- Who: Huawei
- What: Needed to give staff, especially those dealing directly with customers, a common way to discuss technology and transformation – both internally and externally. Wanted to enable staff to make full use of the tools and best practices available as part of their TM Forum membership.
- How: Investing in TM Forum training and certification and encouraging as many staff as possible to take part. This encompassed employees across the organization, including customer account teams, R&D, sales, marketing, delivery and more.
- Results: In just one year, over 2,000 Huawei staff have achieved TM Forum Frameworx certification, proving their knowledge and expertise in using Frameworx, the common blueprint for effective, efficient business operations in the telecommunications sector. Huawei tops the certification leader board among TM Forum members. Staff report that the training is helping them to communicate with customers better, win projects and solve customer problems, as well as improve their own career prospects.
Huawei recently concluded the first phase of a large-scale initiative to get as many staff as possible to complete TM Forum Frameworx training and certification, to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to better support their customers, as well as drive internal improvements.
Sylvia Hsiung, Director of Sales Enablement, runs the training program within Huawei. She explained the aims of this significant undertaking, “As a long-time member of TM Forum, we are strong believers in and supporters of the Forum’s concepts of standardized language and methodologies.
“Our goal in rolling this training out is to have this standardized language being adopted by our frontline staff. As more and more telecommunications companies look to adopt and accelerate digital transformation initiatives, as a partner, it’s essential that we improve understanding across our organization of both customer strategy and business processes. This enables us to communicate with customers on business value and help them achieve success. Also, many customers require solutions and specifications to be TM Forum-conformant and some even mandate that only Frameworx-certified professionals can join their delivery projects, so that is also driving this training and certification effort.”
At the heart of the training portfolio is Frameworx, TM Forum’s suite of best practices and standards that has helped hundreds of companies reduce cost, risk and time-to-market. Completing the training and passing exams gives individual members certified status as having proven knowledge and understanding of industry-recognized standards and best practices. To date, Huawei tops the certification leader board among TM Forum members – by a significant stretch.
Jade Youyu Mei is Software Marketing and Solution Sales Director, South Pacific, Huawei. He has passed exams in Frameworx; Business Process Framework (eTOM); Information Framework (SID); and Application Frameworx (TAM), achieving Knowledge Certification. In addition he has achieved Career Certification as a Business Development Manager, showing that he understands the role of Frameworx within the business and has knowledge of the key principles and deployment considerations. Mei also manages a team, and over 90 percent of his team has completed all four Frameworx courses.
He says, “This is a very good program for us to improve our expertise, especially in the area of BSS.”
He explains that the training has helped his team communicate better with customers and amongst themselves, “We have an account team, solution team and delivery team, so if our language is the same it makes things easier and more effective.”
Mei shares the following example, “Previously, the relationship between an atomic instance and a composite instance [in data modeling patterns]was quite difficult for us to describe. After studying the Information Framework (SID) [through the training], it’s now easy for us to communicate.”
Andrew Baldock, Solution Director for Integrated Solutions, Huawei, has also undertaken the training. He says the training helps improve the clarity, professionalism and speed of conversations with customers.
“It’s very useful to have the same terminology,” he says. “So that you wouldn’t be talking about, for example, the end user [as opposed to the ‘customer’], or you wouldn’t be saying a ‘solution’ as opposed to a ‘service’.”
He adds, “TM Forum’s Certification Program gave me the knowledge, tools and terminology to speak confidently with customers on topics ranging from service innovation to process and organizational transformation.”
This common language and approach isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ but actually helps with winning new business. Baldock shares the example of recent work with a service provider in Germany, where he was involved in the deployment of a system for contextual marketing campaigns: “Most of our work there was dealing with the technology and the delivery teams, but we also needed to talk to the marketing directors who were actually going to end up using this solution,” he says. “We sat down and went through a generic step-by-step customer journey, [using TM Forum’s Experience Lifecycle Model]. Then we looked at how we could help them enhance this customer journey using our technology.”
He adds, “So rather than starting from a completely blank slate, I started from the TM Forum process framework, and that really helped us to speak the same language and make sure that we covered everything comprehensively, as opposed to thinking completely ‘blue sky’. It allowed us to be more consistent and compatible with the solution that we are providing.”
As well as improving interactions with external customers, this common language and deeper understanding of the tools and processes available to members within TM Forum can also unlock internal innovation.
For example, Baldock notes that following the training he proposed a way to create a new architecture for a combined vertical technology solution.
“I based it on TM Forum Frameworx as ‘the scaffold’. I went through a number of scenarios for how this solution or product would meet requirements for the customer, mainly focusing on the Business Process Framework. I went through a number of process flows, looked at the activities that it would touch, and then how those activities could be automated or made more intelligent through a technology solution.”
He said: “This is a very tangible example of how I used the training and a new consulting methodology within Huawei that came out of it.”
With Huawei already seeing significant results from the training in a short space of time, the company now plans to press ahead with phase two.
Hsiung says, “This is a continuous process, because learning is lifelong. We want to make sure our team keeps refreshing and updating their knowledge. In phase two, we are expanding the scope of target learners/staff and the coverage of the courses.”
New areas to explore include revenue assurance, customer centricity and virtualized networks. Mei says, “I am very interested in the new training course on TM Forum Open APIs – so many of our customers are looking at this area and it will help us show we understand the benefits and applications.”
As well as foundation-level courses, staff will be encouraged to work towards deeper practitioner-level certification.
Hsiung explains, “This reflects our focus on business value and ensuring the learning is put into practice in our day-to-day work. As we spark more discussions and learning, and interaction with other TM Forum members, we hope this exercise will also generate further contribution from Huawei back to the Forum and its community.”
Strategies for success
Hsiung says that the results of the training program so far have exceeded even Huawei’s original hopes and become “the talk of the town” within the company. She shares the following strategies for success for other organizations:
- Get a senior sponsor to buy into the training program. This is important to make training a priority within the organization and to share a passion for learning among staff.
- Mentoring – encourage managers and more senior staff who have taken training to share tips, strategies and time with other learner-staff and those just embarking on the courses. Huawei has established an internal knowledge-sharing website where staff can post tutorials, Q&As, videos, blogs, discussion, etc. It has already achieved over 80,000 downloads over the year. “This helps to foster a culture of sharing and continuous learning,” Hsiung says.
- Recognize achievement – Huawei makes an effort to share the achievements of its staff, particularly around learning and development. It regularly publishes a list of those who recently achieved TM Forum certification.