A Background Into The STC Company Information Technology Essay

Saudi Telecom Company was incorporated in 1998 (Jaspersoft, 2011). As the leading national provider of telecommunication services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, STC adopted a challenging program to transform its business from a government system to recognized commercial business standards. The company is working continuously to fulfil and satisfy the market requirements, keeping pace with the emerging technologies in the telecommunications sector and satisfying its customer’s needs. Since then, the company has developed clear strategies focusing on internal re-organization, re-skilling and development of its staff, enhancement of its internal processes and studying its customers’ needs and requirements while continuing to carry out its national and social duties and responsibilities.

Believing in the importance of its customers and fulfilment of their needs, STC has adopted its FORWARD Strategy that aims to support and re-enforce its competitive position (Jaspersoft, 2011). Based on this strategy, STC strives to enhance a customer-centric culture in all its business aspects. This culture has been reflected in the organizational design of the company that comprises a corporate centre, a number of functional units and four key business units focused on the main STC customer categories which are: Personal, Home, Enterprise and Wholesale (Jaspersoft, 2011).

In the last few years, STC has gone beyond its local borders to the international markets, forming a network of businesses and investments in a number of countries, Asia & Africa. The company has now foot print in Kuwait, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and South Africa which has enabled STC to serve a greater number of its customers which the company seeks to increase internationally through studying and evaluation of potential investment opportunities in the future in line with FORWARD Strategy.

STC strategy:

The company’s strategies focused on internal re-organization, re-skilling and development of its staff, enhancement of its internal processes and studying its customers’ needs and requirements while continuing carrying out its national and social duties and responsibilities.

The FORWARD strategy is a customer centric. To sustain success going FORWARD, they have defined future strategic priorities as a long term plan composed of seven dimensions referred to as FORWARD strategy. Each letter in this word is significant and has a meaningful strategic and important message to achieve the company’s goals and objectives.

Believing in the importance of its customers and fulfillment of their needs, STC has recently adopted its “ALTALEH” strategy which means FORWARD that aims to support and re-enforce its competitive position. Each letter in the strategy name has meaningful massage. Again, based on this strategy, STC strives to enhance customer- centric culture in all its business aspects. This culture has been reflected in the organizational design of the company that comprises Corporate Center, a number of Functional Units and Four Key Business Units focused on the Key STC Customer Categories which are:

Personal BU

Home BU

Enterprise BU

Wholesale BU

First letter sign to continuing their leadership in the will of individuals market by Continued expansion in the telecommunications market through the deployment of individual technology developer third generation (3.5 G) networks.

Second letter is played a key role in the services of vectors and operators. Take advantage of opportunities to expand the services of vectors and operators to expand services in the domestic and international markets

Providing advanced services for visual and information to the residential sector.

Speed the application of broadband services to the residential sector through the implementation of multiple applications of the Internet, media, and content.

The company has focused on its excellence in the business services. Broaden the base of workers, the business sector through the design of services and integrated solutions that meet their needs

Confidence of external expansion by taking the Benefit from the expansion of business opportunities related to the telecommunications sector in domestic and international markets.

Determination of providing excellent services in customer services by

Building an operational model systems and work procedures tags based on the customers, linking structures,

The company has achieved operational efficiency and the table below shows Cascaded Strategies and Initiatives Major Milestones.  It has reduced costs and increase operational efficiency through the implementation of the concept of shared services and web development, information systems and raising the efficiency of staff.

