Career Episode Report for Electrical Engineers Australia
- In my last career episode, I will deliberate on the project that I did at Rawabi NGNS located in Kingdom of Bahrain while working as the Manager Carrier Relations & Regulatory Affairs. The project was the introduction of the VNO model at Rawabi NGNS and it took place between 2011 and 2012.I was tasked with Building of the VNO (Virtual Network Operator) model that was to be introduced to other telecom operators and resellers to provide branded telecom services to their customers/clients.
Here are the company details.
Address: P.O. Box 75638, Suite 203, Almoayyed Tower, Al Seef-District
The Kingdom of Bahrain
- A business main interest usually to make maximum reasonable profit which usually from cost reduction at leveraged sales or increased sales at fixed margin price. Identification of market trends that present this opportunity are therefore highly sought after by business managers. In Bahrain ICT market, I identified such a phenomenon where network resellers, licensed operators and new market entrants were trying to avoid initial network infrastructure and technical personnel investment costs while desiring to offer network resource products and services to their clients. Since our company (Rawabi NGNS, licensed to operate in Bahrain) had the infrastructure and highly qualified, experienced technical personnel, I conceptualized an idea of solving the challenges of these other licensed operators using our strengths. In this project, I analyzed the viability, designed and built the Virtual Network Operator (VNO) Product and service model, for sale to these potential clients. I then worked to incorporate this model in to the Rawabi NGNS product cost focus and product differentiation strategies in consultation with the management.
- I proceeded to specify a set of objectives that would guide me in the project execution lifecycle, making these the targets with set timelines. I had to carry out a study on the Rawabi NGNS current network organization, set up, configuration, support, scalability and maintenance, to define the data and voice services that would be offered in the VNO model, to come up with network enhancement required to accommodate this new model, to price the product in a way that would allow a margin for VLOs to make profit while earning us reasonable revenue, to propose and negotiate contractual terms with the VNOs, to follow up with technical team in setting up service delivery, to design the quality management procedure for this model and lastly to address additional challenges that may arise out of this model.
Figure 1: organization chart used at Rawabi NGNS on this project
- In the process of analyzing, designing and implementing this model product, I played a wide role with technical, commercial and research responsibilities, as the carrier relations and regulatory manager, outlined in the following profile:
- Analyze the viability of the idea considering the current and future behaviors of the market, with bias on market acquisition and profit growth
- Design the service/product VNO model, specifying all the possible network services that can be offered through such a model
- Simulate the product performance in the market in terms of likely profit, market acquisition, sales and cost reduction margins
- Present this project work to the management and demonstrate its importance, providing an execution procedure/plan
- Advise the management on the best suitable sales/marketing strategy for this model that is customer focused and cost effective.
- Monitor the impact of this model product in the market, report and document the progress of such strategy
- Personal Engineering Activity.
- Thereafter, I prepared adequately to begin the project by making arrangements to meet with the general manager, to whom I suggested the business idea. We discussed it widely, he approved it and gave me several guidelines on how to approach the project. With these directions, I arranged an inter-departmental meeting to establish the best way of modeling and implementing the product. I then surveyed the market for potential clients and realized the viability of the project. I interviewed the clients on possibilities of expanding their market by using such a service and their feedback was positive.
- The project required large, diversified and multi- faceted data. These facts I collected from Service Level Agreements and KPIs. These provided the basic product/services specification on which I designed and built the solution. I also gathered quality standards for the network from ITU-T and UMTS network consortiums. I gathered enough scale design information from the client projected demands of bandwidth and user numbers. For the legal conformance, we based on Bahrain telecommunication law and TRA regulations of licenses and industry practice.
- I began the product design and service modeling by sketching a logical flow of processes that would be involved in analysis, design and implementation phases of the project as shown in the following diagram.
Figure 2. VNO Product/Service Model Design
- Customer Target Evaluation
I designed a low price model to attract Rapid telecommunication, a new entrant company to the Bahrain market with interests in ADSL services provision, limited by technical resources and network infrastructure capitation, alternative sources of the same service being Batelco bit stream purchase which is regulated at a higher market price by TRA.
- Core Value Proposition
By use of porter’s generic strategy model, I settled for a cost focus in both investment and operational expenses. The wholesale bit stream product, acquired from Batelco, though customized and differentiated, has a basic selling point attached to its price.
- Resource capacity analysis
I identified the RGNS strengths on its resources in terms of shareholder reputation, highly skilled engineers, scalable network and professional business culture. Then I derived the capacities on broad telecommunication technology specialized knowledge, design, customization, business product development and customer support.
