The biggest challenge in telecom is the adoption of automation by non-technical testers: Ratanesh Kumar

Technology assurance provider Maveric Systems provides expertise across the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) for its clients. The company is recognized as a software testing solutions provider to banking, insurance and telecommunications companies. Interacting with Ratanesh Kumar Singh, Vice President – Telecom Business, Maveric Systems, the company’s extension into telecom services is explored and how those services are aimed at eliminating risks associated with quality, cost, and time-to-market and the need for automation in telecom services is discussed.

Few Excerpts:

Voice&Data: Maveric Systems started off with servicing for the BFSI sector. How did the company foray into servicing the telecom industry?

Ratanesh Kumar: Banking and telecom, as industries, are extremely similar. They are both consumer-driven, strongly regulated and in both, any consumer touchpoints, channels, and transactions require thorough testing in order to ensure optimal customer experience especially in charging and billing. Incidentally, telecom and banking between the two of them also corner 30% of global IT spends. That meant when we looked for a second vertical to expand our services, telecom was a natural fit. One of our first clientele was a Middle East-based telecom operator.

Ratanesh Kumar Singh, Vice President Maveric Systems

Ratanesh Kumar Singh, Vice President – Telecom Business, Maveric Systems

Voice&Data: Maveric Systems is into test and automation services for the telecom, how is this service unique to Maveric Systems and how are telcos benefiting from the automation?

Ratanesh Kumar: Our test automation is focused on end to end business process and customer life cycle journey such as new sales, modification of order, plan change, bill payment, collections, late payment, dunning, SIM change, suspension, and termination, with validations across the BSS and OSS stack and covers every possible use cases across channels like SMS, USSD, Mobile and Portal. Channels include the subscribe, unsubscribe, renew, etc. kind of scenario.

Now, the biggest challenge in automation is the adoption of automation by the non-technical testers or User Acceptance Testing (UAT) engineers, and this is where our multi-tier automation helps. The core underlying automation suite is centrally maintained and is exposed to users using a web-based user interface so anyone can start the execution from their machine and the same will get executed centrally and the reports will be available for everyone to see.

The other benefit of this approach is that maintenance of the scripts becomes easy, we don’t have to keep installing and pushing the latest scripts to all automation users. Once the scripts are updated centrally, the same is available for all to use.

Voice&Data: Handling data or migrating data is super critical to the telecom industry. What kind of data services does Maveric Systems offer the telecom companies?

Ratanesh Kumar: Our data solutions for telecom operators include solutions for data quality, enterprise data warehouse, business intelligence, customer experience management, and revenue assurance. Our automated revenue assurance solution can remove any uncertainty in a billing transformation/swap or upgrade projects. It can validate every line of CDR between the new billing platform and legacy and assure the new system is fully capable of processing the CDR with zero revenue loss. The system reconciles revenue by service, call types, product, subscriber, etc., and ensures that the new or the upgraded system is fully ready for production.

Voice&Data: Telecom test and measurement too are constantly changing due to the evolution and innovation of networks. How is your company aligned to meet the demands? 

Ratanesh Kumar: The most important change we have seen in recent years is the way customers interact and engage with telcos, from being mandated to visit a shop to buy a new connection, payments, and other needs, new-age customers are preferring to go the digital way. Most decisions to buy a new connection, change plans, purchase add-ons or even surrendering a connection are done over mobile and so earlier testing a customer journey over CRM was sufficient but in today’s context the customer journey has to be tested across other digital channels like Portal, Mobile, USSD, etc., and by bringing in automation across these channels we have managed to increase the test coverage and reduce the overall test cycle time without any significant increase in the cost.

In addition, we are also trying to improve the quality of the development by integrating the automation suite with the development pipeline using the open-source integration server Jenkins so that the minute a new build is created, the automation suite can start testing.

The other critical demand for telcos is the continuous launch of new products, rate plans, etc., demanding relentless testing across the customer lifecycle along with complex permutation and combination of product rules (eligibility, compatibly and cardinality rules). Having an automation tool can cut down the testing cost by at least 30% and expedite the testing by reducing the testing cycle time by half.

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