On a recent internal call, Nick Jones, Mobileum’s Security Business Unit CTO, gave an update on the progress of our global customer implementation programme. Naturally, we had all assumed that COVID-19 would have had a dramatic impact on our performance. However, the reality was somewhat different.
I thought it might be interesting to share some information on what we are up to and, to share Nick’s “top tips” for remotely implementing complex projects around the world during a global pandemic.
As many readers will know, Mobileum is a market leader in the Roaming, Risk Assurance and Security domains. Each of these has experienced COVID-19 very differently. Unsurprisingly, MNOs globally are reporting decreases in roaming traffic of up to 90%. Our Risk Assurance business unit notes strong interest from customers who are under even greater pressure to improve their financial performance. So how has our Security business fared?
Our experience is MNOs globally continue to focus on signalling security. Whilst we are no longer travelling, I personally do not find it unusual to present 2-3 times per day to customers all over the world. Maybe we are lucky with our timing? Network security had become an MNO focus prior to the pandemic given the well-known risks. However, as I always tell my children, you make your own luck in life and I think our phenomenal product, expertise and clear industry leadership have helped maintain our momentum. In addition, the fact that we now have our state-of-the-art SMS Firewall launched and deployed has given our deployment programme an extra boost!
So, rather than me telling you how good we are, I would rather focus on what we are doing on the “virtual” ground around the world today. Right now we have dozens of implementations of our multi-protocol signalling firewall underway. From countries beginning with A through to Z, we are beavering away to meet our customer’s needs. (in the spirit of transparency, I confess we are short of implementations in countries beginning with W, X and Y!!)
I am proud to say that although our customers understand that the pandemic will impact our progress, so far there is no significant impact on our work. However, don’t interpret that as meaning these are all simple implementations. From the very small customers up to customers with over 300M subscribers, each of these can have its unique challenges. We have one multi-national cross-continent operator group implementation underway – and the deployment is a mix of centralised, decentralised and standalone architecture. Somehow, we have managed to address all the deployment issues from hardware supply, logistics, customs and freight industry challenges to deliver on time!
So now let me hand you over to Nick who will share his thoughts on how his team has changes their working practices during COVID-19.
- Every business has had to adopt to working from home and the new challenges that brings. Asides from the obvious, for us the biggest change has been adopting appropriate remote collaboration tools. We have embraced Microsoft Teams and it is now at the heart of everything we do. It might not be the right solution for you but make sure you are considering whether there are tools that make collaboration easier.
- One of the biggest challenges of working from home is burnout. Before you know it, you can easily be constantly working 12-hour days. Do not! You must manage your time effectively and learn how to say no!
- Planning has always been the key to successful projects. That goes without saying. However, during COVID-19 times that is even more so. The likelihood of the unexpected is much greater and the impact can be more significant. Plan, plan and then plan again!
- Communication with customers has totally changed. Face to face meetings seem like a distant memory. It is not as simple as simply switching to Teams, Bluejeans, Zoom or Go To Meeting. A lot more thought and preparation is required, particularly in terms of implementation meetings. Online whiteboarding isn’t the same so diagrams must be prepared in advanced to make the most efficient use of joint time. It is as simple as recognising the change and adopting new working practices towards it.
Do not expect miracles. Unfortunately, one of the servers that was sent to a customer arrived on time with no hold ups. Sadly, the processor was bent. We did try it but, in our hearts, we knew a replacement would be required. Sometimes these things just happen!