We sat down with our Unified Communications Technical Manager – Ganganath Rathnayaka to discuss an exciting project he and the team have been working on.
Tell us a bit about this project?
We are working with a leading bank in the island, who has been a long-term customer of KBSL and we have been extending our services to manage their unified communication platform and contact center for the last 10 + years. Recently, we have been involved in the complete revamp with an upgrade of the UC and CC platform.
During the recent engagement, we identified a process optimization requirement where the customer had a serious challenge with their existing overdraft payment reminder process, it was a more human centric/ human intensive operation and had a lack of visibility too. At each branch, there are two officers assigned to call and make the payment reminders to the customers who have gone with the overdraft facility. They were spending at least a half a day to complete the process and considering all the branches across the country, it was a significant effort that required a lot of time.
Since the customer had a compelling need to optimize this process, we analyzed it from start to end and understood the possibility of leveraging the existing platform to completely automate the payment reminding process. We proposed a proactive outreach manager automated camping system which consists of a camping based automated and dynamic notification process which proactively notified the customers.
These were some of its benefits:
Zero human intervention
Automated dynamic notification
Language preference automation in Sinhala and English
Account number reading
Draw power reading in Rupees and Cents via dynamic voice library
It was a highly successful solution where the customers started to use the new process from day one when it was tested without any hesitation, and now they are obtaining significant direct outcomes! Such as:
• Increase efficiency, accuracy and save effort and time • Better control and visibility • Digital experience to the customers • Clear ROI as it cut the human work more than 90% • Support for Bank digital road map
What are some challenges when designing solutions like this and how do you tackle them?
Proposing this kind of solution was not a straightforward approach as it came with a lot of challenges. Mainly it was daunting because we were doing this kind of deployment for the first time. Secondly, we had to attend to this project while we were in the middle of the UC and CC upgrade project along with a few parallel projects, basically, we had a resource gap. Also, the customers had a stint timeline to complete the project.
It was important for us to take into consideration all of these challenges and these are the steps we took to mitigate the risks posed:
We put additional effort at the requirement gathering, analyzing and design stage so that it helped us understand unseen or hidden blockers and grey areas. Doing so, helped us a lot to properly define the scope so that the project boundaries are properly set with the timelines.
Establishing clear communication to the customer about the possible timeline by justifying the reasons even though the customer wanted to fast track it made all the difference. We made sure not to deny the customer’s request blindly but to reasonably convince them to revise timelines so that there was a mutual understanding.
The team made sure to understand the severity of the project and the potential failures, we searched for an external partner who provides such a solution as a backup plan, and we negotiated and obtained a quote for their professional services. We also ensured to keep a provision in the P&L so that in a worst-case scenario we could utilize the external resource to complete the project and mitigate any risks.
As a team we did lot of preparation and R&D work in our lab systems
What gave you the confidence to take on this challenge where you could have got Principal support (Avaya) instead?
One of the main reasons to take up this challenge is the confidence I had in my team and their skill set. Since this is a custom development, we were not able to get support from Avaya, we aren’t even eligible to raise a support ticket. Furthermore, we always had the confidence and trust that our line management and higher management would be present and stand by us had there been any difficulties and challenging situations. We’ve received endless autonomy and empowerment at KBSL to go forth with decisions and pursue these challenges. I think that helps us move forward without hesitation.
What advice would you give to fellow engineers to take on similar challenges?
As solution integrators we should always think about how to differentiate our solutions over the competition and this is where we can enable the winning driver of the solution. Otherwise, we would end up with the usual price war. The best and the simplest way to differentiate is to leverage the existing base to accommodate some value additions to the customer.
We have great capabilities in this sense: • We know the market trends and opportunities available • We have great customer relationships and power of persuasion • We have an excellent partner ecosystem and technology insights • We know the basics really well!
Why we should focus on taking up these challenges: • We get better returns compared to the standard solution portfolio and we create win-win situations as customers also get better deals. • We can create a solid qualification criterion over our competition • It is easier to showcase our value proposition • Create an exit barrier • Happy Customers! • Build a positive and collaborative work environment that motivates and satisfies the team
Finally, What do you love about your line of work?
I am personally enjoying the current context of work I do and it is a pleasure and privilege for me to be a member of the solutions provider team to our valued customers. Seeing our customers reap the business benefits of our solution is something that brings me great joy and endless motivation. I’m always trying to think uniquely, provide solutions differently and optimize the solutions to work in such a way that the complete eco system works in a more integrated manner. Most importantly it is an absolute pleasure to work with my team who all have a positive attitude and a “let’s do it” approach to our work!
To learn more about the work our Unified Communications team does, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org!