Imagine a scenario where your routine is executed seamlessly, customer support is a well-oiled machine, and invoices are processed accurately. What could make this dream a reality? Robotic process automation (RPA), which can be a real game-changer for your telecom business. RPA for telecom is a strategic imperative, driving digital transformation and making businesses more responsive to evolving market dynamics.
Our exploration of RPA in telecommunications unveils six game-changing use cases, all while embracing the simplicity and speed of low-code solutions. From optimizing customer support to ensuring accurate invoice processing, RPA is a tool to boost your business operations.
But it’s not all theory; we substantiate our insights with relevant statistics on the remarkable growth of RPA in the telecom industry, backed by our rich expertise. As we delve deeper, we reveal how RPA integrates seamlessly with cloud services like AWS, empowering your business to harness the full potential of the cloud.
Learn how RPA in the telecom sector can bring both efficiency and profitability.
RPA at a glance: what’s in it for telecoms
Robotic process automation (RPA) is an important modern element of a much wider concept known as business process automation (BPA). BPA focuses on streamlining the overall effectiveness of all business processes in an organization by creating a single coherent automation framework and integrating multiple components at a low level.
RPA addresses specific tasks and routines with pinpoint accuracy using a completely different approach compared to BPA. Instead of using hardcoded automation routines relying on APIs, direct database access, or middleware components, RPA fully emulates the behavior of system users via bots — pre-recorded action sequences or scenarios executed according to configurable rules.
Robotic process automation in telecom is considered one of the primary means of maintaining a consistently high level of business support systems (BSS )efficiency, as RPA scales with the growth of the subscriber base and supports the ongoing cloudification of traditional telecom business processes. Combined with AI and ML, the technology also has the potential of addressing a variety of challenging tasks in the big data department.
According to a 2022 article by Grand View Research, the total volume of the robotic process automation market is expected to hit $30.85 billion by 2030, yielding a CAGR just north of 38% over the forecast period from 2023 to 2030.
Telecom companies have been among the most active adopters of RPA, and not without reason. The quantity of documents they process and interactions with customers, partners, and contractors dictates the need for intelligent automation at multiple levels. The promise that RPA once made has been fully delivered through off-the-shelf solutions (like UiPath, Microsoft Power Automate, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere) and robotic process automation services from competent vendors familiar with industry needs.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular telecom use cases for robotic process automation and the value they deliver.
Telecom use cases for RPA
Telecom use cases for robotic process automation are extremely diverse and depend primarily on an organization’s existing business processes and the pain points and bottlenecks the organization is striving to eliminate. However, there are a few common areas where most CSPs tend to start their RPA journey.
One of the areas where RPA truly shines is customer support. Dealing with a massive number of queries and converting them into categorized support tickets according to their content and service-level agreement (SLA) rules is a labor-intensive task — and that’s what those macros excel at executing. RPA bots do a great job analyzing and interpreting incoming email and chat requests, responding to some immediately with predefined answers from the company’s knowledge base while categorizing others and assigning them to a particular support group.
Throw in AI and ML algorithms and you can use natural language processing (NLP) and text-to-speech (TTS) for processing inbound and initiating automated outbound phone calls, make use of OCR for converting scanned images to text, and tap into massive arrays of historical data to create personalized user experiences. All of these elements can be implemented via off-the-shelf tools and custom telecommunication software development services.
Managing accounts receivable and payable for millions of subscribers and hundreds of vendors is challenging, especially considering the ramifications of invoice errors. Well-implemented business support systems (BSS )automation with strategically embedded RPA bots helps automate this complex and tedious workflow, making it less prone to errors, delays, and data duplication.
A good example of finance-related automation in telecom is the processing of emails with payment requests from vendors and contractors or purchase orders from the company’s procurement department. Bots can automatically open these emails, validate their source, extract meaningful data, and insert values into specific fields on a particular form in the company’s ERP or accounting system, then send them to the appropriate employees for approval.
Such RPA use cases in telecommunications offer tangible advantages, both direct and indirect. From invoice discounts for early payments and higher vendor loyalty to access to better offers and improved employee satisfaction — all of these perks come as a result of letting RPA bots take care of time-sensitive and repetitive financial operations that employers would otherwise get swamped with.
Network maintenance and optimization
Network issues can often be resolved (and even prevented) without replacing hardware or performing complex software reconfigurations. In many cases, preemptively increasing the threshold of a particular value or restarting a service/hardware unit is enough to bring your network status back into the green zone.
