Skip to main content

Digital Transformation Plays Pivotal Role in Transformation of Voice Provisioning for Telcos

voice p blog v2

Interview with John Denemark, SVP Carrier Provisioning, TransUnion

In today’s telecom landscape, the winds of change are always blowing. Communications service providers (CSPs) — challenged by inflation coupled with limited revenue growth — are facing a storm that necessitates a shift in how they manage their businesses.

With customer demand for advanced network connectivity, faster speeds and reduced latency continuing to increase, the industry finds itself at a crossroads, juggling the need to modernize along with pressing challenges of escalating costs. To weather this storm and emerge stronger in the digital era, CSPs need to embrace digital transformation initiatives that help automate and streamline operations.

Service providers are finding the need to update legacy equipment and processes especially burdensome when it comes to voice provisioning. TransUnion TruContact™ Voice Provisioning helps CSPs automate the entire inter-carrier number porting process to reduce complexity, errors and order fallout while expediting provisioning.

We spoke with John Denemark, SVP of Carrier Provisioning at TransUnion, who has over two decades of expertise in voice provisioning. Not only does he have a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances in this space, he has also contributed significantly to the evolution of voice provisioning processes over his 20-year tenure with Neustar, now a TransUnion company .

We interviewed John about how the industry is changing and how digital transformation plays a pivotal role in reimagining voice provisioning. Here’s what he said.

Q. In the voice services domain, what challenges or issues are operators grappling with in today’s environment?

The voice provisioning area of the business has always been a bottleneck of highly complex tasks, including the activation and deactivation of telephone numbers and number porting. It doesn’t seem like it would be a complicated task until you dive in and realize the number of steps that need to be taken and the intricacies of each step. While this industry segment is burdened by its inherent complexity, it’s also being impacted by a diminishing pool of expertise.

Q. How is the industry responding to these issues?

There are several different approaches I see operators taking. Digital transformation is just one way they’re addressing these issues, which helps automate and streamline operations, optimize limited resources and uncover cost efficiencies across their businesses. As part of the digital transformation approach, we also see many operators transitioning their businesses to become Internet Protocol Enhanced Service (IPES) providers, otherwise known as VoIP providers.

Q. How are IPES providers different from other service providers?

IPES providers are a relatively new company classification, at least compared to ILECs and CLECs which received their designations in the 1990s. An IPES provider operates a 100% VoIP network without the use of time-division multiplexing (TDM).

Q. What drives service providers to become IPES providers?

A key driver in becoming an IPES provider is escalating costs of maintaining legacy equipment and network like switches and TDM trunks. To reduce these rising costs, IPES providers migrate off that legacy equipment to an IP-based network and then partner with an IPES enabler — which provides access to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). This transition allows IPES providers to disconnect their old facilities and save money on the monthly recurring charges of maintaining old legacy networks.

Q. Do IPES providers manage their own telephone numbers?

Once an IPES provider receives VoIP numbering authorization from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it can obtain its own numbering resources. The process includes being assigned a new Operating Company Number (OCN) from the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) and registering the OCN as a Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) Service Profile Identifier (SPID). With these designations, they’re responsible for the Numbering Resource Utilization Report (NRUF) forecast submissions, just like a CLEC or ILEC would be.  

Q. What are the benefits of becoming an IPES provider?

There are two key benefits: cutting costs by discontinuing the maintenance of outdated TDM networks and facilitating a smoother expansion into new markets for business growth.

Q. Is it difficult for a service provider to transition to an IPES provider?

When transitioning, it’s essential for a service provider to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. There are many steps in becoming an IPES provider and the process can be very complex. This is where we come in. If a service provider is a TransUnion customer with one of our TruContact Order Management solutions, we already have its porting history. We’re its SOA provider, we understand the workings of its business, know who its trading partners are and what it has deployed — so it’s just a matter of updating its existing solutions and project managing the migration. Additionally, our professional services team knows this space very well and can help the IPES provider with the planning and execution of the whole setup and SPID migration.

Q. What about non-TransUnion customers – what would be the benefits of moving to TransUnion as they transition to becoming an IPES provider?

Since they would be transitioning all their business to this new IPES entity, this is an ideal time to move to a new order management vendor  — before they set up the new entity. Our team has the deep industry knowledge and background to support service providers in this area. Each team member has at least 20 years of experience in this space, so our clients won’t be getting a junior associate as a lead point of contact to help in this delicate transition. The benefit we provide is in the efficiency we deliver — and this is only possible through our many years of experience.

