A Solution Architect’s Experience: Making Fiber Broadband Accessible to All Filipinos​

Recently LotusFlare partnered with Globe Telecom to deliver a new prepaid service, Globe GFiber Prepaid, and make prepaid digital fiber broadband services available to all Filipinos. Our Solution Architect, Sandeep, was involved in this project from the beginning to launch and continues with the project as it moves forward. Today he shares with us his experience during this project delivery journey and some interesting project details that could help others who are managing large IT projects for enterprises.

Sandeep, thanks for doing this interview with us. We know you’ve recently been working on an exciting project for Globe Telecom in the Philippines. What’s the project about?

Thanks for considering me for the interview. It is an honor to share my experience overall. The exciting project is Globe GFiber Prepaid which is the first fully-digital prepaid fiber broadband service launched by Globe Telecom in the Philippines. The result of our efforts delivers a new Globe business line that provides a seamless fiber broadband experience to the customer from Globe completely through fully-digital channels (i.e., through a website, the GlobeOne mobile app) that includes:

  • Serviceability Check
  • New Customer Onboarding
  • Port reservation & Appointment scheduling
  • Choosing Plan 
  • Make a payment online using GCash 
  • Modem installation on customer premises
  • Order tracking

To implement both the website, app and backend services, we used the capabilities of LotusFlare DNO Cloud to deliver a great outcome that can provide a seamless user experience to get prepaid fiber at home digitally without any hassle.

As a Solution Architect in LotusFlare, what are your key responsibilities?

When I think about it, the key responsibilities all come down to needing to work closely with several different areas and roles, including:

  • Customer and product owners, to understand the business requirements and propose existing LotusFlare DNO Cloud capabilities to leverage and deliver better business outcomes. 
  • A client’s tech team, to understand the technical implementation, integration and exceptional scenario handling to ensure the proposed solution is feasible and can be used in all possible scenarios. 
  • Product managers, to share the business insight and propose the end-to-end solution overview while getting their feedback to understand if any additional capabilities could be productized within LotusFlare DNO Cloud to enable reusability.
  • Engineering teams, to understand the technical implementation of requirements requested and help them with integration testing and external application testing to speed up delivery.
  • QA team, to make sure all possible edge cases are tested thoroughly and ensure 100% test coverage is being achieved.

From your solution architect's point of view, what were the challenges in delivering a first-ever fully-digital prepaid fiber in the Philippines?

As a solution architect working for a Tier-1 CSP like Globe, there are a lot of requests and changes to which we have had to adapt and then deliver. Below are some of the challenges which I faced and managed to tackle with the great help and support of the LotusFlare product and server teams as well as the input from the client's technical team.

  • There are more than 10 external integration points between LotusFlare DNO Cloud and 3rd party applications. Managing all the infrastructure connectivity and ensuring all the APIs work as expected was one of the key challenges.
  • It was critically important to understand the business requirements from the client's point of view. Our team had to blend the client's approach differently so that the onboarding process could then be more seamless and faster compared to the original requirements. 
  • Planning and testing end-to-end integration connectivity with both on-premise and virtual private cloud (VPC) using LotusFlare DNO Cloud on AWS was challenging initially. Once we understood the nuances we were able to document and manage the process into a set of standard procedures for future deployments.

In general in your role, what guiding principles do you try to apply when delivering projects?

Whenever there is a new requirement that needs to be implemented, I first try to understand what the benefit may be and how it adds value to the customer's business and experience. If the experience and benefit seem to be demonstrable, then I try to understand the required technical implementation and all technical stuff required to enable the feature and deliver. 

Based on gathering both requirements and technical implementation, an epic is created with all the details and the same is being reviewed by the product manager of the impacted LotusFlare DNO Cloud module. After review by the product manager and the respective module SME, we may conclude on the solution and the way of implementation of the feature inside LotusFlare DNO Cloud. There is also the effort and actual due date of completion from the TPM and informing the customer of the delivery date. 

This process makes our delivery process seamless and smooth and we can achieve the quality of work from all stream owners which helps to achieve our target goal. But all begins with understanding if there is a sufficient benefit to the customer.

GFiber Prepaid deployment and configuration using LotusFlare DNO Cloud began in late 2022. What are the key integrations and were you facing some challenges while working on them?

One of our major achievements is that we successfully integrated more than 10 different applications and delivered many new capabilities to support the project using LotusFlare DNO Cloud. One new challenge was to integrate with Globe’s payment wallet called, GCash, which required the creation of various additional layers of authentication and security to ensure the payment experience is seamless. Another important integration was Google Maps from the GFiber Prepaid website which lets users choose the address from a map and “pin” the location. Using the same integration, we generated the latitude and longitude to perform the serviceability check experience seamlessly.

Facebook Messenger is also integrated. Customers can directly connect with Globe's technical support team over Facebook Messenger and then, with the help of a chatbot, we can create a support ticket easily so that the technical team can assist quickly to the customer.

Is there anything you learned while working on GFiber that you will keep carrying on in your work?

One of the key things which I learned and will continue to utilize is how to propose different options to customers which adds more value to the customer experience and brings additional business outcomes. I have learned that I should not always think in terms of feasibility but also think about how to mitigate /solve the key problem that the customer is facing so that it will not only help to solve the problem but also adds value to the capabilities of LotusFlare DNO Cloud as an offering that will advance in its capabilities over time. 

In addition, I now also think about how to leverage LotusFlare DNO Cloud capabilities and work with clients to show them the new way of experience since many capabilities are better in LotusFlare DNO Cloud in terms of digital cloud. Last but not least, I will continue to be committed to working closely with the product and engineering teams to understand the emerging capabilities of LotusFlare DNO Cloud in detail so that customer interaction is more productive and valuable when discussing requirements.

How would you describe LotusFlare to someone considering joining our team and which advice would you have for them?

LotusFlare is one of the special organizations where there is no boundary in terms of career growth. You will get a lot of opportunities to grow your career and learn all kinds of latest technologies, work on those and build your skills. If you are stuck, you will get help from the amazing brilliant minds of people around the world, who are always ready to help and resolve the problem and provide a solution instantly. Team spirit is amazing here and you will love to enjoy the work. 

Another important thing is that you can reach out to anyone anytime, there is little hierarchy here when delivering outcomes to customers so everyone feels like a team member. I think this helps to build strong bonds among the very talented folks in LotusFlare. 

And, if you have made up your mind to join our great talent the most suitable advice which I can give is, don't limit yourself because you are going to dive into an ocean of opportunities here which will help a lot in your career path and you will be able to achieve several milestones with all kinds of support from the team.

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