NBN Co speeds up service delivery with automated tools

The organisation is building capabilities that automate service activation for retail and wholesale service providers

NBN Co is using management software tools to help speed up the delivery of new high-speed broadband services across Australia. The National Broadband Network wholesaler has deployed IBM Rational software to build the capabilities required to automate the process of activating services for retail service providers.

In March 2011, NBN Co engaged IBM Global Business Services to implement core business and operational support systems with intelligent interfaces that enable retailers to more efficiently order services, report faults or complete service qualification checks.

At IBM Software’s recent Innovate 2012 event, Tony Christensen, head of tools, methods and quality assurance at NBN Co, told CIO that the IBM Rational tools have removed some of the repetitiveness of work done at the NBN Co National Operations and Test Facility in Melbourne.

They enable NBN Co’s developers to manage changes to interfaces, automate the service testing and delivery cycle and accelerate project schedules.

Specifically, they allowed development teams responsible for managing NBN Co’s access seeker portal to build functionality much faster. Retail service providers (the NBN's equivalent of ISPs) use this portal to interconnect with NBN Co’s systems to order broadband services for their customers. Larger service providers use a business-to-business gateway.

“At the moment, activation of some of our [high-speed internet] services is down to five minutes; mid-last year, it was in the order of hundreds of minutes,” said Christensen. He added that the organisation was aiming to complete tens of thousands of service activations per day within a couple of minutes each.

The automation provided by these tools enables development teams to make changes, such as amend the layout of a screen [in the portal], within hours as opposed to several weeks.

“[Previously], if we wanted to rearrange a screen or implement a configuration change, we would have to go through a prolonged change control process,” said Christensen.

NBN Co can also make configuration changes to its physical network inventory every two weeks. The organisation wants to be able to make changes “more frequently than that,” according to Christensen.

He expected the tools to progressively deliver benefits across all of NBN Co’s business units, in the hope that the organisation would hit its service delivery goals ahead of time.

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