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Unlocking Data for a seamless transition up to the Big Switch Off

Posted on:Tuesday September 5, 2023

As the countdown to the PSTN switch-off progresses, having a clear understanding of which customers are actively using PSTN services becomes crucial. Resellers and businesses will need to have access to real-time data and analytics, allowing them to make informed decisions and plan for a smooth migration to the new communication framework. 

It has been six years since the initial announcement to decommission the PSTN network, with a target date of 2025. Now, we are only a few weeks away from the implementation of the ‘stop sell’ order. While some resellers have taken proactive steps and made significant progress with their plans, even completing their projects in some cases, many others have not developed any strategy at all.  

This lack of preparation could lead to end-customers sleepwalking into a disaster, as they seem to be unaware of the risks and unprepared for the upcoming changes. Urgent action is required to prevent any adverse consequences and ensure a smooth transition for all involved parties. 

With the sunset of the traditional PSTN infrastructure on the horizon, industry leaders are working diligently to ensure a seamless and efficient transfer of data to the next generation of communication systems.  

As a billing provider, our primary focus revolves around managing and processing data. However, we often encounter challenges when attempting to define the specific services or service types for our customers. This difficulty largely stems from the historical construction of data sets, where product grouping or differentiation has not been adequately maintained, especially concerning legacy products. 

This leads to the age-old problem of not being able to see the ‘wood for the trees’. However, with the 2025 deadline two years away, there is time, but only if companies start acting now. Those that leave it up until the middle of next year and beyond could find themselves with customers who have had their problems solved by an alternative provider. 

The best approach is to prepare your data by cleansing the information in either your billing system or CRM system. This will enable you to clearly identify the affected services, the corresponding customers, and prioritise those who are impacted by Openreach exchange shutdowns. Putting off data cleansing now might leave you with insufficient time to implement an effective plan.  

However, if your data is well-organised and clean, and you can easily identify services by product type, you should be able to develop a plan to transition to alternative services, prioritising them based on product type, location, or customer. In addition to data cleansing, it is crucial to understand the purpose for which customers are using the PSTN lines, as this information is often not clear. Initiating data cleansing and gaining a comprehension of alternative solutions are fundamental to the success of any plan. 

A billing provider should always be ready to collaborate with customers/partners to assist them in data cleansing. This collaboration aims to facilitate the implementation process and enable the easy identification of services affected by specific customers and geographic areas. 

Data cleansing and preparation in both the billing and CRM systems serve as valuable tools to prioritise tasks effectively. Taking prompt action in terms of data preparation is crucial to stay ahead of the deadline. 

At Inform Billing, our team has a track record of successfully assisting numerous partners in preparing their data, leading to improved data identification and organisation. This, in turn, has empowered our partners to make informed decisions and prioritise their activities efficiently. 

In conclusion, we know that experts have predicted that the transition from PSTN to digital networks will unlock a multitude of benefits, including enhanced call quality, improved reliability, and increased flexibility in terms of integrating voice communications with other digital services. However, the process of migrating from PSTN to all IP poses a complex challenge that requires meticulous planning and execution.  Reliable data is at the heart of decision making and critical to formulating an effective plan of attack.

Recently featured in Comms Business September Supplement: Road to Gigabit Britain 2023.

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