With the large-scale commercial use of 5G, both network operators and service providers face the challenge of high-quality network delivery. To enable agile, efficient, low-cost and high-quality network project delivery, ZTE has launched its self-developed intelligent engineering project management system (iEPMS). iEPMS runs through the whole process of contracting, supply chain, procurement, engineering, service and finance, and takes the lead in realizing the automation, intelligence and digitalization of network deployment.
Based on ZTE's digital delivery platform iEPMS, the customer, partner and ZTE employee can manage the plan, progress, documents and quality of the project through mobile phone or web. With rich data and visual reports, the costs, materials, outsourcing, problems and risks of the project are effectively managed and controlled, which greatly improves the efficiency of engineering delivery and project management. Fig. 1 shows the panorama of ZTE's global services.
In the global service field, ZTE builds the project management system based on standardized and structured data, and implements remote real-time, mobile and intelligent delivery of sites via iEPMS mobile app. The system is interconnected with the automatic intelligent tool system and intelligent network O&M platform of ZTE, and efficiently meets the complex challenges in the delivery of network projects with its visualization, interaction and customization capabilities.
Standardized and Structured Data
iEPMS digital delivery platform assists the digital transformation of global network project delivery, standardizes delivery management with standardized and structured design concept, and ensures professional and consistent engineering delivery.
—Middle platform of the iSite: Realizes online management of customers' sites from the only source, and supports multi-dimensional site management (from physical sites to NEs and logical sites).
—Standard product model: Covers Bearer, wireless, transmission, core network, OSP, and other products.
—Standard operation process: Supports compilation of multi-level plans (from milestones, master plans to site rolling plans) as well as progress management; and provides data for efficient budget compilation, cost control ledger management, and visualization of diversified reports.
—Standard service fields: After the data for engineering survey and quality inspection is collected, the data will be automatically converged into customized document templates to generate structured documents for the approval of service managers and customers. The locked standard data information can be invoked across systems to continuously transfer data and generate value.
In 2015, ZTE built the industry-leading mobile site delivery app iEPMS. With the increasing demands for mobile office, ZTE has developed a series of remote site mobile delivery functions.
—Quality and EHS self-check: iEPMS generates quality/EHS self-check reports in real-time by customizing structured quality criteria and checkpoint templates, greatly improving the remote acceptance capability. It also provides online demonstration photos and operation guides to ensure construction quality and safety.
—Electronic survey (e-TSS): iEPMS can customize rich multi-dimensional engineering survey templates, configure a multi-level and flexible approval flow, and issue the electronic engineering survey task to the site survey engineer who can then fill in the data to complete the online review.
—Sign in/out: With location-based restrictions enabled, the authenticity of sign-in/out records can be ensured, and the remote management costs of site engineers can be reduced.
—Material code scanning at receipt and material management: End-to-end management of engineering materials from leaving the warehouse to site installation and acceptance is achieved. The subcontractor's construction team can scan the codes for the materials in the subcontractor's warehouse for warehousing, site arrival, transfer, and return operations to ensure that the accounts are consistent with the assets during the engineering delivery phase.
—Document query: The construction team can query the archived site documents and general documents, and their version status in the system at any time, to obtain effective guidance and improve the site delivery efficiency.
—Remote site commissioning: The iEPMS is interconnected with the ZTE UniDeploy intelligent site commissioning tool to record the remote site commissioning script in real time. The mobile phone is connected to the BTS equipment for real-time joint commissioning, and the commissioning data analysis is completed in real time with the output of commissioning documents. The commissioning efficiency is improved through real-time interactive data visualization.
In addition to bringing a series of efficiency improvement functions (real-time data interaction and progress reporting at sites) through its mobile app, iEPMS can improve the overall project efficiency with its real-time online data processing capability used in project management, outsourcing service management, document management and acceptance management. By November 2021, ZTE's engineering acceptance duration had been reduced by over 15% compared with that at the end of 2020.
—Progress management: Reduces the time for synchronizing the progress and cost report data from 24 hours to 2 hours, so as to make the plan more intelligent, the process more transparent and the control easier.
—Outsourcing management: The outsourcing service automation, outsourcing paperless workload confirmation and outsourcing settlement automation are realized. In 2021, with the automatic issuance of outsourcing service work orders, the average dispatch period has been shortened by 90%, and the work order accuracy was 100%, greatly improving the partner satisfaction.
—Document management: Based on the document template and delivery plan, the site completion document is bound to the site task workflow. The subcontractor can automatically generate a document through the iEPMS structured document generation function. The site acceptance report can be created within two hours to improve efficiency by 60%.
The ZTE iEPMS digital delivery platform is evolving towards intelligent online applications. With the development of 5G products, a series of intelligent data applications are being iterated and applied in front-line projects.
iEPMS integrates the deep learning capability based on massive samples of 5G products and EHS security facilities to realize AI-based automatic review of quality/EHS work orders. AI verification can be configured for check items such as safety helmet, face coding, tool kit, 5G BBU/RRU, color ring and GPS of the construction personnel in the work order template. The construction personnel take photos of the self-check items to obtain the AI approval conclusion in real time, thus achieving the goal of "acceptance upon completion".
In the iEPMS document delivery plan, the "whistleblowing point" flag can be set for key documents. if the document submission task is about to expire, the iEPMS will send a reminder email to the responsible party, and if the task has expired but the document still has not been submitted yet, a trouble ticket will be automatically triggered. This has significantly improved the timeliness of the output of key documents. Taking the documents required for obtaining a site preliminary acceptance certificate (PAC) as an example, the complete document submission period is shortened by 40%.
Interactive and Customizable
With the deepening of digital applications, social networking, interactive, and customization capabilities can rapidly drive cross-service and cross-project communication, and facilitate interaction between personnel and data. iEPMS app integrates ZTE's office application iCenter so that ZTE engineers can perform multi-party (partners and customers) online contact list query and instant messaging management. Business approval documents for multiple scenarios can be converged, billboards for the operational data of multi-service projects provided to support management decision-making and multi-level precise targeted communication.
iEPMS is deeply interconnected with ZTE intelligent tools Unideploy and WNG to realize online application data exchange such as remote commissioning and debugging, and single site verification and optimization as well as automatic return of technical delivery documents to improve acceptance efficiency.
At the same time, the iEPMS supports flexible customized integration, and can be quickly interconnected with different content modules of different operators' systems to achieve efficient coordination of cross-company services. It has been seamlessly interconnected with many operators' systems at home and abroad.
ZTE's digital delivery platform iEPMS has been widely used in global projects, effectively improving the management efficiency of engineering delivery projects. Under the digital transformation trend, ZTE combines process management with advanced tools to continuously improve the digital intelligence level of its engineering project management and respond to the complex challenges of network project delivery, helping operators improve network quality and user perception.