Tell us about your role at Adapt IT Telecoms Australasia and what you are passionate about?
I’ve been working for Adapt IT Australasia for 16 years, specifically in the Advanced Analytics space for the CDRlive solution. My role as an Application Support Manager entails a variety of activities, such as diagnosing and addressing technical issues and incidents related to CDRlive, triaging, prioritising, and ensuring that these incidents are resolved in a timely manner. Also, making sure there is a high level of customer satisfaction by dealing with user concerns and inquiries.
Other duties involve performance assessments, building a collaborative work environment, as well as developing and maintaining support and operations documentation related to the Mobile Network Operator with whom we collaborate. In addition to this, I lead a team responsible for assuring the efficacy of Adapt IT’s application support operations in the Australasian region.
My passion lies in solving complex technical problems and assisting users with application issues. Plus, ensuring a positive user experience and promptly meeting their needs. I find great fulfilment in enhancing procedures, workflows, support services to boost productivity and user satisfaction.
Why Adapt IT
Because I am constantly learning, and my tasks change on a regular basis. These are two important factors in my opinion and Adapt IT gives me that space.
Working in an Analytics team, what are the key challenges you face in your position on a day-to-day basis?
Well, one of my first challenges is to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of data that often arrives inconsistent in the system. Data are sometimes error-laden, and when so, they spread across multiple sources, which necessitates cleaning and validation before being presented to the users.
Second, the integration of data from different sources. Every source, in fact, provides data in different structures, and it is quite time-consuming to organise them.
Third, adapting to evolving project scopes and requirements causes uncertainty and demands task prioritisation. In fact, when technical tools and the whole landscape of analytics are advancing, it requires us to continuously acquaint ourselves with new analytics tools, languages and statistical techniques.
The Fourth challenge will be communicating or translating our technical findings to non-technical stakeholders. Effective communication through visualisation or reporting is crucial for us.
How do you prioritise and manage many support requests and problems to guarantee timely resolution?
Managing a high volume of support requests and problems necessitates high effective customer support. So, in order to remain efficient, we have put in place a few things, such as:
- A ticketing system, used to diligently log and manage support requests. This system assists us in organising and prioritising requests, ensuring that no issue is overlooked.
- We streamline our efforts to prioritise these support requests based on characteristics like immediacy or user impact, as well as the nature of the problem. As a result, setting specific criteria for each priority level leads our prioritisation process.
As soon as we receive the tickets, we attempt to undertake a fast assessment to identify their urgency and potential impact.
- Inside the team, assistance requests are assigned to team members based on their experience and workload. This guarantees that we are handling the load and that the most qualified person is handling the request.
- Another point is to keep an open communication with users throughout the support process, so that if there are delays in resolution, we can provide updates and change time frames to keep users informed and reduce ambiguity.
- We hold daily stand-ups as a team to discuss the status of open issues and communicate progress.
- Another aspect is constant improvement, which applies to every department or rule. We periodically assess our support procedures and performance indicators to pinpoint areas that could be improved, based on customer feedback and data-driven insights.
What distinguishes CDRlive as a unique value-added offering in the Telecom industry? How does it empower the industry?
CDRlive is a tool built for the Telecom industry. It offers real-time advanced data analytics, customer experience enhancements, IoT management, smart billing, data-driven network optimisation, and much more. In essence, CDRlive strengthens the Telecom sector in a number of ways. To mention a few:
- CDRlive enhances efficiency by providing advanced data analytics and AI-powered solutions.
- It helps Telecom businesses streamline their operations, optimise resource allocation, reduce downtime and ultimately increase the effectiveness of their systems.
- With analytics, it improves customer satisfaction and real-time customer experience enhancements.
For example, if a user is having call dropouts, they can call the MNO’s call centres and have them look at the network in real time to check what the issue is. CDRlive provides this capability.
- Furthermore, with the comprehensive industry standard around the security framework, CDRlive safeguards Telecom networks and data, ensuring a secure environment for both service providers and users.
For clients using CDRlive, I believe there are more monetisation opportunities.
- Smart analytics tools and insights help Telecom businesses offer flexible plans and capitalise on new revenue streams while aligning with changing consumer demands.
Network optimisation is a significant deal in the Telecom industry; thus, data-driven network optimisation helps them increase network performance, reduce downtimes, and provide a flawless customer experience.
Can you talk about any specific innovations or advancements in Application Support that you’ve implemented to enhance the company’s processes?
We implemented quite a few processes that improved the entire end-to-end process for supporting the CDRlive application. We’ve implemented a proactive support method, which entails analysing repeating trends and answering frequent questions before users raise them. As a result of this proactive approach, we have significantly reduced our inbound conversation traffic, allowing us to optimise our team’s time and resources while still providing a wonderful customer experience.
