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Success Story: PowerNet Global Communications
PowerNet Global Communications (PNG) Chooses Empirix to Automate VoIP Monitoring and Improve Call Quality.
PowerNet Global Communications (PNG) offers a wide range of integrated voice, data, and Internet solutions nationwide to residential and commercial customers. A key component of its growth is its ability to offer new telecommunications services, particularly those related to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) traffic.
PNG sought a VoIP monitoring solution that would allow it to take a proactive approach to VoIP troubleshooting, fix problems more quickly, improve the call quality of VoIP traffic, and reduce costs. It turned to Hammer XMS, a carrierclass VoIP monitoring solution for next-generation services. As a result, it has gained a projected, cumulative five-year net benefit of $840,634, driven by reductions in customer turn-up costs, call center costs, and network operations center costs. The solution has an ROI of 330%, and a payback period of 10 months. PNG is now able to monitor and proactively troubleshoot VoIP calls, has increased customer satisfaction, and will be able to more easily launch new revenue-generating services in the future.
The Challenge: Monitor and Troubleshoot VoIP, Reduce Costs, Increase Customer Satisfaction
Cincinnati-based PowerNet Global Communications (PNG) is an integrated communications provider that offers a wide range of integrated voice, data, and Internet solutions nationwide to residential and commercial customers. It has been awarded the Inc. 500 private business award for being one of the fastest growing and leading private companies in the country.
A key component of its growth is its ability to offer new telecommunications services to both residences and businesses. At the heart of those new offerings is the company’s use of IP communications, notably Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
PNG handles traditional TDM as well as VoIP traffic. The company had no solution in place to monitor TDM and VoIP traffic, and no way to guarantee its VoIP call quality, or to quickly troubleshoot VoIP-related problems. PNG was looking for a solution that would do the following:
- Maintain high quality of VoIP traffic. With no way to monitor VoIP traffic, it was difficult for PNG to ensure the quality of VoIP calls. In order to keep customer churn to a minimum and to maintain high growth, it was important that PNG keep customers satisfied by maintaining high voice quality. PNG was looking for a monitoring solution that would allow it to measure and ensure high voice quality.
- Take a proactive approach toward VoIP troubleshooting. With no VoIP monitoring solution in place, the only way that PNG knew it had a problem with VoIP calls was when it received customer complaints in its call center. Instead, PNG wanted to fix any problems before they became noticeable to customers.
- Identify problems more quickly. Before having a VoIP monitoring solution, it could take 30 minutes for PNG to identify a VoIP-related problem. PNG wanted to significantly reduce the amount of time it took to identify and fix VoIP problems.
- Reduce call center costs. Because PNG had no way to proactively monitor and fix VoIP problems, the volume of trouble calls to its call center was higher than the company wanted it to be. It wanted to reduce call center costs by reducing the number of trouble calls that agents had to handle.
- Reduce troubleshooting costs. The lack of automated monitoring tools made it difficult for PNG to easily uncover the cause of problems. The company was looking for an automated solution that would quickly pinpoint VoIP issues, and reduce the staff time required to find and fix problems.
- Reduce carrier and customer turn-up costs. Whenever PNG brings a new carrier or customer onto its network, it must go through a series of interoperability tests. PNG was looking for an automated way to verify the quality of new connections.
PNG Chooses Empirix’s Hammer XMS
The PNG engineering team conducted a competitive search for monitoring solutions, considered solutions from several companies, requested references from each, and did on-site evaluations. PNG chose Empirix’s Hammer XMS because it performed the best in real-world situations, and had the most comprehensive feature set. Particularly important was Hammer XMS’s ability to handle SS7 as well as IP protocols, including H.323 and SIP. PNG’s network works with both TDM and IP protocols, so it was looking for a monitoring solution that could handle both.
Hammer XMS provides monitoring for carrier class VoIP networks, and is designed to ensure the reliability and quality of next-generation services. It integrates active and passive VoIP monitoring, providing the truest assessment of network and service behavior. Synthesizing a wide range of critical operations data, from real-time metrics on network performance to extensive signaling and media metrics on every call, makes Hammer XMS a valuable asset across multiple groups within a service provider organization. With Hammer XMS, network engineering, planning, operations and customer care teams are more efficient and confident in rapidly deploying new services as well as in maintaining services with higher quality and at lower cost.
The Bottom Line for PNG
A detailed analysis of the implementation shows that PNG will gain a projected, cumulative five-year net benefit of $840,634 from Hammer XMS, driven by reductions in customer turn-up costs, call center costs, and Network Operations Center costs. The project has an ROI of 330%, and a payback period of 10 months. PNG is now able to monitor and proactively troubleshoot VoIP calls, has increased customer satisfaction, and will be able to more easily launch new revenue-generating services in the future.
The greatest financial benefit comes from staff savings related to PNG’s call center. Previously it could take a long time to resolve problems, and affected customers would contact the call center, requiring help with resolving problems. A single issue affects multiple customers, and so a single issue can spark numerous calls. Because Hammer XMS has significantly reduced the time it takes to resolve issues, fewer calls are being made to the call center. As a result, the PNG call center will be able to resolve problems for customers using less staff time, leading to a projected, cumulative $597,278 in savings over five years.
PNG will save substantial amounts of money related to network operations center (NOC) costs. Previous to the use of Hammer XMS, when a trouble ticket was opened, a series of test calls had to be made to determine the cause of the problem, and engineers had to trace those calls to determine the source. The process increased time to troubleshoot a ticket. Hammer XMS automates monitoring and troubleshooting, allowing for faster problem resolution, and ensuring that the right issue is being solved. PNG can now track down problems 35% more quickly. This will allow the NOC support team to monitor traffic in less staff time, leading to a projected, cumulative $398,185 in savings over five years. PNG is also currently working on using Hammer XMS to provide automated outbound alerts, so that the system can send out notifications whenever potential problems are found. This new process will lead to even faster troubleshooting times.
PNG will also save a significant amount of money in savings related to customer and carrier turn-up. PNG will be able to verify service quality without going through a lengthy series of interoperability tests for turn-up; instead, the relevant voice quality information can be automatically gathered using Hammer XMS. This will reduce the amount of staff time required for turn-ups, leading to a projected, cumulative $99,546 in savings over five years.
Looking to the future, Hammer XMS will allow PNG to launch new services that it otherwise might not be able to offer. For example, PNG is considering providing SIP gateways for small and medium-sized businesses with PBXs. Hammer XMS will play a vital role in the new offering.
Hammer XMS is also helping PNG move into the wholesale network business. “Companies in the wholesale network market won’t even talk to you unless you have the proper monitoring and alarm tools to certify that you are proactively watching your network,” says Jason Gaddis, PNG’s manager of IP Solutions. “Hammer XMS gives us that ability, and is allowing us to significantly expand our markets into areas we’ve never been able to go before.”