When it comes time for telcos to pick a software solution to streamline or transform their digital transformation, the decision boils down to this question: Do they select a commercial off the shelf (COTS) software or a custom solution? 3-GISKevin Noack, Director of Information Systems, and David Stoner, Director of Product Development, shared their perspectives and insights.

“I think it’s a convergence of the digital transformation and GIS, and with the off the shelf solution, not only are you getting digital…you’re also in a common communication platform,” Noack said. “ You don’t want to be in some proprietary custom solution that you can’t get your data out and share easily or share versions of it to do different entities.” Nor do you want to be stuck with a system that doesn’t match with your unique operating and service-differentiating workflows.

So, how does a telco decide on the right option? One of the primary value points for a COTS solution is in-software maintenance and support. Another long view consideration is the configurability of the COTS software. That is the ability for the system administrators to change the configuration for user sets, workflows, UI metaphors, etc. rather than having to incur additional costs for programming changes.

“Having a COTS solution allows various departments to have various access points into the application without having to do a different customized version for each department,” Noack continued.

“Really when it gets down to it, when an end user is using a system, they want it to look and feel customized for their job function. And through configuration, we really can control the look and feel and down to the workflow level for that individual group,” Stoner added. “That’s very powerful…you think about a team of disparate user bases using the same central platform to get their job done and being able to provide that custom feel without the custom application code makes a big difference.”

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