Nick Leake, director satellite customer at Optus is a big fan of ServiceNow, the company that provides IT services, operations and business management. He says the cloud-based technology has enabled him to bring products to market much faster and give the business unit much greater agility, and much-needed independence from the Optus IT department.
Speaking during a panel session at the opening of ServiceNow’s new Australian headquarters in Sydney’s World Square office tower, Leake said that, as a minor business unit in Optus, Satellite had struggled to get its projects prioritised by IT.
“It was very difficult for me to get access to IT systems when I was trying to develop a product that might deliver half a million dollars of revenue compared to a mobile product that might deliver tens of millions of dollars,” he said.
“So I started to look at how I could be more self-sufficient in the way I manage my products and in the way I mange my customers.”
Leake said Optus Satellite had embarked on a ServiceNow journey about five years ago. “We have now developed ServiceNow to a full BSS OSS architecture for all our satellite products that is fully supported by Optus IT, although I do have my own IT section.”
Without recruiting any IT skills, Leake said Optus Satellite had become largely self-sufficient in IT. “I have basically retrained my satellite engineers and technicians. I have architects and developers and I am fully self-sufficient for my day-to-day operation. For large projects I use ServiceNow companies that help me build more complex products and services.”
He said ServiceNow had made Optus Satellite much more agile. “Instead of taking a year to 18 months to deliver a product I can do that in three months. I can do rate card changes in a week, I can do simple products in a month. It has enabled me to be very, very fast and efficient. When the market moves I can develop a new product very quickly.”
Leake said Optus Satellite’s ServiceNow-based IT had proved invaluable when Optus won the rights to deliver English Premier League soccer matches to an Australian audience.
(In November 2015 Optus announced it had won the exclusive live broadcast coverage and digital rights for broadband and mobile for all 380 Premier League games for three seasons starting August 2016.)
Leake said it had become apparent that terrestrial networks would not be able to deliver EPL reliably, so Optus Satellite was called on to develop a product that could deliver the games to consumers and to pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars.
“We were brought in late. We were given six months to develop this product which included a completely new set-top box that is 4K-ready and that has 12 tuners so you can watch every single game. We built that product in ServiceNow.”
He said that Optus Satellite also had to build interfaces between ServiceNow and CRM systems used by different business units targeting the enterprise, small business and consumer markets.
“For Small Business we did a full B2B interface to SalesforceCRM and to Oracle for Consumer,” he explained.
“The final piece is that we automated the interface into our installation and maintenance company so we have full flow through provisioning from receipt of order in Salesforce CRM through ServiceNow into the installation company. And we did all that within six months.”
He added: “That was brilliant from an Optus Satellite perspective because it really established within Optus and Optus IT that ServiceNow is the Optus Satellite platform.”