Elevating Our Customer Experience by Adapting Internally

Written by unitiweb

May 12, 2022

Cathy De La Garza
Mon, January 24, 2022, 9:18 AM

 

Customers do not want to wait for their services to be delivered – and at Uniti, we don’t think you should have to. We create value through our people and our solutions, but the foundation of “The Uniti Difference” is our unwavering desire to provide the best experiences for our customers.

So, when we recently discovered an opportunity to improve our speed-to-delivery by removing workflow bottlenecks, we got to work. And in the process, we shaved months off our delivery times to better serve you.

 

Getting to the Root of Our Process Inefficiencies

As you might imagine, the process of delivering our services is complex and comes with many dependencies. When we deliver multiple services across various locations, we must execute every step in a specified order, in the quickest amount of time, to keep the entire project running smoothly to meet our customers’ needs.

Previously, some Uniti teams used a quasi-project management tool created through workarounds in other systems, but this solution couldn’t keep up with our growth. Without a tool sophisticated enough to properly manage dependencies between backbone builds, backbone engineering, installation and construction, ring topographies, multiple sites, and other project complexities, we knew our teams would encounter obstacles.

To deliver services more efficiently and effectively, we needed a streamlined project management solution that would organize repeatable and automated processes into configurations to address specific customer needs, orders, and timeframes.

Equipping Our PMs With the Right Tool

At Uniti, we take the customer experience seriously, so we knew we couldn’t just find any solution – we needed the right solution.

We explored integrations with our existing systems using API calls, but the risk of broken integrations and corrupted data were too great with API calls versus native integration. We then considered building a solid framework for the in-house development of a project management tool, but in-house development would likely take years to complete. We even explored vendor-supplied solutions, but found these solutions lacked the customization required to properly manage our organization’s intricacies.

Finally, we found an ideal solution that seamlessly integrated with Salesforce and offered the flexibility to make changes on the fly. We partnered with the team at Work-Relay to identify and solve process gaps and replace our pseudo project management tool with their superior project management system to better maintain interdependent processes and business operations.

Implementing the New Project Management Platform

To get started, our project management team set up a typical workflow for orders and walked through the details of each required implementation and delivery task, as well as who’s responsible for them.

Using this intelligence, the team defined eight commonly used, interdependent objects that needed to link together to track a project from start to finish. These objects were used as building blocks, able to be moved around to create effective project management workflows for large and complex accounts across Uniti’s Internet, Ethernet and Dark Fiber service deliveries.

From this research, Uniti and Work-Relay conceived the Multi-Order Tool.

Today, Uniti leverages Work-Relay’s tool in both basic, one-to-one order deliveries, as well as complex, multi-service and multi-site projects. We also use it to link together different orders and outside dependencies, such as central office locations and third-party off-nets.

“Above all else, we needed to manage complex interdependencies, effectively managing how a change in one aspect of the project impacted all of the other objects,” said Karen M. Dias, Director of Wireless Service Delivery at Uniti.

“Work-Relay allows us to do this. It has been a 100% game-changer in our ability to establish a project completion timeframe and complete projects on time. Basically, it lets us create a plan and stick to it. This is one reason we are growing so quickly.”

In the past, Uniti analyzed project data manually through filtered Salesforce reports. Now, Work-Relay is used to assess data at each defined object and dependency, and the tool tracks expected completion dates. Changes made to individual tasks are reflected in the overall project completion date, and project assignees are notified if dependencies begin to fall behind.

Transforming Small Wins into Big Results

With Work-Relay’s powerful project management tool in place, we accelerated our mean time to deliver circuits to enterprise and wholesale customers. Originally, it took us 120-150 days, and today, we deliver circuits on average in sub-90 days.

“We are always looking for ways to be more efficient for our customers, and Work-Relay is just one of the many ways we’re working each day to provide you with the best solutions in a timely manner,” explained Cathy De La Garza, Senior Vice President of Order Management & Service Delivery at Uniti.

“We intend to use these project management tools ubiquitously across the entire organization. As we gradually refine our processes, we will continue to elevate our customers’ experiences.”

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Kenny Gunderman
President—Chief Executive Officer
Kenny Gunderman

Kenny Gunderman is president and chief executive officer of Uniti Group Inc. He has 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and is focused on growing Uniti’s real estate portfolio of mission critical communications infrastructure. He has prior experience at Stephens, Lehman Brothers and KPMG. He currently serves on the board of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, the Hendrix College Board of Trustees, and the NAREIT Board of Governors. Gunderman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hendrix College and an MBA from Yale.

Paul Bullington
Treasurer—Chief Financial Officer
Paul Bullington

Paul Bullington is the chief financial officer and treasurer of Uniti Group Inc., previously serving as senior vice president of Strategic Operations for Uniti Fiber. Until its acquisition by Uniti in 2017, he served as the CFO of Southern Light, a position he held since the company began operating in 2001. During his time as CFO, the company was named one of the “5,000 Fastest Growing Companies in America” by Inc. Magazine for nine consecutive years.

Bullington also has prior experience at Accenture and Royal Cup Coffee. He currently serves on the board of Eastern Shore Repertory Theatre and is a former director of First Community Bank in Alabama. Bullington holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Birmingham-Southern College and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Daniel Heard
EVP, General Counsel and Secretary
Daniel Heard

Daniel Heard is an executive vice president, general counsel and secretary for Uniti. Heard is responsible for the company’s legal affairs and corporate governance.

