by Rani Goel, Senior Director, Industry Solutions Marketing, SAP
What is big data? There are many definitions and opinions about this topic, but most agree that it has three main characteristics, namely volume, velocity, and variety. A recently published Gartner research report on the topic offers the following definition:
“Big data” is high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making” (Source: The Importance of ”Big Data”: A Definition, Mark Beyer, Douglas Laney, G00235055).
Communication service providers (CSPs) have all three attributes in plenty, and they’ve been investing in managing, safeguarding, and storing this data. The opportunity, however, lies in getting this data in the hands of the users who can analyze it easily and make better informed decisions.
Telco’s are in a highly competitive, volatile, and complex business environment that requires quick innovation and response to changing consumer demands and competitive threats on a daily basis. It’s not enough to analyze yesterday’s summarized data stored in a data warehouse. While that data may be efficient and acceptable for managed reporting on routine information, it’s not suitable for fast-changing and unanticipated management information needs.
Leading operators and technology providers are enabling a fundamental shift, resulting in a new analytics infrastructure paradigm that enables real-time visual discovery of large amounts of data and allows business users to find needed critical information in a timely manner.
Three Business Drivers for Change in Telcos
1) Real-time information access.
As telecom services reach saturation and more and more subscribers move online for basic communication services, CSPs are looking to fill this gap with new sources of revenue. However, this is a very competitive field with savvy over-the-top providers. In order to succeed, CSPs must provide innovative and differentiated services based on subscriber profile, preference, and usage. Leading providers are moving to a model to:
- Create thousands of offers for very targeted market segments
- Analyze data in hours
- Innovate and increase campaign yield by making changes to the offers quickly and effectively
The speed and agility of analyzing very large amounts of data provides the CSP with an opportunity to innovate more quickly and develop entirely new business models not possible before. Hear directly from T-Mobile in their own words how they are driving innovation and customer retention.
2) Ability to analyze large amounts of data.
Telecom operators generate massive amounts of data every day related to their subscribers, network operations, and services. Now with machine-to-machine communications, this volume is ready to explode and grow exponentially. CSPs need to analyze this big data quickly and effectively and are turning to the new analytics infrastructure with in-memory computing to crunch the data in seconds vs. days. As a result, they can do what-if analysis, model data, and run sophisticated data mining and forecasting algorithms that return answers within minutes, enabling them to fine-tune and refine the models to accurately reflect the business environment.
The speed and agility of analyzing very large amounts of data provides the CSP with an opportunity to innovate more quickly and develop entirely new business models not possible before.
3) Business-user access to data.
Research by Aberdeen Group into business intelligence (BI) discovered that organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to get information to the right people/groups at the right time. Sixty-five percent of business decision makers face a shrinking “decision window,” making it imperative that business users have self-service access to the data they need to make decisions.
If a “picture is worth a thousand words,” then why not make data discovery visual? Visualization provides rapid access to data in a format that’s easy for business users to digest and use. According to Aberdeen research, managers that make use of visual discovery tools are 10 percent more likely than their peers to access the information they need in the time necessary to impact decision making. This also impacts IT, as it frees up critical resources to support users more effectively.
Get access to the Aberdeen research in full and test drive a visual-discovery BI solution to experience the power of data visualization.
The value for CSPs lies not in big data itself but the insights they can get about their subscribers, operations, and partners with the right visualization and data discovery tools that allow decision makers to make fact-based decisions. The ability to analyze very large amounts of data at line item detail, quickly and effectively is driving innovation in terms of business models not possible before, like linking customer actual usage with location, preferences and social or business network to offer unique services to the subscriber or a corporation.