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IT drives HKBN's quantum leap

Sheila Lam (Computerworld HK) | Feb. 13, 2014
Hong Kong's telecom market boasts high-speed connections and ultra-competitive pricing. Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) relies on IT to keep its edge among such intense competition.

Hong Kong's telecom market boasts high-speed connections and ultra-competitive pricing. Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) relies on IT to keep its edge among such intense competition.

Innovation in IT and process re-engineering transformed HKBN's operations in 2013, and the person driving the change was its CIO, Eric Ho.

Ho joined HKBN in July 2012 and quickly implemented bold moves and transformational initiatives. He revamped the firm's IT infrastructure by building a private cloud, moving all mission-critical applications to the cloud, and transforming the carrier's operational process — all in less than two years. Ho's vision brought transformation to HKBN's business and earned him the 2013 Hong Kong CIO Award in the medium enterprise category.

Organized by Computerworld Hong Kong and CIO Connect, the awards program seeks to identify IT leaders who demonstrate outstanding vision and execution in their roles as technology leaders. The judging committee consists of nine local and overseas IT executives and industry experts, including CIO Connect Chief Executive Nick Kirkland, former winners like Joe Locandro and Sunny Lee.

"During his short tenure at HKBN, Eric has exemplified how IT innovation can be used to achieve quantum leaps in operational performance and service quality, and how this can be done in light speed," according to the judges' comment.

Operational transformation
One major transformation at HKBN in 2013: digitizing and re-engineering the services subscription and work orders allocation processes. This initiative shortened the time for HKBN customers to schedule a field engineer for service installation after subscription-confirmation — from a minimum of two days to as quickly as 15 minutes.

Like most local telcos, HKBN was a manual, paper-based operation. Most service subscription orders were collected via a paper-based subscription form, then manually input into the system before distribution to field engineers (via paper-based work orders) for service installation.

By taking advantage of mobility and cloud, Ho re-engineered the sales, payment and service installation processes. Frontline sales staffers are equipped with iPads and now capture sales orders and handle payments via a customized mobile app, with confirmations sent via email. Field engineers can also receive work orders via their iPads on the road, significantly reducing the time required to travel and collect paper-based work orders.

Subscribers are encouraged to make orders online, allowing them to schedule installation on the same day. Engineers that are in the neighborhood can provide an installation service within hours or minutes.

"We are the first carrier (in Hong Kong) that is able to provide such speedy service," said Ho. "The dramatic improvement can only be made possible with the cloud platform."

Fierce competition
Only five months after Ho took office, he suggested a revamp of HKBN's IT infrastructure by introducing a cloud computing strategy.

 

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