My name is Glenn Goodrich, I work for Enspiria Solutions in Charlotte, NC. I am a web nerd, which means this is a typical day for me. - Been working in GIS for about 15 years and on the SRV stuff for about 2
Matt Boyles works for TWC in the Advanced Technology Group focused on GIS. He is my customer. He could not be here
SRV boils down to a common business problem. YOu have services,
you want money. Specifically, your client’s money.
But, where are your clients? In the search for clients, cable companies are typically fortunate enough to have the clients call them. But now we have a new problem...
How do we know if our services can reach the client? This is the core problem solved by leveraging GIS to determine the serviceability of a given client, or at least, the client’s address.
Today’s process looks like this. After the client calls, the Cable Co sends a cable tech to their house to determine serviceability. This tech then returns to CableCo, and another tech is sent out to do the install. Finally, your client has services and you start getting money. This is not an efficient start a relationship.
Also, it costs money. A good estimate is $75 for each truck roll. Multiply that be hundreds or thousands of truck rolls, and it quickly adds up.
2 years ago, we set out to solve this issue with Time Warner. TWC had a very good idea of what pieces needed to be in place in order to roll out an effective SRV tool.
The vision is that it would be easy. A simple application used by CSRs to take an address and spit out a yes/no answer.
However, the actual path was quite a journey, consisting of some major technical milestones. We needed a map....
At the beginning, this is what we thought we needed. Where are we, meaning, where are our services. Where are they, meaning the clients with the money. Our data was likely in need of some ongoing cleaning. Also, we needed an equation or algorithm to plug in all the bits and get our yes/no answer. Finally, we needed the CSR app to be very, very simple.
So, where are we? An obvious GIS question. There are a couple of GIS items that answer this question.
The first is the cable network.
The second is the service territory. We found that using the service territory, split into node boundaries, was the most effective piece of the puzzle.
Awesome, we know where we are.
Now, where are they? TWC did have the location of existing customers, but we know where they are. We need to know where are future customers are. A question for another common GIS tool...
The geocoder. Not your run of the mill geocoder, but one that does side-of-the-road and multiple levels of geocoding, such as point, parcel, zipcode, etc. This is not your dad’s geocoder.
Awesome. We know where they are. Now we had another common problem. Data entry.
Getting 3,000 CSRs to all enter the address in the “standard” format was a challenge....we have an answer though... Address entry is dirty. St or STR? BD or BLVD
There was no real way to get the CSRs to all agree on a standard and having the web interface force them into a corner means we’d have to define and maintain the standard....so we automated it with...
CASS. Coding Accuracy Support System. The most basic standardization may be the ST to STR dilemna, but CASS does much more. This example is from wikipedia. All good, right? Not quite yet...
You can standardize an address, but that does not mean that address exists. Even a geocoder will find a “fake” address. So, how do we know if an address is physically real?
DPV. Delivery Point Verification. Basically, the USPS keeps a list of addresses that they deliver to, and you can purchase services that make that list searchable. Pass it a clean address, and it will find it. Now you know you have a real address.
Awesome, we have a cleaning service for our data. Now we need...
An algorithm. What you are about to see is a highly sophisticated equation from some of the best minds in the industry....please use discretion when you speak of it as we consider it highly classified (drum roll....)
Here it is...the equation is Are they where we are multiplied by our confidence that we are right about them being where we are. I’ll let you take that in for a minute.
So, break down the equation, can you have: A clean, standardized, geocoded address, which gives us a location that we can use to search our service areas using a point-in-polygon test. AGain, leveraging GIS (I like to reinforce the title)
The second factor is our confidence. Again, we turn to the geocoder to get a score of how well our CASS address was geocoded. Once we run that address through the DPV to see if we have a “real” address, then we have a good confidence factor.
Awesome, our algorithm is in place. Now we need to put some makeup on all this stuff..
As with all good user interfaces, we wanted to keep it very simple. No complicated GIS tools, just a form, a map, and an answer.
Google is the consummate example. Search form and answer. How much do you love Google? Not as much as I do, I bet.
Then we needed a simple answer. Low, medium, high. If it’s high, roll an install truck, if it’s low, tell them no. If it’s medium, send your check-install truck
We’re done with our checklist. Now let’s see how it looks in the real world.
When architecting the app, we knew other apps might want some of the functionality. Geocoding, CASS, DPV, point-in-polygon, etc...
So we made them services. SOA is kind of a bad word these days due to overuse and bad implementations, but it is a very valid approach
Here are the services we created. They are now leveraged by more than the SRV tool, which is what our vision was
The web app interface, gain, needed to be simple. Looking at these screen shots, we can see the form, the map, and the answer. (walk through images)
So, we used GIS to create maps, locate address, and and perform point-in-polygon tests in order to answer the SRV question.
But wait, there’s more. Now that we have an SRV tool in place...
we can start leveraging the data to help plan network build outs. If a high number of SRV calls happen in a certain area, we know we have a great chance to get new customers.
Also, a low number of SRV calls from a serviceable area can tell us where to focus marketing.
What I Did the Last Two Summers My friends and I at Time Warner decided to take a trip to Serviceability Falls. It consisted of many stops. Along the way, we saw many sites, including : - GIS Town - The largest ball of CASS (now with DPV !) - Web App City Next year I hope to go to Opportunity Junction! - Algorithm Mountain