Stop the status quo: Rethink your fiber network management strategy

Here is a conundrum: if fiber technology is ever-changing, why would you ever embrace the status quo for your long-term fiber network deployment and management strategy?

For service providers, this is largely a rhetorical question. You know that change is inevitable. You know that technology can be a driving force to scale business and differentiate your operations from the competition. But technology implementation has a cost, and change brings an air of uncertainty. What if we spend this money, don’t get an ROI, and possibly even make things worse?  

For many, this sentiment becomes somewhat of a reinforcement to maintain the status quo, even if there are known inefficiencies and risks inherent to current processes. 


While the telecommunications industry is historically older than most other technology industries today, the speed at which fiber demand has ballooned has left many companies responsible to develop their own best practices and processes for tracking and managing their network assets.  

Recently, I spent a few hours with one of our founders, Jerry Golden, to talk about common, yet significant ways in which communication service providers (CSPs) are currently losing revenue and stifling growth. As it turns out, one of the most common, and costly, is inefficient network data and process management.

It’s no surprise that companies in general either want to make more money or spend less money, or ideally, both.  And while attaining the ROI of change is an expectation, doing nothing often costs more in the long run than the upfront cost of implementing a new system. “A lot of times, people make the invalid assumption and think ‘If I do nothing, it’s not going to cost me anything’. Oh, yes, it will. It will cost you more than you know,” says Golden, speaking to the compounding costs of inefficiencies.  This is especially critical when trying to scale business.

“And if you keep doing nothing, and everybody’s building more networks, doing more work orders, hiring more people, then it’s not going to cost you what it did last year.  It’s going to cost you more because you’re doing more of the same inefficient processes.”


So what are the steps to maximum efficiency?  In its simplest form, it’s really taking these three actions:

  1. Adopt a unified system
  2. Perform a process audit
  3. Apply new processes

Adopting a unified system

A single, unified system with data updated in real time and accessible by those who need it, when they need it, is a major business advantage in multiple ways: it facilitates more responsive decision making, helps manage and streamline repetitive tasks such as permitting and work orders more easily, and quickly provides insight from customized dashboards and reports. 

While identifying the need for a unified fiber network management system is the first step, selecting the right one for your needs is best served by performing a process audit. That said, oftentimes these two steps happen concurrently, or at least share some overlap.

Performing a process audit

In business, where time is money, everything costs something. A process audit, the act of reviewing the steps to all the activities of an operation, will reveal inefficiencies which may then be quantified to a cost. These costs are then analyzed against the cost of implementing new processes aligned with a unified system.

Applying new processes

Now that you have identified a unified system as well as quantified cost projections and increased efficiency from the process audit results, you are now ready for implementation tailored to your organization’s specific data needs.  This typically includes:

  • Configuration - This is essentially mapping the system to the newly-optimized processes and data needs. A system with a high degree of flexibility can accommodate a large variety of data inputs and outputs while serving your organization’s specific requirements. 
  • Data migration - Physical asset data can come in all shapes, forms, and sizes.  It can sometimes be daunting to think about migrating data from multiple sources into a single system, but unifying data means better informed downstream processes.  Before taking on the task of data migration internally, compare the costs with using an experienced vendor versed in pulling data from spreadsheets, CAD drawings, multiple siloed databases, or all of the above.
  • Training and support - You can have the best tool in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it to get the best results most efficiently, then how much value is that tool really providing? Therein lies the importance of training.  When applying a solution, look for added features such as live training, a full suite of online learning courses, extensive documentation, and in-app tutorials. The right network management platform can expedite the path to your team’s proficiency.

The bottom line

Sometimes it's best to consult the expertise of those who can address where you may be generating waste with the status quo, and more importantly, how you can stop it while simultaneously positioning your organization to make better decisions faster with accurate and accessible data.

“In everything from planning to network design to permitting, you will see significant savings in time and money once you do this,” concludes Golden. “When companies finally see the numbers, it’s often far better than they originally thought, sometimes orders of magnitude.”

Read more about how this approach worked for the second largest U.S. communications service provider to global enterprise customers.


Jerry Golden has over thirty-five (35) years of experience in GIS project management; systems analysis, design, implementation; and software interface development.  His current focus is on the services side of 3-GIS, consulting with telcos to address and eliminate inefficiencies in their operations by optimizing processes and available technology.

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