Knowledge in the making

Knowledge in the makingA BT developed diagnostic tool is transforming the way BT Wholesale handles broadband faults for its customers.

Since the trial launch of Knowledge Based Diagnostics (KBD) in 2008, after a series of 'ideas' workshops between BT Wholesale and its customers, there has been a steady improvement in fault analysis. Current figures now show a recommendation of the cause of the fault in 97 per cent of tests.

Previous analysis using the ‘one shot check’ method gave mostly inconclusive data with outcomes of 45 to 60 per cent - and then only as a pass or fail.

The one shot check method is reliant on the customer having network knowledge, and submitting a predetermined fault report code into the testing tool. One shot check then carries out all testing and checks simultaneously. But the fault report code is often incorrect and this conflicts with the testing, and leads to the high volume of inconclusive results.

A key part of KBD - developed by the BT Design business - is an innovative interactive system for customers which uses a range of information to provide a more accurate recommendation of where the fault lies. Present figures show that KBD is 84 per cent accurate on these tests.

As a result there is a quicker response to customers and crucially a quicker business decision on the direction of the fault and which BT business should handle it.

Faster fix

BT Retail used KBD to make such a decision for its business recently as Yvonne Forrester, BT Wholesale project manager for KBD explains: “KBD underpinned BT Retail's decision to introduce home IT engineers to its business. And it has reduced BT Wholesale’s fault volumes by nearly 3,000 a week, and more importantly it means an appropriate and faster fix for customers.”

Greater interactivity with BT Wholesale customers’ and a reliable and robust end-to-end process has also gone a long way to highlight KBD as a credible tool with quicker one touch test and diagnostic capabilities.

Now BT Wholesale and its customers work closely together, using previous fault records if necessary, to trace the fault. Tests are then run to provide a more accurate assessment on the condition of the line, and a statement is provided on the recommendation on the next course of action to take.

Cost efficiencies

The KBD tool was designed with communication providers (CPs) and their end users in mind. Its flexibility guides dialogue and leads to more reliable analysis. The impressive results so far are helping CPs to make decisions on the next stage of each fault. Overtime it will also provide them with the opportunity to change their fault business model.

For BT Wholesale, KBD is proving an all-round success. From a business perspective it's having a major impact on all round cost efficiencies. Each KBD fault now costs less to process in BT Wholesale due to the improved diagnostic tests.

But as Yvonne Forrester says: “KBD is also enhancing BT Wholesale’s broadband reputation in a highly competitive UK market where end users are quite rightly demanding higher levels of service.

“And CPs have a method which can streamline their broadband fault handling policy, and customer faults are diagnosed accurately and cleared more quickly with less repeat faults reported.”

The development of KBD has been ongoing since it was conceived in a ‘hothouse’ workshop - and intensive session to generate ideas - attended by BT businesses and a small group of communication providers to find a way to diagnose and deal with faults more speedily.

Close collaboration with five trial CPs at the outset helped BT Wholesale to further develop and launch KBD. It was officially launched to customers in January 2009, with the final stage of the project expected to be completed later this year when all BT Wholesale customers will move to KBD.