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Project Management and Telco AI: Improving Customer Experience

Introduction to Project Management

Nokia is a global mobility leader, driving the convergence of the Internet and communications industries' transformation and growth. It produces a variety of mobile devices that include services and software that allow users to enjoy music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games, business mobility, and more. One of Nokia's main priorities is to expand and improve our consumer Internet services, as well as our enterprise solutions and software. Nokia Siemens Networks also provides communications network equipment, solutions, and services.

In the field of telecommunications, Nokia Software is leading the development of artificial intelligence solutions. The company's Telco AI, a powerful artificial intelligence tool for telecom operators that allows simultaneous optimization of network services and the business behind them, aims to seize the opportunities of 5G networks. While Nokia Software is presenting the solution to a potential client, the latter raises some potentially significant Telco AI concerns that haven't been fully considered: how to execute an organizational transformation to fully exploit Telco AI's capabilities, and how to avoid skill deterioration and losing control of the process to intelligent automation.

Nokia software’s with the help of a new AI software tool is trying to improve relations with its potential B2B clients. One of such clients G telecom is experiencing difficulty in managing customer service. Due to a lack of resources implementing this project is very important. An increase in the workforce is not an option. This is where automation and artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play. The company believes that technology can help solve these problems. As almost every person is a customer of some telecommunications service provider, there is a lot of data available from various sources in the telecommunications business. With the emergence of 5G networks, new opportunities to collect larger amounts of data from various aspects of the service process has opened up. Telco AI is designed in such a way that it could collect this data.

Telco's ML translates a wide range of data points into customer experience points that indicate whether the customer is happy or not using these various methods. Nokia Software has developed a telecommunications customer experience index (CEI) formula that serves as an aggregate measure for evaluating the overall customer experience of communication networks. Hence, Telco AI keeps analyzing the data and predicts how to impact the future of CEI for better customer service.

A process in project management process groups is a sequence of actions followed to achieve a particular outcome. The five processes in project management are Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. Not all five processes were used for Project Management in the selected case; some of the advantages of using these processes are outlined below.

Project Management and Information Technology Context

During the Initiation process of project management, a project charter is developed and involves recognizing and starting a new project, which is followed by the planning process group where a project management plan is structured with project scope outlined clearly, this ensures that the project is straightforward for the various teams working on it and that the project deadlines are clear, and it runs on schedule. The planning process is essential as Telco Al detects inadequate web resources; it plans to sustain the device's connectivity. After the initiation and planning process, the telco Al provides an examination to be measured by the human decision-maker in the organization's activities. The proposal is approved when the human controller is pleased with the advice and the assessment that supports it. After the human operator is accepted, the recommended action is pushed towards the engine to increase medical facilities. In the last process, Telco Al then monitors the measures' effectiveness, gathering data and activities to improve the future.

Agile project management and software identification is an ongoing strategy that allows organizations to offer value to clients efficiently with minimal problems. The agile approach is the most applicable method in this project since it results in essential software, and it benefits the company to faster product delivery to the client. It is the preferred method because it promotes empowerment and collaboration among management processing groups.

The level of integration from a project management perspective for the project was very weak. The project currently lacks a good project charter which is very essential, also the project management plan has not been fully developed in order to give direction on the project.

There is also no integrated change control in place. There is good strategic planning that went into the project selection. Viviana Rich who is the head of customer experience at G Telecom made sure she used SWOT analysis to measure and see the importance of the project to the organization. The organization also used the categorizing project method to select the project based on the criteria that the project would help solve their problem of maintaining a good experience and also saw that the new project also provides a huge opportunity. Viviana Rich was able to examine the weakness the organization currently faces “G Telecom is currently facing challenges in managing customer experience as customers are being more demanding”(Pg 102). She was also able to explore the huge opportunity the new project was going to bring in which was much better customer experience and also enable them to generate much more customer data and even enable them to predict development. This is another huge point to show strategic planning, the organization looks into future predictions and makes sure the project would help them in the long run.

