Employees working in a more collaborative and data-driven manner leads companies to improved return on investment (ROI), according to John Sciarabba, CEO of Alden Systems. He said his company uses process automation platforms — software — to assist wireless infrastructure owners, attaching companies and engineering service firms in everything from collecting data about assets, analyzing them, coordinate those activities, and even facilitate associated financial transactions involving those assets or activities.
“What we’re trying to do is create clarity and control over those infrastructure assets and activities with just a simple ROI of, ‘We save your time.’”
Sciarabba spoke during an AGL Virtual Summit in June at the session, “Increasing ROI at the Tower,” moderated by Spencer Kurn, an analyst who leads coverage of U.S. towers for New Street Research.
“My role at the company is making sure that the team has everything it needs to continue to create value for our customers,” he said.
Sciarabba said that when Alden Systems goes into a company, “we’d look at their days, their organization and their systems. We usually see that they’re organized according to functional areas, supporting the process, which is exactly what you expect.”
Companies typically have engineering, finance, workforce and site planners, Sciarabba said. Each of these have specialized systems to obtain the data needed to perform that function, he said. What Sciarabba said Alden Systems sees as an opportunity for efficiency usually is that not enough attention is paid to what he called the white space in between — the space between workgroups or between departments or even companies in development. The white space tends to inhibit the ability to act on that data, he said.
“What you see is that each of those areas focuses on producing their outcome, which in turn contributes to the bigger outcome,” Sciarabba said. “However, getting to that bigger outcome in a timely fashion, if it’s cost-effective, often is subject to the inefficiencies in this white space.”
The effect is that time must be spent translating different perspectives because the engineering department that visits the site, the tower or the digital equipment used there looks at it one way, finance looks at it a different way, and the field workforce might look at it a third way, Sciarabba said.
“You spend that time translating either data or status and the perspectives between those groups,” he said. “You’ll spend time tracking information and spreadsheets about the process, or, when one process hands off to another, instead of that information just being an inherent outcome of the process, with that outcome being built right into that process, being generated by the way that process is managed.”
Alden Systems looks at the general asset problems, Sciarabba explained. “Anytime you’re going to do something, you must decide what assets you would affect. ‘I’ve got to go collect additional data’ means some kind of drone data collection that helps to fill in some data gaps. Things are changing, after all, all the time. ‘We’ve got to draw that up or write it up,’ you think, and then someone has to analyze it.”
Normally, Sciarabba said, companies that Alden Systems helps have some sort of engineer design group. He said the company also has to deal with construction and the bill-and-pay that goes back and forth.
“There’s ground leases on the tower,” he said. “That’s for the engineering service to do the work to get us there. And then we have activities involved with being accountable and having to report to external entities or to local, state or federal regulators.”
Sciarabba said that within each one of the activities along the chain, the company might have data and systems optimized to help with accountability. “Sometimes, we may have gaps there, but definitely between those where we can often see the inefficiency in the gaps where things literally fall in a gap or get stalled out,” he said. “That probably represents the biggest opportunity, in short, to manage the gap between the silos to enable action. Siloes may be formal, like a department, or informal, like a silo of two people who work at opposite ends of the office.”
For the June 8 AGL Virtual Summit, Total Tech sponsors included Raycap, Valmont Site Pro 1, Vertical Bridge and B+T Group. Tech sponsors included Alden Systems and Aurora Insight. Viavi Solutions sponsored the keynote address. Additional sponsors included Gap Wireless, NATE, VoltServer and WIA.
J. Sharpe Smith programmed the Summit, and Kari Willis hosted. AGL Media Group has scheduled the next AGL Virtual Summit for Sept. 8. To register, click here.
Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.