Our client, a Ukrainian telecom company that provides communication services and data transmission based on a broad range of fixed and mobile technologies, has faced the need to optimize its back-office operations. One of the company’s crucial business processes is aimed at retaining existing customers and attracting new customers, and a huge part of that relies on calculating better tariffs (plans) for B2B customers.
Tariff calculations were largely done manually, with salespeople and account managers having only an Excel spreadsheet for automation. Creating an offer for a customer involved multiple processes, including calculating the tariff with variations for different types of employees, importing and exporting data, building reports, and working with a sophisticated system of discounts and business terms. All this work was performed using numerous Excel formulas that only a few people could master.
Apart from being a tiresome and time-consuming routine that was prone to a lot of human errors, working with an Excel document with many variables created lots of technical issues. For instance, the document could crash, making it impossible for a salesperson to perform a quick tariff recalculation based on a customer’s specific requirements and a smooth live consultation.
Having analyzed the client’s general flow and existing problems, the Intellias team decided to use robotic process automation (RPA) and Microsoft Power Apps to transition of back-office operations to a more powerful environment that would optimize the speed of calculations and provide sales and account managers with a better platform.
Managing initiative details
After deciding to improve the tedious tariff calculation process for our client, the Intellias team started looking for the most efficient way to fulfill this request. One of the options was to buy a ready-made CRM and integrate it with the client’s telecom back-office systems. But after thorough analysis, this approach was rejected as quite costly and hard to implement.
Development, testing, and integration of any custom software solution would also take a lot of time and finances. Knowing that our client was already using the Microsoft environment for most of its processes, we decided to expand the functionality of the existing infrastructure by creating a software bot with low-coding and Power Apps.
Aligning the automation process
Turning to Power Apps enabled us to quickly and elegantly create customizable back-office applications within the company’s Active Directory. A tariff calculator became the first solution, eliminating tedious processes within the company. Being deeply integrated into the existing Microsoft infrastructure, this calculator is beneficial not only in terms of cutting costs and reducing the implementation time but also in increasing the security of internal processes, as it is available only to current employees.
The newly developed tariff calculator enables full automation of most processes, such as calculating a tariff for a customer, uploading a customer’s current tariff for comparison, applying various filters and discounts, and quickly creating a final invoice. This allows sellers and account managers to customize the tariff offering for any customer on the go, making a smooth presentation and giving the customer full control over the process of tariff creation.
Impact and benefits
A single engineer using RPA technologies has managed to deliver a solution that improves one of our client’s most time-consuming and inconvenient processes. The tariff calculator now covers:
- A product catalog defining the terms of all existing tariffs
- Delimitation of access roles, with administrative priority for tariff editing
- Customer access to the platform for tariff comparison
- Downloading of customer traffic data and storage of calculation results
- Export of calculation results to Power BI for visualization
- Algorithms for comparing tariffs with no down selling conditions
- Full integration with the existing client’s Active Directory
Using RPA technology has enabled easy automation of business processes and optimization of telecom back-office infrastructure. Using Power Apps to create an application lowers operating costs by almost 74%, saving money on licensing, internal development efforts, vendor applications, and code maintenance.
Apart from being more efficient, the new tariff calculator has expanded functionality, creating better offers for B2B clients. Each salesperson or account manager can now download a customer’s current tariff plan and traffic data, compare ongoing expenses with available tariff plans, and calculate a better offer without the need for a cumbersome Excel spreadsheet and dozens of formulas.