According to Deloitte’s 2022 report, the telecom industry is facing multiple challenges with the rise of 5G technology. These challenges range from rising competition among service providers to novel threats relevant to the novel 5G technology.
In this article, we explore how RPA can intervene to tackle rising telecom challenges by solving simple customer service issues, automating data processes, and mitigating cybersecurity risks. And select RPA vendors allow telecom operators to experience these benefits in a test environment before making a financial commitment.
1. Automate data processes
RPA bots are programmed to replicate human interactions with GUI elements, making them a great candidate to automate data processes in telecommunication, including:
- Transforming unstructured data (e.g. invoice PDFs, handwritten site reports) into structured and machine readable data using OCR and NLP.
- Updating relevant databases with data from emails, invoices, and reports, such as network usage by user, server logs, and last network maintenance record.
- Performing extract, transform, and load (ETL) processes and maintaining an audit trail of data transfers.
- Cross-checking data against different sources and cleaning it from duplicates and errors.
2. Provide self-service options to clients
A 2020 survey reports that unassisted customer service portals are increasing in popularity among telecom service providers as ~69% of telecom customers attempt to resolve their own technical issues before reaching out to the service provider. Additionally, customers who attempt but fail to resolve their issues before having a technician visit rate their satisfaction 16 points less on a 1000 point scale.
RPA bots provide a 24/7 available self-service portal to customers, as they can:
- Collect information about the customer’s inquiry
- Fetch data about the problem from relevant databases and troubleshooting documentations
- Generate a step-by-step guide to solve the customer’s problem and communicate it to the customer either via a chatbot or via email
- Generate a report about the customer’s inquiry and upload it to the ticketing system.
3. Help agents tackle First Call Resolution (FCR)
First Call Resolution (FCR) issues are problems reported by customers to customer service employees via emails, texts, or calls, which can be tackled by guiding the customer through troubleshooting steps.
RPA bots can help customer service agents enhance their productivity and increase the speed of the FCR by:
- Fetching data about the problem from the relevant troubleshooting document and presenting it to the agent.
- Notifying the agent about the customer’s demographics (location, past purchases, currently used services, past service towers near them) to enhance the customer’s experience.
- Upload the relevant FCR data to the ticketing system.
See our article on RPA use cases in customer service to learn more.
4. Monitor networks and servers
According to a Nokia report, network traffic grows 30-45% each year, increasing the pressure on service providers to ensure that their infrastructure is sufficient.
RPA bots can significantly reduce the amount of manual work required in network monitoring by:
- Generating timely network usage reports by collecting data from relevant servers and IoT devices.
- Sending notifications to relevant employees if incidents or downtimes are detected.
- Performing regular diagnostics on server performance to ensure correct and stable server connections.
Data generated by RPA bot reports can be used to further analyze network performance in order to optimize networking and integration strategies.
5. Detect security threats
Deloitte claims that telecom companies are a big target for cyber threats because they control critical national and international infrastructure, and maintain a significant amount of customers’ private data (e.g. phone number, address). And with the rising cost of cyberattacks and data breaches (up to $4M per breach) it is important to mitigate these risks to avoid tarnishing the brand’s reputation and facing lawsuits (see Figure 1).
RPA bots can help telecom service providers avoid cyber threats by:
- Automating privileged data management
- Automating software updates and patch downloads
- Detecting unauthorized access and reporting it to specialized employees
- Running cyber threat hunts and penetration tests
- Detecting malware and virus attacks by leveraging NLP to detect malicious language in received emails and links.
See our article on RPA use cases in cybersecurity to explore these cases in detail.
Figure 1: Impacts of cyberattacks on businesses
6. Ensure compliance
The telecom industry is governed by standards that ensure consumer privacy and welfare. These standards and regulations are constantly being updated to match the emerging technological advances such as 5G, AI, and IoT. Therefore, it is important for telecom organizations to stay up to date about the regulations to ensure that their internal policies comply with the regulatory changes.
RPA can tackle several compliance related challenges by:
- Automating data processes, thus minimizing data errors
- Creating audit trails to monitor user activity
- Cross-checking process logs against policies
- Scraping regulating websites to notify compliance and audit personnel about policy modifications and regulatory updates.
See our article on compliance automation to explore RPA use cases and benefits for compliance.
7. Competitor analysis
Telecom is a fast growing industry with many emerging companies trying to join the marketplace. Keeping tabs on competitors’ offerings, unique product features, and customers’ reviews enables businesses to gain insight about market trends, and optimize their products and strategies accordingly.
RPA bots can help telecom business leaders analyze the market and their competitors by:
- Scraping competitors’ websites to identify new products, features, and customer base.
- Monitor competitors’ prices and packages for implementing dynamic pricing models.
An alternative to RPA solution, businesses can leverage web scraping tools that automate data extraction from web pages in a timely manner, and send it to the user in the designated format.
Explore competitor monitoring automation in more details.
For more on RPA
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- 11 Steps to Prepare and Implement RPA Successfully
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This article was drafted by former AIMultiple industry analyst Alamira Jouman Hajjar.
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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