RPA in telecommunications companies can be effectively combined with AI to create highly autonomous intelligent bots that monitor network performance and replace live personnel in cases where human intervention is not required. Based on a complex set of predefined rules, these bots keep an eye on key performance metrics (such as network load, number of connections, bandwidth, and signal strength) and either act when a particular event occurs or send an alert or incident report to a corresponding system administrator.
The list of telecom use cases for robotic process automation would not be complete without data transformation. The telecom sector is all about data, and the sheer amount of it that has to be processed for day-to-day operations and big data analysis can be very impressive.
Depending on the channel or data provider that the data comes from, CSPs often need to spend considerable amounts of time and effort validating it and converting it into a usable format. This initial process is fairly time-consuming and can be automated using RPA bots that look for new files in designated locations, check them for errors and perform basic data transformations according to predefined rules. The resulting files can then be pushed to corresponding BSS solutions for further processing.
The same approach can be used for company-wide product stock level reconciliation in situations where inventory updates are submitted by remote branches or field offices via file uploads. Bots can take care of proper file naming and references, correctness of the document structure, duplicates, and more. As a result, stock level data remains accurate for the benefit of both service providers and customers.
Data entry and validation
Data entry jobs have always been associated with high intensity, tediousness, and a significant risk of employee burnout — all of which leads to errors and data corruption. This is one of the best telecommunication use cases for RPA, as bots are a perfect solution for high-volume, ultra-fast, concurrent data entry through standard forms.
Deep automation of routine back-office operations is one of the hottest RPA trends in telecom these days. Besides obvious advantages like the speed of document processing, fewer data entry errors, and higher customer satisfaction, setting up an effective RPA workflow can free up valuable human resources so people can attend to tasks that generate more added value for the company.
Although ensuring compliance with various industry and cross-industry standards and guidelines may seem to be a one-time job, reality proves this is wrong. Rules change over time, and although telecoms typically have CIOs and CSOs to keep an eye on compliance metrics, their job can be made much easier by allowing bots to automatically monitor relevant parameters and values.
This is one of the less obvious RPA use cases within the telecommunications industry, but it clearly delivers a lot of value to large organizations with multiple online resources and traffic-heavy, customer-facing applications that must comply that must comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and other similar laws and regulations.
Learn how Intellias created an automated tariff calculator with customizable filters for efficient telecom back-office solutions.
If we take a closer look at some of the most popular RPA use cases in telecom, it will quickly become evident that all of them primarily focus on the following areas:
- Accelerated digital transformation
- Improved compliance and long-term audit savings
- Better customer experience and a higher LTV
- Ability to reassign staff to streamline more complex, business-critical processes
- Reduction of data entry errors
Innovative approaches to company-wide automation help CSPs offset some of the costs of ongoing OSS/BSS cloudification while boosting the overall effectiveness of business processes and improving the customer experience across the board.
Top five RPA business case criteria
RPA is essential for achieving your business objectives in a relatively affordable manner. At the most basic level, it automates simple data entry tasks that the telecom industry abounds in. But combined with AI-powered algorithms and other modern technologies, RPA also enables a slew of advanced automation scenarios capable of completely replacing live staff or limiting their involvement to review and approval only.
In addition, unlike conventional business process automation (BPA )systems that take months to develop and deploy, RPA can be implemented within weeks thanks to no-code/low-code tools, allowing telcos to start reaping the benefits of new technology a lot faster and making any necessary adjustments while the implementation is finalized.
RPA for telecommunications must be on the to-do list of any modern telco undertaking OSS/BSS transformation and moving their workloads and applications to the cloud to cope with growing demand for performance and service diversity.
With RPA, significant improvements can be achieved in a wide range of business areas, from interactions with customers and vendors to real-time network monitoring and (semi-)automated network management.
The cost of RPA projects is considerably lower than that of traditional automation solutions, and the implementation time is minimized, which translates into substantial savings and higher flexibility in terms of process refinement and incremental adjustments.
The key to successful RPA implementation lies in the depth of understanding of the organization’s inefficiencies and a well-planned, milestone-based implementation process using appropriate customized tools, their customized versions, and fully customized robotic process automation software.
Intellias has a wealth of experience working on RPA and OSS/BSS transformation projects for major telecommunications service providers. Feel free to contact our sales team to schedule a discovery call where our experts will listen and outline your options.
Have a feeling that RPA is something your company needs right now? Let Intellias take a look at your situation and advise you on the optimal implementation scenario that delivers tangible results right away without burning a hole in your budget.