Cascaded Strategies and Initiatives

Major Milestones

2008

2009

2010

2011

D

Capture benefits of Shared Services

Enhance IT Infrastructure for “True” Shared Services model

Automate internal processes to improve efficiency and reduce administrative costs

Enhance true shared services concept

implementation of the policies and systems

New Modules for HR, Finance, Supply chain & logistics

40% complete automating of internal processes

100% complete automating of internal processes

20%

50%

100%

Seven Steps in the ERP Process

Cornelius (2006) suggested seven such steps that define the best path for an ERP program. These steps start with the institution’s strategic plan, proceeds through a readiness assessment, vendor selection, and solution implementation; and ends with a post implementation assessment. Strategic plan provides the context and rationale for the ERP undertaking. The second step will conduct a formal assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of STC to carry out such a project. The third step presents the “preparedness step,” and will give STC the needed head start for beginning the process of selecting an ERP software provider. The forth step is the selection of ERP Providers and ERP Implementers. Once the software provider and implementer have been selected, then STC will put together a comprehensive project plan that will be the management guide for a successful implementation of the selected software. The sixth step is implementing the ERP solution and this is the most arduous step. STC may end its ERP journey at step six or may assess the implementation of the software after certain period.

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There are four main steps to successful implementations and re-implementations of Enterprise Systems.

Justifying the investment

Preparing

Selecting and developing the best system

Implementing, using a participative approach.

STC will justify their investment in the ERP, prepare and select the best system from the best vendor before they can finally implement the system.

IT

The need to make telecom sector advanced necessitated to work competitively to withstand and survive through large competing markets. So, the company developed its infrastructure, provided it with the latest technologies and trained its employees to enable them deal with such technologies efficiently. In addition, it maintained good service provision methods and high standards.

These procedures together resulted in promoted services and speedy growth.

In order to sustain the competitive advantage of businesses including business in the telecom industry, there must be an eye on the business technological development. The information technology (IT) is one of the most effective technologies that fulfil several business needs. Information technology is the tools and techniques used to store, update, delete, and obtain information, which involves hardware and software technologies (Haag et al. 2007). The use of IT improves the overall performance of the business. This is where IT improves the business operations; the way people work together, and achieve several other improvements in the organisation (Olalla 2000). Today the adoption of IT in any business has become an essential need and it is required to enhance the business performance. Honganson, K. (2001) states “Nowadays, the adoption of IT in any business serves as the primary vehicle for keeping up with growth, complexity and speed of business activities.”

According to Wei et al. (2006), the telecommunication companies are facing a continuously increasing competition. Therefore, knowledge of the market and customers has become a key success factor for organizations in the telecom industry.

In the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) SEIBEL CRM system has replaced the older ISMS CRM system, this is because the development modern CRM technologies have made the ISMS system un extensible to meet the improvements provided by the SEIBLE.

ERP SYSTEM

An ERP system is a set of business applications or modules, which links various business units of an organization such as financial, accounting, manufacturing, and human resources into a tightly integrated single system with a common platform. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are widely used to extract and process data from different functional areas across the enterprise (Gore, 2008).

The current issue is flow of information across the entire business (Hooshang M. Beheshti, 2011).

ERPs are enterprise-wide Information System packages that consist of a number of software modules aimed at supporting and integrating all business processes across functional divisions of an organisation.

ERP systems can also act as platforms or backbone systems to link the company’s back office with its front office, by integrating with other enterprise applications, e.g. supply chain management (SCM) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems (Kalakota and Robinson, 2000).

Administrative and enterprise applications are coordinated in workstation environments, where integrated management and monitoring tools provided status information as well as performance tracking and tuning. Answers to questions such as “How come I can’t get to the Human Resources System?” or “Why is the network slow?” or “How can I track the new DSL installation” could be ascertained by looking at the workstation, its processes, or the network between the user and the central computer. But in today’s distributed systems, these kinds of applications depend on multiple servers, back-end database servers, front- and back-end Web servers, distributed output devices, and sometimes application servers or transaction processing monitors, along with all the network path dependencies among these elements.

Answering the above type of questions today is a much easier task because of the implementation of Enterprise Systems and the variety of management tools available. Each platform in an Enterprise System has a different tool for monitoring its operation and performance. Above the operating system, each of the applications has a separate reporting and monitoring tool.

