Building a business activity monitoring system for excellent customer journey

Case Solita and Proximus: Building a business activity monitoring system for excellent customer journey

For a telecom operator, a view of the complete journey of its customers is worth its weight in gold. Showing where things can be done better is a crucial element in such a competitive market. The Business Activity Monitoring tool (BAM), developed together with Solita, provides a clear view and helps Proximus – the number 1 Telco provider in Belgium – serve its customers better.

You could compare Proximus’ position in Belgium with the Atomium, Manneke Pis, or even pralines: incontournable. Proximus is the telecom operator that grew out of the public company RTT and later Belgacom (the Belgian state is still the majority shareholder in the company). For almost 100 years, it has been responsible for telephony traffic, and more recently for Internet, TV connections, mobile, and a wide variety of digital services.

As a market leader operating in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving landscape, the challenges are considerable. Not least on the IT front. “Searching for new technologies is in our DNA”, says Vincent Ghislain, responsible for middleware IT at Proximus. “This means that we have to guarantee the IT impact of things like 5G and the fibre network. But the challenges go much further than that. For example, digitalisation has entered a new phase, that of self-service. We must also offer this possibility. The switch to the cloud is also important, as is the fact that data must now be able to be consulted and passed on in real time.”

How to map the entire customer journey to help rolling out fibre network throughout Belgium

On top of the numerous IT challenges resulting from the evolution of our society, Proximus, as a market leader, is also a huge company with approximately 11,000 employees, it is one of the largest employers in Belgium. This means that a lot of attention has to be paid to an optimal company structure and workflow. In particular, cooperation across departments is a priority.

This is also how the BAM project came into being. “We found it important to gain insight into all the processes of orders and their follow-up and wanted to look at it from a business perspective”, Vincent Ghislain begins. “We wanted to map out the entire journey of our prospects or customers in as much detail as possible, and more specifically the rollout of our fibre network.”

Solita played an important role in setting up this monitoring system. They are clearly quality consultants.

Vincent Ghislain Responsible for middleware IT, Proximus

Nearly real-time view to various business needs

Without realising it, that’s where BAM was born. The three-letter word stands for Business Activity Monitoring and, according to Ghislain, “offers a near real-time view of the execution of our processes from a global level to a detailed level.” “This way, this monitoring system can be used by many different profiles”, he says. “A manager wants to see the whole picture, while a team manager is interested in a particular part of the flow and other employees want to go into the smallest detail.”

“BAM wants to provide a very simple picture that everyone can quickly understand. The fact that we keep zooming in from an aggregated situation helps tremendously with that”, says Vincent Ghislain.

Solita played an important role in setting up this monitoring system. “They are clearly quality consultants”, is the opinion of Vincent Ghislain. “They have a good knowledge of modern technologies. We chose them in particular because of their knowledge of webMethods Software AG and Couchbase. They more than proved this in practice. Moreover, we noticed that through contact with certain people of these software suppliers, they could solve problems more quickly. Gradually, we noticed that they were also very experienced in using an agile approach.”

That’s how Solita also got involved in setting up the agile operation with scrum masters. “We came up with that question ourselves”, Vincent Ghislain recounts, “but Solita responded very quickly. In no time at all, two of their consultants were trained as scrum masters and could guide us.”

Case Solita and Proximus quote
We now have a system with building blocks that makes development much faster and allows you to plan progress much better.

Vincent Ghislain Responsible for middleware IT, Proximus

Reference architecture for modularity, scalability and resilience

Solita also helped in the search for a reference architecture. As mentioned, BAM started with a single project, but gradually developed into a general monitoring system. “It grew very organically”, says Vincent Ghislain. “You start with a first project, followed by a second. Gradually, you notice that the same building blocks come back and that a larger framework could help. That’s why we stopped development for a while and concentrated on the architecture. Modularity, scalability and resilience were the keywords here. We now have a system with building blocks that makes development much faster and allows you to plan progress much better.”

Large volumes put high requirements on data quality

Finally, the term ‘nearly real time’ also deserves some explanation. After all, BAM collects data that is used and visible in the monitoring tool seconds or minutes later. Vincent Ghislain explains that this is one of BAM’s major challenges: “Large volumes have to be processed. And, on top of that, the quality has to be monitored: storing the data in the right order is extremely important for accuracy. We hope to develop this even further.”

Dreaming of mapping the entire customer journey – end-to-end

After all, Solita’s work is not over yet. “In the future, we want to be able to reconstruct the complete customer journey of all our customers”, Vincent Ghislain points out. “End-to-end. By this, I mean recording and reporting all events in the entire journey. Everything can then be transferred to our analysis systems so that process architects can make improvements. This is happening today but with multiple sources of information and not near real time.” The possibilities of having this overall E2E process view is what is making Vincent enthusiastic.

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Watch the video where Joseph Antoun, Business Activity Monitoring Manager, tells how Proximus built a data-driven architecture to empower customers.

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