Digitising for success – Encoo’s experience with Telstra Wholesale APIs
Encoo is a leading network architecture firm that delivers complex solutions exclusively via the Australian channel. The company owns and operates a national network of voice and data infrastructure that helps partners design fault tolerant data, voice and cloud communication solutions.
Over the last couple of years, the Melbourne-based business has enjoyed high double-digit growth. Encoo’s leaders, including Jason Li, Head of Operation, and Chris Eaton, Head of Channel Sales, implemented an API-driven initiative that used digitisation to help them achieve this success.
“Project Scale, our digitisation program, is all about enabling sustainable growth. Our business has grown rapidly and we cannot hire people at the same rate. Thanks to our use of digital tools and services, we haven’t had to,” Chris explains.
Encoo was one of the early adopters of the Telstra Wholesale APIs. These Application Programming Interfaces make it simple for customers to build direct access to Wholesale systems directly into their own IT, speeding sales and driving efficiency.
“With TW APIs we can go back to our channel partners much quicker. We can save between four and five hours of data entry per order” - Jason Li, Head of Operation, Encoo
“We lean heavily on automation. We try to automate everything to speed up our time to market and reduce errors,” Jason says. “We were implementing APIs with other vendors, and we jumped on the opportunity when Telstra Wholesale announced they were developing APIs. We wanted to get in early and steer where it goes.”
From a sales perspective, Chris says getting fast access to accurate data is vital to a competitive advantage.
“The quicker you can respond to your customer’s demands, the more likely you are to make a sale. Customers won’t buy from carriers or sellers who make it too hard. The same goes for channel partners. They aren’t going to work with us unless we make it simple and easy. APIs are helping us to do that.”
“Service qualification (SQ) in particular is a time-consuming process for our team,” agrees Jason. “We estimate we can save between four and five hours of data entry per order. With the TW APIs we can go back to our channel partners much quicker. We are enabling them to respond to their customers a lot sooner.”
“APIs are making it quicker and easier for us to serve our channel partners” – Chris Eaton, Head of Channel Sales, Encoo
It is not just the time saving that Encoo has benefited from; information quality has improved too.
“Doing quotes manually in spreadsheets often lead to minor inconsistencies. These little errors have a knock-on effect on our service delivery, which in turn affects our billing. The best way to avoid it is to not have people involved”.
Removing people from manual processes frees them up to focus on more important jobs, says Chris. “We would like to remove all manual data entry. But we need to be aware of losing the ‘personal touch’. The human element in our business is one of the ways we add value. It gives us the opportunity to use our expertise and perhaps provide an alternative service to better suit the customers’ specific needs.”
As an early adopter, the Encoo team worked closely with Telstra Wholesale to improve the API experience.
“Initially there were some problems with accuracy. However, the Telstra team was driven to make it a success. We really valued the human contact we had during the process. We could discuss the issues with the actual engineers working on the APIs and together we resolved them,” Jason says.
“There are lots of opportunities to extend the value of the APIs. I’m confident we’ll see the APIs continue to evolve” - Jason Li, Head of Operation, Encoo
Chris and Jason are now looking ahead to more they can expect from Telstra Wholesale’s API program.
“We want to integrate into Q2A and other SQ tools. Ideally, we’d like to be in a place where we have a single pane of glass to view quoting, pricing and ordering across all our vendors,” Chris says.
Jason agrees. “There are lots of opportunities to extend the value of the APIs. For example, it would be great to be able to change service parameters after the event. But there has been a lot of progress so far already and, if we keep having such an open dialogue with Telstra, I’m confident we’ll see the APIs continue to evolve.”