the operator’s launch date set for July, the company and its implementation partner had a finite timescale for the deployment. According to UMC, Satyam’s rapid implementation methodology meant that the project was delivered well within the four-month timeframe required by the operator. “We couldn’t do business without it,” says Amer. “It was a priority project and we only had a short time to deploy. The fact that it came in under budget was also an advantage,” he adds. With help from Satyam, UMC deployed and customised the CRM and POS solutions and integrated them with Oracle financials, procurement and inventory modules in the back office. These systems have been further integrated with UMC's mediation, provisioning, billing systems and IN (Intelligent Network). “The e-business suite’s built in integration was a major draw. We didn’t have to go for multiple solutions, which would have made the whole deployment more complex. Instead we have been able to have a single, streamlined system in place right from the start,” Amer says. “Because the solution is modular, we will also be able to add to it as our needs grow.” ||**|||~||~||~|Umniah says its customers now benefit from having a single access point for all their service-related queries. The operator’s employees have also accepted the solution extremely well according to Amer, who says that staff required very little training in order to acclimatise to the system. “The package is so easy to use that people can usually do what they need to with a minimum of guidance from us. The intuitiveness of the applications has totally eliminated the need for an expensive training programme.” In order to further support the company’s anticipated growth in the future, Umniah also carried out a project to simplify and accelerate the process of service activation and streamline subscriber provisioning. Working with HP, Umniah decided to deploy the vendor’s specialised OpenView operations support systems software, and an integrated service management application, to provide flexible convergent billing and other services for its pre- and post-paid subscribers. The Service Activator application, designed specifically for the telecoms industry, automatically configures the communications network infrastructure, simplifying the set up and management of mobile services. “The HP solution has enabled us to consolidate provisioning onto a single platform, which has helped reduce cost and complexity,” explains Amer. “It also allows us to deliver and provision new services more quickly.” The HP solution links directly to Umniah’s new CRM application via an OpenView Internet Usage Manager. The interface between the OpenView and Oracle solutions enables UMC subscribers to customise their services in real time, and Umniah is also able to mediate billing data for all pre- and post-paid customers into its billing system and CRM application. "Umniah is committed to providing its customers with the fast, easy activation of services and billing flexibility that other operators lack,” says UMC’s managing partner, Michael Dagher. "By delivering new services to customers faster, with the billing choices they want, Umniah can provide a better customer experience and reduce our own operational costs." Currently, Umniah is still working with Satyam to iron out the usual post-implementation teething problems with the new software, tailoring it to fit the new operator’s everyday business activities now it is up and running. As the widespread use of telecommunications services in Jordan continues to grow, Umniah plans to secure a significant market share in the country. With its constantly growing subscriber base, Amer says UMC will continue build on its existing infrastructure with expansion projects and new developments over the next year. “There is hot competition in Jordan, and elsewhere in the region, for telecommunications providers. Umniah has to be able to offer the best quality products and services if we are to stay competitive,” says Amer. “UMC’s goal is to provide a customer-centric service so that in the future we can propel our business into other regional markets, and in order to do this successfully, the company requires a strong technology backbone.”||**||

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