Heard previously was a partner in the law offices of Kutak Rock LLP in Little Rock, Arkansas.

At Kutak Rock, Heard represented public companies in corporate, securities and merger and acquisition transactions. His clients comprised a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, information technology and food processing. He has extensive experience in negotiating, structuring and consummating mergers and acquisitions, public offerings of debt and equity securities and other corporate finance transactions.

Heard graduated from the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Arkansas.

Michael Friloux
EVP—Chief Technology Officer
Michael Friloux

Michael Friloux is an executive vice president and the chief technology officer of Uniti. He has over 30 years of telecommunications and information systems technology experience and is focused on future proofing Uniti’s information technology systems.

Friloux previously was chief executive officer and president of PEG Bandwidth where he led the wireless backhaul provider through a time of rapid expansion serving 2,400 cell towers over a 15,000 route mile network through 16 states.

Prior to joining PEG Bandwidth, Friloux served as president and chief operations officer for Citynet Fiber Networks where he developed the company into a leading regional wholesale carrier network spanning 13 states and 8,000 route miles.

Friloux started his career as a software engineer for Sabre Computer Services (American Airlines.)

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University.

Jennifer Ragsdale
SVP—Chief Administrative Officer
Jennifer Ragsdale

Jennifer Ragsdale is senior vice president and chief administrative officer at Uniti, a Certified Great Places to Work company. Ragsdale oversees Uniti’s customer experience management, human resource efforts, diversity and inclusion programs, and leads execution strategy to create a culture of high performance.

Prior to joining Uniti, Ragsdale spent more than a decade in the human resources field, building and executing programs to drive operation strategies and organizational transformation.

Ragsdale is a certified professional in Human Resources (PHR), a SHRM certified Human Resources Professional (SHRM-CP) and is certified in Diversity and Inclusion in HR Management. Ragsdale previously served as the president of the Central Arkansas Human Resources Association. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Central Arkansas.

Ric Chura
SVP—Chief Information Officer
Ric Chura

Ric Chura is the senior vice president and chief information officer for Uniti. He previously served as Vice President of Information Technology at PEG Bandwidth, which was acquired by Uniti in 2016. He is responsible for setting Uniti’s cybersecurity strategy, technology governance and compliance and has led the integration of the multitude of companies acquired by Uniti.

Chura has over 20 years of experience in telecommunications industry working at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Predictive Systems, Callisma and FiberTower, a startup telecommunications backhaul provider. He has completed the Program on Negotiation from Harvard University and holds a Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering degree from Iowa State University.

Ronald J. Mudry
SVP—Chief Revenue Officer
Ronald J. Mudry

Ron Mudry is chief revenue officer of Uniti Group Inc. In this role, Mudry is responsible for Uniti’s holistic growth opportunities across its fiber and wireless infrastructure segments from edge to enterprise.

Mudry previously served as President of Sales and Business Development at Uniti Fiber. Mudry has over 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and was the founder of two start-up fiber operating companies that grew to become leaders in their industry segment. He leads Uniti’s sales and business development initiatives which include providing fiber based services to wireless carriers, wireline carriers, content companies, cable MSOs and other wholesale customers. He joined Uniti in 2016 following the acquisition of Tower Cloud, a company he founded in 2006, that was a leader in fiber, small cell and cell site backhaul services in the Southeast, U.S. Earlier in his career, he founded Progress Telecom (formed in 1998) and before that spent 15 years with GTE Corporation (now Verizon) where he held key management positions in finance, sales and marketing, international operations, treasury, strategic planning, and mergers and acquisitions.

Mudry serves on the Board of Directors of INCOMPAS, a telecommunications industry association, and was previously chairman of the CEO Council of COMPTEL.

Mudry holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in finance from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Tampa.

Travis Black
VP - Chief Accounting Officer
Travis Black

Travis Black is the chief accounting officer of Uniti Group Inc. In his current role, Travis leads a team of over 40 employees and is responsible for the company’s financial accounting, external reporting and financial compliance activities. Additionally, Travis oversees the company’s technical accounting matters, including merger and acquisition transactions and critical accounting estimates.

Travis has been with Uniti Group since 2015, and previously served as the Director of Financial Reporting. He began his career at FedEx, and he has over 18 years of experience in financial accounting and reporting for public companies. Travis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and an MBA from the University of Memphis. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Andy Newton
President—Uniti Fiber
Andy Newton

Andy Newton is president of Uniti Fiber where he stewards Uniti’s efforts to design, build and operate its fiber network infrastructure.

Newton was the co-founder of Southern Light, and for the previous 19 years served as its president and chief executive officer where he led the overall operations, strategic guidance and culture of the company. Under his direction, Southern Light grew to become one of the top 10 largest pure fiber optic providers in the country.

Newton received an Economics degree from Birmingham Southern College and enjoys providing leadership to non-profits that focus on education and community planning and development.

Bill DiTullio
Vice President - Investor Relations
Bill DiTullio

Bill DiTullio has over 10 years of investor relations experience, joining Uniti’s investor relations team in 2017. Bill was promoted to Vice President of Investor Relations and Finance in August of 2019. Bill originally joined Uniti through the acquisition of PEG Bandwidth in 2016, and has held several various finance roles within the organization. Prior to joining the Company, Bill served as Sr. Investor Relations Analyst at Comcast Corporation. Before that, Bill worked as an associate equity analyst at Boenning & Scattergood. Bill began his early career working for Prudential Financial in several accounting and finance roles.

Bill holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Temple University and a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and accounting from Villanova University.