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For managers, tracking down the source of problems involves repeated calls and queries to each of the systems in an attempt to pinpoint the problem. Enterprise System implemented in a rightful way will consolidate and aggregate the information from the underlying layers. Enterprise Systems Management (ESM) attempt to solve this problem with a coordinated set of monitoring tools that work all the way up the protocol stack, from network connectivity and operating systems to complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) suites, and that provide a common repository for operation and performance monitoring at all levels. At the highest layer, ESM tools attempt to model and monitor systems and practices so that the overall health of a system or application (e.g., Human Resources, new DSL installation, new landline installation, DSL repair, landline repair) can be determined. When problems occur, ESM tools will permit recursive querying of the supporting components to identify underlying causes.

Implementation of Enterprise Systems (Enterprise Resource Planning) was a difficult challenge to STC. Research has shown that even today, over 60% of all Enterprise System implementations fail to achieve the benefits that justified their purchase. Because of the large number of manufacturing and data processing considerations, STC involved with selecting and implementing Enterprise Systems and how to resolve them. Saudi Telecom Company (STC) was provided with Granite Network Inventory system that provides the company with unparallel professional services for Data Migration and Adaptors Development. STC is flourished with newly built Data Warehouse for all Data Network elements. Saudi Telecom Company (STC) was provided with Wholesale Business Support Solution (WBSS) that provides a customized model and architecture for the company’s Wholesale Business Support Solution (WBSS) (Jaspersoft, 2011). Saudi Telecom Company (STC) was provided with Interconnect Billing System Operation that provided the company with the required professional services and allows it to connect with other domestic operators and make settlements (Jaspersoft, 2011).

In 2004, STC enrolled the assistance of Softway Integrated Business Solutions, one of the leading information technology companies in the Middle East to develop and implement Enterprise Systems. Work Force Management System (WFMS) was implemented two years later and this Enterprise System was an Oracle-based product designed to manage field services. WFMS tasks include creation of incidents and defining the type of each incident such as; new DSL installation, new landline installation, DSL repair, landline repair. According to Jaspersoft (2011), The WFMS schedules the tasks for the skilled engineers and the task starts its status route. The status route for each task could be New, Assigned, Complete, or Cancelled. The customer gets an SMS with the contact details of the assigned engineer and a “Confirmation Code”, which is given to the engineer post service completion to complete the task (Jaspersoft , 2011). On completion a customer satisfaction survey is carried out.

When the reporting capabilities of WFMS system were limited and STC, determined to provide excellence for its customer base, needed more information to work out how efficient its service was proving. Softway, systems integrators and consultants on the project, evaluated a number of products but the two most suitable candidates were from Business Objects and Jaspersoft. The Business Objects’ product was discounted on the grounds of expense but Jaspersoft was already a popular option as both STC and Softway had had previous successful experiences with its products.

Jaspersoft’s JasperReports Server Pro v3.7 was seen as a complex solution and an enterprise-ready alternative. Other critical factors are; its open source pedigree, low cost, rich documentation along with its powerful community base.”

Softway undertook analysis, design, implementation, test and deployment functions for this complex solution that would sit on top of the WFMS for over six month period. The aim was to achieve a system that could provide STC with all the key performance indicators it needed, in a readily digestible format, to determine how efficient its field engineers were and so how happy its customers were.

According to Jaspersoft (2011), Softway developed and customized JasperReports Server to daily report progress of tasks from Knigdom-wide to regions, dispatch centres and technicians. The server was developed and customized to report task completed with and without the customer’s confirmation code. The server can track technician utilization and report when they are active, active with no assignments, de-activated or on vacation. The server will monitor the task completion timeframe and report within committed one day delay, two days delay, and three or more days delay. It will also monitor site re-visits and report when customers were unavailable on the first visit. It traces technician commissions and report when the technicians complete more tasks than their target. Moreover, it reports on efficiency and productivity. An important aspect of the system is that by monitoring the KPIs of the field engineers around the Kingdom and auditing their work processes commission is awarded; so encouraging employees to deliver customer satisfaction.