Q. As part of the transition, what are some services TransUnion provides IPES providers?

The TransUnion Professional Services team conducts a series of advisory services that help an IPES provider, including Integration and Test Support, Fall Out Analysis, Order Reporting and Analytics, Business Process Optimization, TN Inventory Analysis, SPID Migrations (CLEC to IPES but also MVNO to MNO, M&A), and Bulk Order Processing. Each of these services helps the IPES provider ensure a smooth transition to providing services. The entire project starts with a discovery session(s) to review how the IPES customer is setting up the new IPES OCN/SPID, its LEC profiles (new vs updated), and its roll-out and migration strategy from TDM to IP for project scope/planning.

Q. Since IPES providers own their telephone numbers, do they have the same challenges other operators face regarding telephone number porting?

Yes, they do. For example, porting a telephone number can be a very complex task. Without automation, service providers must manage this process manually, which means writing interfaces to potentially hundreds of partners. Additionally, there are a multitude of associated services, including Local Service Requests (LSR), Inter-Carrier Communication Process (ICP), Intermodal Porting, Service Order Administration (SOA), Directory Listing, Directory Assistance, Enhanced 911 (E911), Line Information Database (LIDB), and Customer Account Record Exchange (CARE), that all need to be updated with a variety of entities and across multiple systems. The entire process is cumbersome and manual, which opens the door to errors and order fallout. These challenges result in delayed port fulfillment, slower time to revenue and very unhappy customers.

Q. How does TransUnion address these porting challenges?

Our TruContact Voice Provisioning portfolio of solutions, powered by Neustar®, helps CSPs automate the intercarrier porting process for faster and better performing telephone number porting. It starts with a single interface with all national and international carriers and listing services to reduce the complexity of manually reaching out to every separate entity previously mentioned (i.e., LSR, ICP, SOA, E911, etc.). Our Enhanced Service Request product can take in a single order format that covers all carriers and ancillary entities, simplifying the entire number porting process. We also automate the telephone number provisioning workflow by prevalidating orders and enriching missing or wrong data based on our proprietary database and years of expertise. This results in industry-leading, ultra-fast, end-to-end number porting and fulfillment with minimal fallout. In addition, we automate NPAC updates. These automated updates, coupled with our robust flow-through provisioning, provide faster activation and time to revenue for our service provider customers.

Q. We haven’t touched on telephone number inventories yet. Is this an area TransUnion handles, too?

Absolutely. A service provider’s entire business is underpinned by telephone numbers. Provisioning and activation, billing, point-of-sale, customer service, 911 systems and caller authentication all depend on the right telephone number. However, our research shows many service providers’ telephone number inventories are outdated or inaccurate. This is partly due to the fact many providers still manage their inventories manually. Our TruContact Number Inventory Management solution, powered by Neustar®, helps service providers reduce telephone number inventory staleness through a single repository of all their numbers to reduce order fallout, inaccurate assignments and out-of-service issues. It also automates time-consuming NRUF reporting — which can be a real efficiency gain for an operator with today’s staffing challenges.

Q. In the context of the evolving digital economy and diminishing experience level of wireline/voice services professionals, how can CSPs strategically manage costs while ensuring operational efficiency and addressing the knowledge gap?

Controlling costs amid this knowledge gap presents a significant challenge for CSPs. To help mitigate these challenges, they can invest in automation to streamline routine tasks, optimizing resource utilization and minimizing operational costs. For the more specialized areas requiring human expertise, outsourcing to a specialized vendor like TransUnion can be a cost-effective way to bring a wealth of experience and understanding to get the job done efficiently.

Q. OK, last question. What sets TransUnion apart when it comes to voice services?

The number one thing that sets us apart is our extensive expertise — which is demonstrated by a tenured staff with over 20 years of experience. Leveraging this knowledge, we’ve developed a suite of automated Order Management and Numbering Services products to streamline many of the everyday tasks CSPs face. While automation has helped smooth out many complex processes, some areas still require intelligent manual intervention. This is where our Professional Managed Services team steps in, handling intricate issues like porting concerns, order fallout and other order management functions. Partnering with us, CSPs get the best of both worlds: access to our expertise and our suite of automated solutions, better ensuring a seamless transition to emerging technologies, operational efficiency and increased margins.

With a proven track record and long-term relationships with hundreds of telecom providers, we stand as leaders in this space — genuinely committed to your success. Our motto is: We win when you win.

Learn more about TruContact Voice Provisioning.

Do you have questions? Our team is ready to help.