apcom Systems started over 40 years ago, helping telecommunications
companies track their outside plant infrastructure. Communication sys-
tems have changed quite a bit since then. Our support of communication
systems providers has expanded beyond outside plant to inside plant,
workforce management, sales and marketing departments, and beyond.
Our clients have driven this expansion with their need to accelerate and move faster.
When we first meet with our clients, they discuss with us the ways various processes slow them down
or prevent them from moving faster. Let’s take a recent typical example that we have discussed with clients: Currently, many companies are in a build phase for new fiber infrastructure and it can be daunting
to pick where to build, when to build, and how much to build. This led us to create the M4 Fiber Planner.
Essentially, it allows clients to draw a boundary around where they would like to build and returns the
projected costs for building a fiber network.
Of course it’s quite a bit more complicated than that! But these hypothetical build scenarios are
something many clients encounter, and it can take as long as a week or more to estimate these builds
manually, especially with the level of precision necessary to build business cases and move forward.
Additionally, this does not account for when you want to introduce some variability into your analysis,
such as moving where the remote is for that new build area, or changing other material aspects of the
planned build. M4 Fiber Planner reduces the time to create these estimates from weeks to a few minutes. That time saved is particularly impactful for users of M4 Fiber Planner because those departments
are often the ones already overloaded with work. In addition, the ability to change variables and recalculate without having to restart a lengthy estimate process means that multiple build scenarios can be
considered and compared.
Clients who take advantage of M4 Fiber Planner utilize it to get better and better at estimating
builds. Their skills improve, enabling them to produce estimates more quickly. The iterative aspect of
creating these estimates means that clients will be able to take real-world build data for their service
areas and feed it into M4 Fiber Planner. When clients use their local cost models, the accuracy of the
estimations receives significant positive reactions. The real-world impact can be felt when the clients
need to turn RFPs around quickly, accurately and with confidence in their proposal. They can do this
with the minimum amount of cost to the engineering department and wait until they have won the
opportunity to invest more engineering resources.
This is not to say that M4 Fiber Planner is an automatic design tool. As a provider of a visual operations systems, with strand level connectivity models, we are intimately familiar with the complexities of
fiber network design. Presently, clients are still going to do some level of design and staking work once
a build moves forward. However, M4 Fiber Planner can help clients meet the level of precision they
need to determine the feasibility of build opportunities and figure out the case for moving forward
with the build.
Telecommunication networks and infrastructures have changed a lot in the last 40 years, but we are
still looking to find ways we can support our clients adding efficiency and accelerating toward new revenue opportunities. If your team could use some support to accelerate your opportunities, then consider how tools like M4 Fiber Planner could help. l
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