Project Management Process Groups

“According to a 2013 survey, one of the best qualities admired in a company is its ability to apply IT related business capabilities for competitive advantage”(pg 12) and that's exactly what G Telecom is doing which is employing this new AI software that would help satisfy their customers and bring competitive advantage. But in order to ensure a successful project, it would be best if they develop a project charter. They currently lack a project charter which is very essential to show the existence of a project and show direction on the project's objective and management. They have some project plan in place but they have to strengthen their project plan more. They have done an introduction to their project but they still have not described how the project was going to be organized or what work was to be done and have not even decided on a schedule and cost for the project. All this is necessary in order to show the direction the project is heading at and would also help in the execution of the project.

Though G Telecom is growing, it gets difficult for them to provide a consistent and stable service. This can be seen as a requirement that the deliverable has to fulfil, in this case, is the Telco A.I From Nokia. Telco A.I would assist companies in improving their customer experience in an age where degradation of service levels are no longer tolerated. The requirements for this project are obtained from the stakeholders who are represented by Vivian Rich, the head of customer experience which appears to be customer-driven. One of the methods stated is the use of surveys sent to the customers to help with feedback and improve the quality of their service.

While Telco is Automated, it still needs a bit of human intervention to further assist. G Telecom being on a tight budget, Vivian asks “when it comes to individual users, what kind of skillset should they possess to use the application? Can our staff handle it? Do we need to train them?”(107) Which means that the Graphical user interface might not be as intuitive and understandable as he Laine thought, considering that Rich still seems uneasy with it. Another issue that seems to be disturbing Rich is Telco AI’s automatable decision-making abilities. While Nokia Software has given thought to efficiency-related parts of their service, the circumstance of ensuring the trust of clients and helping them to effectively implement the AI remains quite underdeveloped,  hence entailing the possibility of a change or adjustment of the scope.

Project Management Integration

Nokia’s product strategy manager, Mikko Laune failed to present a time management schedule that could be implemented with their Telco AI in order for clients to have a smooth transition when adopting the new software to their systems. “Laine realizes that they have not created any concrete benchmarking methods to assess a client organization’s transformation”(107).  Laine would need to assess a time management process that will go with the transformation of Telco AI so shareholders and clients are more willing to adapt to the change. The next step Laine must do is create a time management clients would need to follow while implementing Nokia AI. “While Rich is visibly impressed by the technical execution of Telco AI, she appears slightly hesitant regarding the broader organizational transformation required for effective implementation of Telco AI. “What kinds of abilities are needed from us as an organization to successfully implement it?” (107).

Laine must first develop a resource breakdown structure to identify the resources needed to complete the transformation task at hand. The breakdown structure can help estimate the activity duration, and effort needed to complete the task. Work breakdown structure highlights the cost, resource requirements and also the duration of the transformation. This can help Nokia develop realistic cost and durations for clients interested in adapting Nokia’s AI. Creating a three-point estimate gives Laine the opportunity to adapt a Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). PERT allows Laine uses a probabilistic time estimate to project duration when there are high levels of uncertainty. As Project times may vary, PERT would be the best management tool of project duration. Another method can be the usage of a Gantt chart, the charting will allow Laine to display each sequencing activity, with the activity duration, if there is uncertainty within an activity it can be given a milestone, which will help the team meet important project dates and emphasize accomplishments.

Overall, The project Telco AI was overshadowed as the product manager failed to inherit the core project management methods to successfully take on a project. Mikko Laine failed to present stakeholders with enough information and reasoning to continue moving forth with the project. Laine must focus on adding a precise time management plan to help figure out duration and cost estimates, more strategic planning by developing a project charter which should help display the objective of the project and keep stakeholders formally involved in the initiation process as stakeholders must sign off on the project charter. Moreover, Not all five process groups were used within the case study. All five process groups, which are planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing should be followed sequentially to improve the success rate of your project. Since there is a possibility of a change in scope, project scope control has to be implemented to increase the chance of closing the project and delivering the project successfully. In conclusion, If there was more strategic planning for the project and more project management methods were implemented, Telco AI stakeholders would have no reason to turn down the project.

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