Openreach uses Qlik analytics to halve ethernet installation times

BT subsidiary Openreach has halved the time taken to install the ethernet circuits used by schools and hospitals after rolling out Qlik's data analytics tools to its engineering managers.

Openreach's ethernet provides enterprises and public sector organisations with data transfer speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, but the company's circuit installation times were to slow for a premium product.

The telecoms infrastructure firm turned to Qlik to find out why certain orders were taking so long to complete and identify the trends that were driving the differences. That information could then be handed over to the Openreach operational teams to help them plan their installation schedules and prioritise customer orders.

"It helped us to identify those orders and the reasons why they were stuck there," Jason Teoh, head of business intelligence for fibre and network delivery at Openreach, tells Computerworld UK. "It really gave a lot of focus into those areas."

The project helped cut order delivery times from an average of 75 days down to 35 days and contributed to a huge improvement in customer satisfaction.

When Openreach launched a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey customer satisfaction 18 months ago, the NPS score that it returned were at a rock bottom minus 100. In the company's most recent survey, that had swung to plus 30.

"So the delivery times have halved, and our customer satisfaction has massively changed," says Teoh.

Picking Qlik

Openreach turned to Qlik as part of a transformation programme that aimed to update the company's IT hardware, build a new integration layer that would integrate data from disparate systems, and introduce visualisations that could be used throughout the business in place of Excel.

"That's where Qlik really came in," says Teoh. "Because it was a fantastic tool for helping us complete that last piece of the jigsaw in that end-to-end movement from data through analytics all the way to generating the right insights for the business."

The team built a number of apps during a trial of the product that demonstrated the potential of Qlik, but had to reevaluate the deployment after Openreach brought the ethernet and network infrastructure business units together to form a new department that needed to share a single analytics tool.

Openreach also reviewed Tableau and Oracle's suite of analytics tools before plumping for Qlik again.

"The thing which really stood out was the fact that it was so user-friendly for the end user," says Teoh. "For our operational teams to use, it doesn't require loads of in-depth knowledge of data and analytics and it's easy for anyone to use it.

"It's a web-type application, so you can click buttons and things pop up, but it's also really straightforward for the developers to pull in the data to create the right visualisations for the business. So it really ticked all the boxes in terms of usability for the operational teams, and for my team as well, who develop and use it on a day to day basis."

Making Qlik work

The deployment has also cultivated a data-driven culture at Openreach that has empowered employees to use data in ways that would normally require the support of an analytics expert.

Teoh advises other organisations deploying analytics to keep it simple and create a "wow moment" for the people using the tool.

"The wow moment for us came when we started sharing with our operational teams that this is the volume of orders over 140 days in your work stack," he says. "And that kind of shock really resonated with them and kicked us into action. It really gave us a different way of looking at the workstack."

Read next: Qlik CEO Mike Capone explains 'augmented analytics' strategy

Teoh now wants to roll Qlik out across Openreach's other products and give a wider range of staff direct access to the tools.

"I want to find a way where we can put all of this data in the hands of our engineers so that they can make those kinds of operation decisions themselves on a day-to-day-basis, and use the best possible set of analytics and data which is out there," he says. "That's the vision for the longer term."

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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