ATLANTA - Emerging technologies and breakthrough architectural design strategies have allowed Verizon to simplify its customers' service experience, according to one of the company's key designers of data and e-business systems. In just six months, Verizon linked ''back office'' systems and radically streamlined its service ordering, billing and repair processes, and soon will cut on-line customer service time as well.
The advantages of Verizon's data center integration were discussed this morning at Microsoft's Tech Ed 2001 conference in Atlanta by Fari Ebrahimi, Verizon senior vice president for retail markets e-business matters. Ebrahimi explained how the new platform is updated daily to capture customer service and billing information via links between centers in Sacramento, Calif.; San Angelo, Texas; Fort Wayne, Ind., and Tampa, Fla. Operating the integrated system costs the company approximately one-third the cost of maintaining legacy systems, saving millions of dollars per year.
Handling customer requests faster during calls to call centers and simplified Web-based customer support will be primary customer impacts of the new platform.
The new platform now allows over 7,500 customer service representatives to have single-screen access to various support systems, said Ebrahimi. Before the integration, customer contact personnel had to sort through several different system access screens at their work stations to execute customer requests. The result is streamlined customer interaction for service negotiations and billing and repair inquiries, and expedited service provisioning.
The same technologies, system components and architectural design strategies will support faster on-line account management, including customer ordering, bill viewing, bill payment and repair requests through the company's Web site this summer, he said.
''Technologies like Microsoft's* Windows 2000 and SQL 2000 servers, harnessed to this challenging integration task, have helped us accomplish in six months what would otherwise have taken two or more years,'' he said. ''We've created a 9-terabyte database, enabled access and flow-through to scores of systems and millions of records, and initiated a new generation of service excellence.''
The new platform is currently deployed in four data centers serving customers in Southern, Midwestern and Western states and will be expanded to support customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states in coming months.
The platform, Ebrahimi said, is scalable to support future demand. Once expanded, it will support the entire Verizon customer record base for consumer, small business and enterprise business customers.
''What this makes possible in the future begs the imagination,'' he said. ''Our people, even as they execute this consolidation, are thinking of new ways to improve service through a platform of this power and scope.''
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com
* Trademark of the Microsoft Corp.