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The limitations of the infrastructure and capability are most likely the major challenges facing STC in its adoption ERP systems. According to Laukkanen et al., (2007), the factors that are influencing ERP in large organizations vary from those influencing the Small- Medium- Enterprises. Mabert et al., (2003) suggested that large organizations benefits from adopting and implementing ERP systems range from simple organized operational level business processes to strategic decision taking capabilities. The updated IT and the ICT infrastructure play a vital role in ERP implementation in large organizations.

STC and Oracle Corporation

Saudi Telecom (STC) signed a joint cooperation agreement with Oracle Systems for transfer of knowledge of Oracle’s products and deploying them within STC. Oracle Corporation established an Advanced Customer Services agreement that helps in conducting job training to STC staff and provide a platform for technical support for all of Oracle’s products including customer relationship management (CRM), Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP), Human Resources Management Systems(HRMS), E-Commerce trading and other products.

The agreement, according to TradeArabia News Service, also includes the exchange of expertise in the field of database management and troubleshooting. This agreement will also provide solutions and expertise to meet the unique and advanced IT goals while ensuring a distinct relationship between Oracle Systems and STC. The agreement will avail advanced technical support services customised for STC as well as proactive solutions for all Oracle applications and technologies (Database, Middleware and Applications).

According to TradeArabia News Service, the customised services from Oracle Corporation provides proactive and preventative support to all STC businesses, and focuses on operation maintenance and lifecycle management, operations monitoring and management for mission critical business needs, and finally ensures preventative assessments and analysis to continuously anticipate, identify, and remediate system issues.

Enterprise Systems Management at STC

As part of an implementation of new administrative systems, ESM framework and tools, STC implement its Enterprise Systems. Few staff had experience with these tools, largely because of the high staff training requirement, which large businesses could justify in terms of revenue growth potential and income liability, and because of the overall complexity of these systems. STC has monitoring in place for its workstations and have developed or acquired point-solution tools for managing networks and systems.

In addition to the systems-monitoring tools, STC also acquired network monitoring as well as helpdesk, job scheduling, and output management tools. STC initial efforts was focused on designing and implementing the underlying framework for network monitoring tools and establishing independent implementation of the helpdesk, job scheduling, and output management tools. The last three were especially time-critical, since they were replacing systems being phased out, and efforts at integration took a backseat. For the initial deployment, few staff was trained for the ESM group to run systems management, job scheduling, and output management.

Staffing Training

Training is critical to the successful implementation of Enterprise Systems. This spans from strategic workshops on the fundamentals of Management Resource Planning (MRP) and ERP to the essential mechanics of each element. Training does not only provide employees with the knowledge and tools to do their job, but, done properly, it can reduce resistance to change. It is expected that STC will dedicate staff to your ESM efforts because the systems are complex and training is essential. Outside consultants can speed up architecture and installation issues and an experienced engineer can help steer STC around many potential pitfalls. A large percentage of ESM efforts fail, in large part because of the complexity of these systems. Establishing targeted six month goals and concentrating efforts on particular phases of the systems to monitor can increase chances of success. These phases can include overall systems architecture, framework deployment, network monitoring, job scheduling, output management, database monitoring, Web and e-mail monitoring, and finally, administrative systems monitoring.

STC can tackle its databases and higher-level systems. The up-front effort to implement the system was high relative to the benefits of existing monitoring, and much momentum was lost in time needed to implement the necessary but peripheral job scheduling and output management systems.

STC can implement major distributed applications like Human Resources System in addition to the current Finance, Accounts Receivables, and Network monitoring Systems. And project managers are now beginning to ask for the type of monitoring and management that can be obtained only within an ESM framework.

Lessons Learned

ESM software products are complex and require a large staff investment and lead time. STC and other small organizations may have difficulty justifying the overhead and expense. And even though upper management may be convinced of the need for these products, training on the use of the systems to line staff can be difficult and time consuming. ESM and Network monitoring systems provide rich functionality and robustness at the cost of complexity.

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