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SOUTHWESTERN BELL TESTS NEW NETWORK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: INITIAL HIT WITH CUSTOMERS, AVAILABILITY SET FOR EARLY 1993

 SOUTHWESTERN BELL TESTS NEW NETWORK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM:
 INITIAL HIT WITH CUSTOMERS, AVAILABILITY SET FOR EARLY 1993
 ST. LOUIS, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Let's turn the calendar forward to a year from now and visit the office of a telecommunications director at a large business as she addresses her troops at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday:
 "We need the status of those new telephone lines in Dallas! Find out about our billing revisions for Houston! What happened on that repair order after the fire in Austin? And would SOMEBODY please find out how we can check those new circuits in San Antonio! I need all this by the first thing Monday morning!"
 Time to panic? Call out the cavalry? Hardly. By early 1993, in Southwestern Bell Telephone's five-state service territory of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, the answers will be only a few keystrokes away.
 Southwestern Bell Telephone will bring a new, free "network management" capability to large business customers next year. It'll let them keep on top of their service orders, repair reports, billing and more by connecting customers to telephone company computers which will compile information on these functions.
 Called Customer Network Administration, the system will let customers:
 -- make inquiries on billing, service and phone equipment,
 -- enter and view service repair information for switched and special services,
 -- initiate telephone line testing,
 -- view reports of calling use, and
 -- view service order status.
 "Customers want to gain control of their networks, improve efficiency, reduce costs and have access to better network information," Kevin Haberberger, Southwestern Bell's product development manager for Customer Network Administration, said today. "Customer Network Administration lets customers integrate the administrative tasks associated with service provisioning, repair, test management, call-volume analysis and network management."
 Customer Network Administration has a user-friendly, windows-style computing environment to give customers access to the Southwestern Bell systems that contain the information necessary to manage their accounts. A consistent, easy-to-use interface has been developed to provide entry to nine different applications. These applications are located on about 50 computer systems throughout Southwestern Bell's region.
 Those who might find Customer Network Administration helpful at their businesses include long distance companies, enhanced service providers and large business customers, Haberberger said. Enhanced service providers are companies that add to or enhance the messages they transmit. Examples include alarm/security and voice messaging businesses.
 Why is there a need for something like Customer Network Administration? Because customers' communications networks are more complex today. They have more types of services which are provided through many suppliers. That makes it harder for customers to manage their networks.
 And large customers have LARGE networks which often stretch across several states. Today, in many cases, service inquiries have to be directed to several regional Southwestern Bell customer service centers.
 Customer Network Administration can help solve these problems by providing an easy-to-use, one-source "computer gateway" for information about the customer's network services.
 "It all boils down to efficiency for customers," Haberberger explained. "For example, a large retail customer may have locations throughout our five states. This system will give him a 'snapshot,' through his personal computer, of his company's entire Southwestern Bell-provided service. That's very convenient."
 Customer Network Administration works with all types of personal computers (PCs). It also conforms to the emerging computer communications standard called Open Systems Interconnection, also known as OSI.
 The hardware/software configuration which will be supported for customer access to Customer Network Administration include:
 -- Sun Workstation/X-Window System,
 -- PC-DOS/Windows 3.0 and X-Windows,
 -- PC OS/2/Presentation Manager,
 -- Apple Macintosh, and
 -- ASCII character-based terminals.
 Computer managers and programmers at Southwestern Bell began working on Customer Network Administration at the beginning of 1991.
 To find out how the system should be structured, Southwestern Bell talked with customers and asked what they would like Customer Network Administration to do for them.
 "We created a prototype based upon their requests," Haberberger said.
 In just a few months -- summer 1991 -- that prototype was ready. In August 1991, more than 20 large customers saw a demonstration of Customer Network Administration at Southwestern Bell Technology Resources' Human Factors Analysis and User Interface Design Laboratory in St. Louis.
 A few modifications were suggested, but the customers already see a hit.
 One of the participants was St. Louis-based A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., which is the largest brokerage firm in the United States headquartered outside New York.
 "We're very enthusiastic about Customer Network Administration," said Dennis McIntyre, associated vice president for voice communications at A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. "We can see how it will save us time and let us provide good service to our internal clients."
 McIntyre oversees a very busy telecommunications network which connects employees at corporate headquarters to those in nearly 450 U.S. branch offices. In Southwestern Bell's five states, the company has about 90 offices.
 "It looks like this system will help us better manage our network," McIntyre said. "For example, we'll be able to verify our service orders, keep right on top of service installation due dates and trouble report statuses. And we'll be able to do all this through just one PC."
 The first phase of Customer Network Administration focuses on status checking for customers: service orders, repair, billing, network testing and calling information. In the future, some circuit and trunk testing and alarm monitoring may be added.
 Southwestern Bell will finish development of Customer Network Administration in 1992 and plans to introduce it to customers in early 1993.
 Southwestern Bell Telephone is a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwestern Bell Corporation (NYSE: SBC) and provides telecommunications services to more than 9.5 million customers in five states.
 Trademarks: OS/2(R) is a trademark of IBM. Apple Macintosh(R) is a trademark of Apple Computers, Inc.
 -0- 4/13/92
 /CONTACT: Scott Hilgeman of Southwestern Bell, 314-247-4613/
 (SBC) CO: Southwestern Bell Telephone ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU: PDT


GK -- NY064 -- 7836 04/13/92 14:05 EDT
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Date:Apr 13, 1992
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