This was a very difficult project to deploy within our timeframe of just one year. But we have an excellent working relationship with CGI and came to a common understanding with them on a joint methodology for delivering the "one bill" system on time. In fact, our business analysts collocated at CGI during the engagement, collaborating closely with the CGI team and reducing the overall project time.

Margaret Blanchard, associate director, e-solutions delivery, Bell  Canada

Bell Canada is Canada's largest supplier of telecommunications services. With one of the world's most robust and reliable public switched networks, Bell provides advanced voice, data and image communications to more than eight million business and residence customers across Canada.

The Challenge

CGI's role in the engagement was to work together with Bell to establish the system requirements and to take on the responsibility for the entire "one bill" ordering tool interface.

This entailed gathering data from all four Bell affiliates. Two key components that CGI was responsible for were OBOT, the Web application allowing a customer service representative to query the customer's profile in each Bell Canada affiliate, and the Vitria Hub, which transports information to and from the billing system, advising Bell Canada's legacy systems (and all other affiliates) of the new "one bill" account. Information reliability and speed were therefore crucial.

"Our customers and our customer service reps are happy with the "one bill" system. Customers tell us it offers convenience, flexibility and simplicity. Our reps find training on the new system easy and like its user-friendly screens and fast response times."

Margaret Blanchard, associate director, e-solutions delivery, Bell Canada.

Moreover, because this was a key customer service enhancement, CGI and Bell needed to find ways to expedite the development process without compromising quality.

The Strategy

CGI's team of experts drew on their extensive knowledge of Bell Canada and its systems. Because Bell Canada enjoyed a solid working relationship with CGI, it was able to forego its traditional Bell Canada system requirements phase and instead combine this essential component of the development process with CGI's systems specification step. This collaboration allowed the application to be produced within much shorter timeframes.

CGI and Bell also used an iterative form of development (wherein an application is developed in small sections) in order to expedite the project. CGI developed small, highly-cohesive, low-coupling components. Using this approach would lower the interdependence among modules and allow them to be individually modified without impacting other modules or the interface itself. This would assure the application's consistency and dependability. A test group was established to test the system and determine the application's stability

The Technology

  • EAI middleware software - Vitria 3.1.7
  • Database – Oracle 8.1.7
  • BEA Weblogic 7.0

The Results

The "one bill" solution was delivered to Bell Canada on time with its initial three components, and today Bell's Sympatico, ExpressVu and line wire customers can request and receive "one bill" service with a single phone call. Introduction of the final Bell Mobility component of the product is currently being planned. Bell Canada customers who so desire now receives a single bill with a detailed breakdown of their key Bell Canada services. Not only does this option enhance the service Bell offers to its customers, but it also improves the account information incorporated into the bill. In the case of Sympatico service, for example, customers who pay directly from their credit card accounts now receive a detailed service summary, which had not previously been available.

"CGI's people are always available to participate in any meetings or idea sessions we hold, whether for this or any other initiative. There is no bureaucracy involved--the CGI team is constantly ready to contribute their knowledge"

Margaret Blanchard, associate director, e-solutions delivery, Bell Canada

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