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July 15th, 2022

How Dakota Carrier Network (DCN) is putting customers first by automating wholesale network order management

The world is changing rapidly due to technology.  A host of technological and societal advances are creating new network capabilities that can, in turn, support new applications and use cases across industries. As Communications Service Providers (CSPs) expand their networks and transition to cloud architectures to meet this demand, they're seeing the inadequacy of their commonly performed system processes, which are stuck in the dark ages of manual operations.  

While the front end of the business is promising customers new, innovative, faster services via advanced technologies, when it comes to delivering those services the backend systems are still operating with slow, outdated, manual processes and legacy systems, creating a bottleneck of operational inefficiency. To adapt and stay competitive in this quickly evolving digital environment, CSPs must automate.    

Dakota Carrier Network (DCN), a premier partner for secure, high-speed technology solutions, has had ambitious growth plans to deliver exciting fiber services to the state of Dakota–considered one of the best states in the country for broadband coverage. DCN is owned by thirteen independent rural broadband service providers, representing all the major local independent broadband service providers and serve more than 164,000 customers in 300+ communities–more than 85 percent of all the exchanges in the state. But, there was one thing standing in its way of achieving its ambitions–its outdated order management system. 

“Over the course of any given month, we're generating over 4,000 emails in the process of quoting RFPs and orders for network connectivity. So, we're trying to find a better way to utilize our time and not risk missing or delaying our responses to quote requests or incoming orders,” commented Mark Aslakson, Wholesale Sales Manager at DCN. “This might be hard to believe,” he continued, “but we still receive at least one Access Service Request (ASR) a month on our fax machine. We knew there was a better way to do this and definitely wanted to update our processes.” 

But service providers no longer need to be held ransom to the manual, order management systems of the past – and their carrier customers will thank them for it. Instead, Neustar Universal Order Connect (UOC) simplifies and automates the wholesale buying and selling of network access. Acting as a single entry point for end-to-end service fulfillment, UOC streamlines the process of ordering any type of wholesale access and transport connectivity. 

Register here to view the on-demand webinar, Creating Order(s) from Chaos, to learn more about UOC and how DCN plans to roll out the solution to support its wholesale business.

Service providers must automate to meet rising expectations.
What DCN had been experiencing is more common than you think. It’s been estimated that nearly 15% of orders are canceled due to data issues. The manual swivel chair processes that are masking system interoperability issues mean project managers spend up to 40% of their time servicing inquiries. These issues, together with the lack of transparency on order status or history, can result in order cycles of more than 50 days. 

As new services such as SD-WAN, IoT, Industry 4.0, 5G Fixed Wireless, and Cloud Computing accelerate, this will be met with higher expectations by service providers that their services will be delivered faster, regardless of location. 

The marketplace will only become more competitive, and buyers will be looking for someone who can move quickly and respond to the orders. 

To meet current and future demand, providers must be able to buy and supply wholesale network connectivity quickly and profitably. In our service provider survey, 92% of respondents said having a streamlined and automated system for ordering wholesale broadband is vital to help decrease network deployment times and protect margins.

Mr. Aslakson at DCN agrees, “In a competitive marketplace today, we need to move with speed and accuracy through each phase of quoting, ordering, and delivering of service. And we know wholesale buyers are measuring the performance of every carrier they buy from and based on those metrics too.”

No more wasted time and resources.
By eliminating manual processes, UOC enables wholesalers to provide greater visibility and transparency and deliver a better experience to their enterprise customers, providing the end-to-end order automation needed to stay competitive and keep business customers connected. With up to a 5X improvement in quote-to-cash timelines and cutting up to 60% in time spent on managing order inquiries, carriers can deliver more services to more clients more quickly than ever before.
Key features available with UOC include: 

  • Service availability marketplace: Enable customers to locate where their requested service is available, obtain a quote, and turn quotes into orders on one screen
  • Frictionless order receipt and processing: automation and user-friendly workflows make managing incoming orders more efficient
  • Real-time event status updates: online portal streamlines the exchange of information between buyers and sellers
  • Automated reporting on operational metrics: gain real-time insights and trends to make data-driven decisions

When asked about building a wholesale order management platform in-house, Mr. Aslakson replied, “We tried to develop our own custom system to handle orders but supporting something like that takes a great deal of resources that we couldn’t commit to. Neustar already has the interfaces and connections with the carriers we work with, so there's no need for us to go reinvent the wheel when we can work with Neustar and everything's already in place.”

Learn more.
Get the details on Universal Order Connect (UOC), download the cheat sheet, and register here to view the on-demand webinar, Creating Order(s) from Chaos.

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