WilTel Deploys Siebel

Cutting costs while maintaining service levels key in competitive telecoms industry, company says

San Mateo, CA — April 14, 2003 — WilTel Communications is using a customer relationship management solution from Siebel Systems to reduce order-entry times and cut the costs of servicing its customers, according to an announcement today from the software company.

Tulsa, Okla.-based WilTel provides data, voice and media transport solutions to customers with complex communications needs, such as global telecommunications and media and entertainment companies for which bandwidth is either their primary business or a core component of the products and services they deliver.

Excess capacity in the telecommunications industry has driven prices down over the past few years, making it difficult for communications providers such as WilTel to maintain profitability. "The only way we can succeed in such a competitive environment is to differentiate ourselves by delivering service quickly and accurately," said Jane Porter, vice president for service delivery at WilTel.

WilTel differentiates itself through a concerted effort to beat industry-standard intervals for service delivery. Typical intervals in the industry include 30 days to turn up digital signal service (DSn) and 60 days for optical carrier service (OCn). WilTel has significantly shortened these order intervals and focuses on meeting the customer's requested due date. Before deploying Siebel Communications, however, substantial effort and human resources were required to meet these dates, driving up business costs substantially.

In a bid to improve its competitive edge, the company deployed Siebel Communications in an implementation that took less than six months. Siebel replaced a legacy system that had limited growth capabilities, poor integration with other systems, and inadequate data integrity.

"Our existing systems did not support our goals for automated provisioning and customer self-service," explained Brent Harris, project manager for Siebel applications at WilTel. "With Siebel Communications, we now have a platform to enter orders, break them down and process them automatically."

Following the implementation, WilTel was able to shorten the average order-entry time for direct access lines from eight hours to 45 minutes, reduce overall order-entry time by 50 to 80 percent, and save $10,000 each month through a reduction in time spent on account maintenance, security, queries and the elimination of paper files.

As a result of decreased order-entry time, the company has been able to reduce headcount in its dedicated order-entry staff from 22 to 10 people, saving nearly $500,000. Additionally, because the order-entry process is much simpler, project managers who deal with customers directly can enter orders while talking to them, increasing order accuracy and leading to higher customer satisfaction, according to the solution provider.

"With Siebel Communications," Porter said, "we saw an almost immediate increase in customer satisfaction from 56 percent to 89 percent, helping us retain customers and minimize customer acquisition costs. And the efficiency and productivity gains are translating directly into dollar savings."

WilTel has completed the first three phases of its Siebel deployment and expects to complete phase 4 in late 2003. "Phase 4 of our Siebel deployment will interface with a new provisioning system, providing us a framework for flow-through provisioning and Web self-service capabilities in the future," said Harris.