The Data Landscape for Telecommunications Companies is Changing Right before our Eyes. Here’s My Takeaway…

Like never before, telcom executives need to gain rapid insight into financial, usage and customer information with the increasing pervasiveness of smart phones and the expansion of social media into our every day life. Margin erosion in a highly competitive and commoditized market where huge capital investments are required to feed the hunger for bandwidth and connectivity requires advanced analytics to identify new sources of revenue and ensure margin optimization while avoiding the churn of the most profitable customers.

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As the landscape changes with massive amounts of data, data quality becomes a top concern. According to Aberdeen Group, “Forty-three percent (43%) of telecom companies cited inaccurate and incomplete data informing decisions as a top pressure, compared to 30% of organizations from all other industries. As networks expand and customer bases swell, telecom companies must manage staggering amounts of data. Telecom companies need accurate operational data on network and infrastructure performance to ensure top quality services and true-to-life customer data to improve the design, pricing, and marketing of those services."

In addition, telecom companies have to break down the traditional barriers of IT and business by supporting the design and implementation of the most optimal, yet dynamic structure to allow their organizations to adapt to this new reality. The results of this organizational transformation to effectively deliver analytics solutions in several of the leading telcom companies, such as Vodafone Netherlands, Vodafone Romania and DU have been tremendous. With continued pressure on headcount and operating expenses, our telecom clients, who are leading the way with business analytics solutions, are able to save greater 30% on OPEX, while increasing the satisfaction of business users with improved agility, governance and insight through self-service business analytics.

A highly relevant article in the Business Standard concurs that the change in the telcom industry has been dramatic. With endless data being generated by their users, it is no longer about just making calls and sending SMS. Getting a handle on all this data and doing something meaningful with it are challenging while business models are rapidly changing with solutions like WhatsApp, Skype, etc. They added, “the real success (with business analytics) is assured only if the data preparation, aggregation, mediation and enrichment happen correctly. This backroom pain and labour, in fact, is responsible for almost 90% of the eventual success.” To support that, TIANow states that the relationship with customers is changing with social media channels and smart devices, providing the ability to reveal more information about their customers' demographics, spending behavior, lifestyle and social influences. With both traditional and structured data, as well as the increasing amount of unstructured data (text, voice, …) gathered, it is important to filter and transform this data to provide insights that will ensure a rapid response to what is happening now, as well as, to predict future behavior.

Developing a cutting-edge business analytics roadmap supported by a more effective organizational structure that aligns IT and the business in BI Competency Center is therefore critical for today's telecom operators. Only with these capabilities in place will these organizations be able to enable consolidated, governed, yet flexible analytics to remain ahead of the curve and adapt to the changing needs of their customer base in this highly competitive, rapidly transforming market.

Marc HaberlandMarc Haberland is the Managing Director of Clariba. Marc has more than 15 years experience in Business Intelligence (BI), analytics, strategy management and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) across telecommunication, education, healthcare, manufacturing, banking and public sectors. Marc leads a team of 30+ BI and analytics experts who deliver innovative, reliable and high-quality business analytics solutions, providing its customers with clarity and actionable insight to improve their business performance.

As an industry thought leader, Marc shares his insights on hot topics and trends through various speaker engagements, publications, discussion groups and his company blog.