We’ve included reporting and analytics. We use powerful reporting and analytics tools to generate reports and analyse data from support incidents. As a result, this data-driven approach leads our decision-making processes and helps to enhance the support process continuously.
It has been really useful to apply predictive analytics in application support. Therefore, by looking at past data and patterns, we can really spot prospective problems before they worsen.
We’ve incorporated dashboarding, so there’s a lot to keep track of. Before, most of the monitoring used emails as alerts, but now we’re actively using dashboards with filters to narrow down issues.
With the growing importance of remote work and decentralised teams, we have embraced remote diagnostic tools that allow us, as a support team, to diagnose and troubleshoot application issues.
As a team, we operate in a DevOps environment, ensuring that support considerations are factored into the development cycle. This integration helped us achieve a stable and supportable application.
Smart alerts and notifications were incorporated, and now the system issues alerts that are based on thresholds. Consequently, any unexpected patterns or potential issues will be sent to our support teams. Again, it serves to prevent issues from escalating.
Please discuss the role of Automation and self-service capabilities in Application Support for analytics. How do you leverage these to improve efficiency?
Automation and self-service capabilities, in my opinion, are critical in maximising application support for analytics or efficiency, as well as improving user experiences. Automation is used to evaluate and classify incoming support requests quickly. Then, it ensures that the major incidents get prompt attention while the less urgent issues are scheduled for resolution.
Next, there are real-time monitoring systems, which automatically discover and report performance lapses or data discrepancies, prompting automated alerts and notifications. This simply empowers our support team to proactively address issues, avoiding disruptions to production systems.
Our self-service tools enable our users to run diagnostics on their pipelines or models. These tools support potential data quality concerns and assist users in troubleshooting their analysis without our intervention.
Automation definitely manages dull or repeated processes, such as the ETL process, generating reports, and data refreshes. CDRlive comes with all these automation options built in. Since these tasks are planned to run at specific times, it enhances the fact that we don’t need to enter the system and do things manually. If a user requests that you send them a report every month with other pre-defined criteria, we can automate that within CDRlive.
Continuous performance monitoring of analytics apps, databases, and servers is also accomplished through automation. So, any degradation in the performance will generate an automated alarm, and these alerts are fully configurable within the CDRlive application.
Will Technology in the form of AI and Automation ever replace human capabilities? Why?
The answer is not quite straightforward and depends on a number of factors, such as the specific tasks you’re trying to automate, whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) is really needed for that specific task or the type of industry in which you are seeking to integrate AI or Automation.
There are many instances where technology excels at performing specific tasks that are monotonous, rule-based, or auto-driven. These tasks might involve our entry-routine calculations, pattern recognition, and basic customer service interactions. This is where I believe AI can truly assist. As technology progresses, more of these duties are expected to be automated using AI. However, we should keep in mind that automation or AI is more likely to complement human abilities than entirely replace them.
Innovation, creativity, and abstract thinking are the areas where, according to me, human capability currently excels more than AI. Again, AI can analyse large amounts of data swiftly and provide recommendations, but it often lacks the understanding and ethical thought that people bring to complex decision-making. AI can help generate ideas and solutions, but it lacks the actual creativity and innovative thinking that humans possess. It still struggles as well, to fully comprehend key components of communication like complex emotions, empathy, and social intelligence.
On top of this, humans have the potential to learn and adapt to new situations, environments, and challenges. We are quite good at interpreting context, sarcasm, irony, cultural nuances, and communication.
As an Application Support Manager, what advice would you give to young people looking to pursue a career in this field?
Based on my experience, I will say, stay curious and keep learning because the Technology industry is constantly expanding.
You must embrace the mindset of lifelong learning, remaining curious about the latest trends, tools, and developments. I used to do networking exercises and try to integrate and understand innovative technologies on my own, back then when YouTube tutorials were not as popular as they are now. I used to complete tasks by reading books and implementing them in my modest home lab environment.
Usually, with jobs, the first question asked is about your experience. Thus, apply for internships or part-time jobs in a Tech company. For that, you need to develop a portfolio. If you are doing anything at home or as voluntary work, put it in your portfolio as well, specifying the experience you earned from it.
Develop good problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities as well. The ability to assess complicated situations and find unique solutions is highly valued in the technology sector.
Along with technical skills, focus on soft skills because effective communication, teamwork as well as adaptability are required for career growth and success.
Finally, human errors and failures are common in the Tech sector. See them as a chance for growth and learning.