Service and maintenance costs are one of the key fronts in the battle on costs, particularly for incumbent telcos. They need to be able to make more productive use of field staff. A recent acquisition by SA’s Telkom points the way that things may go.

Advantex r7, MDSI Mobile Data Solutions Inc.’s mobile workforce management solution for the telecommunications industry, is helping 4,900 Telkom South Africa field service technicians get more work done faster, and at lower cost. Telkom South Africa has also expanded the scope of MDSI’s implementation.

The 4,900 technicians represent the conclusion of Phase I of MDSI’s implementation of Advantex at Telkom South Africa. At the conclusion of the three-phase project, approximately 13,000 technicians will be operating at peak efficiency, thanks to Advantex. Advantex automates all aspects of fieldwork including scheduling, dispatching, workflow, capturing details of work performed, closing orders and communicating results in real time.

According to Johan Mare, Telkom’s Managing Executive of Operational Support Services, "Managing workflow can be a headache for any service company with a large mobile workforce in the field. With Advantex, we ensure that the appropriately skilled technician gets to the right place at the right time, completes their work in the most efficient way, and instantly communicates work status updates to the head office."

The Telkom South Africa project was originally scheduled to be completed by the third quarter of 2004. However to better meet business goals, the company has requested from MDSI additional services work, and an extension of the implementation schedule. Consequently, MDSI now expects the project to be completed in the second quarter of 2005. The contract covering these changes sees MDSI earning additional revenue from the project and being compensated for the schedule change.