IRVING, Texas -- GTE Corp. announced today that it has beaten the odds as it has done what most telecommunication industry experts said couldn't be done without disrupting telephone services -- change its provisioning and inventory platform. Working with Sun Microsystems and Informix Software, GTE was able to replace the system that assigns and activates telecom services to customers with no impact to customer service.
The new Internet-based platform called Assignment, Activation and Inventory Services (AAIS) replaces an older system that had proved to be too slow in supporting the companies new telecom services. In addition to saving GTE up to $70 million per year in just maintenance and support, AAIS can also handle broadband services such as DSL and Frame Relay.
"This type of provisioning system is at the heart of every local exchange carrier in the world and disrupting it could have been disastrous to our customers," said Shaygan Kheradpir, I.T. vice president-enterprise systems for GTE. "It took a tremendous team effort from our internal IT staff, our business partners in Network Services, Sun Microsystems and Informix, but together we were able to perform this delicate operation so that everyone benefitted."
GTE's AAIS is designed to handle enormous amounts of data - over 1 terabyte of stored information and more than 80,000 service orders placed each day. In addition to costing more, the previous system was unable to efficiently "talk to" the more than 30 different systems used by GTE, making integration and business automation a formidable challenge. The new system does so easily and is anticipated to enable both better customer service and more sophisticated offers. Kheradpir added, "The marketplace is evolving so fast, we must have a system that can adapt. The old system was just not able to handle the next-generation services GTE is rolling out so we took it as a challenge and found a solution."
AAIS: A Technically Advanced System
GTE began its search for a new solution in 1997 -- but soon realized that the existing systems on the market were unable to meet the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that called for unbundling and local number portability (LNP). It soon realized that it would have to build its own system to meet the increased needs of a major telco and Internet service provider.
Within 18 months representatives from GTE's internal IT department, GTE Network Services division (the company's incumbent local exchange carrier) and its partners, built the system with almost two million lines of code. The development team applied a continuous development/testing cycle from very early on in the process. AAIS uses a sophisticated three-tier client-server architecture, with a user interface written entirely in JAVA technology with Informix providing the back end processing capabilities through their IDS.2000 product. To handle the more than 20 million customers and 40,000 users who draw on AAIS within their daily jobs, the GTE uses multiple Sun Enterprise 10000 servers running the Solaris operating environment. It gives the company a competitive edge in the marketplace by supporting automation, and by providing a scalable, flexible back-end for e-commerce.
Telco assignment and provisioning systems generally handle very large transaction throughputs -- GTE handles 80,000 service orders a day supported by a terebyte of data on hand. The only kinds of systems likely to see similar volumes of complex provisioning requests will be those provisioning Internet services.
GTE has now seamlessly migrated 25 percent of its customer and service information to AAIS and will begin using the new system for all of its customers later this year.
With 1999 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is a leading telecommunications provider with one of the industry's broadest arrays of products and services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 18 states, as well as nationwide long-distance, directory, and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies. Outside the United States, the company serves customers on five continents. More information about GTE can be found at http://www.gte.com.
GTE's community and philanthropic programs target excellence in education, particularly math, science, technology and literacy. GTE also supports job training, delivery of health and human services, and the arts. The company's newest program is GTE Reads, a public charity designed to create public awareness, increase fundraising and support organizations dedicated to improving America's literacy levels. GTE customers can contribute to GTE Reads by checking off a box on their bill. Others can contribute through GTE Superpages.com http://www.superpages.com.