- Strategic Audit and ecosystem linkage
After identifying Batelco as the only competitor for wholesale bit stream, I analyzed the strategy canvas, linking up with the RNGNS resources, capacities and customer targets.
- Management Agenda.
I used the 7S frame work to come up with management agenda that need to be implemented for continued RT customer growth, new subscribers to this service and drafted a cost-benefit analysis to ensure cost reduction in the processes.
- During this project, I did several calculations using the following mathematical calculations in examining the profitability of this project.
Gross profit (%) = (gross profit/sales) *100
Return on equity = (Net profit after tax/Owner’s equity) *100
Return on Investment = ((Net profit after tax + Interest)/total investment) *100
I also modeled the Grade of Service as follows:
Where N is the number of trunks and A is the traffic intensity in Erlangs.
In costing and pricing strategy, I based my calculation on the following expression
- After designing this product model, I presented it to the managing director, then I sourced the resources required to enhance the network, in order to accommodate these services. The cost of which was majorly realized by making use of idle bandwidth and un-utilized space in the data center. I then made the presentations with the general manager that he used to convince RT management on the new service package benefits. We then engaged other potential clients most of whom signed the contract forms on win – win negotiation result.
- The challenges arising from the development of the VNO service package model included delays caused by third party technical solution providers who the clients depended on, causing poor service quality to our clients’ customers and frequent complaints. I approached most of these clients, who agreed on our service delivery package for maintenance of these routes and their termination, as I had specified in the design and implementation strategies. These increased the quality of service and positively impacted on our profits.
- The innovative techniques that I used in this project included making a pricing strategy that allowed resellers a margin to earn profit from the VNO product/service model while giving Rawabi NGNS a reasonable revenue. I also drafted contract agreement documents upon aggressive negotiations with the OLOs, who signed and abound with our terms and conditions, with clear distinction of the role to be played by each party in the service delivery. Elimination of third parties for technical solutions would cause delay and poor quality of service to our clients and their customers, and thus offering a service delivery package to cater for this was a well thought technique that I implemented successfully.
- I greatly utilized Computer Aided Design in this project: CISCO circuit simulation platforms to model the network topologies, deriving the logical I.P address for number planning, analysis, design and audit of security systems. I used Wireshark to capture and analyze packets send over international links, which was highly useful in computing the traffic density and bandwidth utilization, providing confidential, secure information paths. More Important were the MS Office package that I used to analyze data and present precisely the VNO processes and business plan to the managers.
- I widely applied my engineering knowledge such as microwave technology, satellite communication, mobile internet services, end to end hybrid fiber network, multimedia communication systems, wireless WAN and WLANS in designing network topology for this product/service package model. I also learned a lot from this project including the process of transforming an idea in to a profit earning product, making pricing strategy on a margin squeeze within another margin squeeze, drafting contractual documents with terms and conditions for works done. Finally, my objectives were met, with profits and higher sales resulting at the end of the financial year.
- Team work was a key to success in this group work, as the manager in charge of the project, I maintained close relations with top level management, constantly updating them on the progress and holding meetings with them to discuss and evaluate project profitability. I worked hand in hand with colleagues heading the Finance, H.R/Admin and Sales/marketing departments in Rawabi NGNS as well as OLOs management to ensure effective and smooth project lifecycle.
- For future developments, I made a final report that was stored in our storage server solution for access whenever required. This detailed all the data collected, step-wise design of the VLO service package, its performance evaluation in the market and all the necessary information and data that one would require to invent a similar solution. The presentations I drafted in MS Power point and projected during meetings were highly effective in making the stakeholders understand the product operational details.
- Safety and security in this project was observed in assuring the confidentiality of information, security/access to the parties involved without leakage to the public domain, to avoid infringement of copyright and intellectual property rights while guarding the image and cooperate brand reputation of the holding company. I remained accurate on customer information in our databases especially on monetary issues. I observed the code of conduct outlined in engineering society and TRA regulations. More so I standardized my work with ISO quality procedures.
- In conclusion, I deeply analyzed, designed and implemented the VNO service package product for Rawabi NGNS, which helped the firm realize profits and recover from financial constraints that had resulted from previous losses occurring due to high competition and weak marketing and sales policies. I managed to change the market share trend that was continually downgrading and increased the delivery efficiency for VLO clients at wholesale scale other than retail. Team working with all the stakeholders finally gave us a shared success whose benefits are also equally shared. Most important to me was the entrepreneurial experience I learned from this project and the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills.