The Telco industry: how real time data is the future

A pre­dict­ed 44 zettabytes (44 tril­lion giga­bytes) of data will be pro­duced in 2020, com­pared to 4.4 zettabytes in 2013. With most of this pass­ing through or via a Tel­co oper­a­tor, we find the indus­try at an inflec­tion point. With such an expo­nen­tial increase of data, Tel­co oper­a­tors and their mar­ket­ing teams face obvi­ous chal­lenges lever­ag­ing it in a rel­e­vant, time­ly way, whilst also always com­ply­ing with legal and pri­va­cy guide­lines Those who suc­ceed will dis­tin­guish them­selves as lead­ers of their indus­try.

The ben­e­fits of ‘big data’ have been tout­ed for sev­er­al years now, and Tel­co oper­a­tors, by nature, have been one of the main bene­fac­tors of ‘big data’. How­ev­er, big data has not entire­ly lived up to its hype, and fails to solve all of the industry’s chal­lenges. As cus­tomers – par­tic­u­lar­ly mil­len­ni­als — become more empow­ered and their expe­ri­ence more per­son­al, so too does data usage need to become more per­son­al. A cog­ni­tive shift with­in Tel­co providers is in order, one that shifts the focus to the qual­i­ty of data over its quan­ti­ty.

The Right Data in Real Time

Tel­cos are, more than ever, deal­ing with a huge vari­ety of data. From net­work data, to web data, to mar­ket­ing data, this range can prove to be trou­ble­some for mar­keters, and the urgency of mak­ing use of said data even more imper­a­tive. As both the vol­ume and vari­ety of data with­in the Tel­co indus­try is increas­ing at an expo­nen­tial rate, so does the need to become more selec­tive and prag­mat­ic. For Tel­co mar­keters, data needs to facil­i­tate three things to be valu­able:

  1. Dri­ve incre­men­tal rev­enue
  2. Reduce oper­at­ing costs
  3. Increase cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion

The fail­ings of big data most­ly stem from its mis­use and mis­un­der­stand­ing. Organ­i­sa­tions will spend a great deal of time and resources gath­er­ing data with­out any par­tic­u­lar issue to solve or scope to con­fine their search, oth­er than to put it all in one place.

Bot­tom line: organ­i­sa­tions don’t need a big data strat­e­gy; they need a busi­ness strat­e­gy that incor­po­rates big data. Big dif­fer­ence.

With data increas­ing in both vol­ume and vari­ety, mar­keters must focus on what val­ue spe­cif­ic sets of data will impart and what prob­lems it may solve.

For exam­ple, I was recent­ly work­ing with a lead­ing Euro­pean Tel­co on the age-old prob­lem of Call Cen­tre Deflec­tion. One hypoth­e­sis we had was that cus­tomers who went online in the hour before call­ing were look­ing to self-serve, but unable to. If we could under­stand what stopped them, then we could reduce calls and save con­sid­er­able oper­at­ing costs.

Com­bin­ing Web Ana­lyt­ics, Call Cen­tre and CRM (cus­tomer rela­tion­ship man­age­ment) data, we were able to pin­point exact­ly at what point in a customer’s jour­ney they were mak­ing the call. In one case, a large per­cent­age of cus­tomers called after vis­it­ing a par­tic­u­lar page explain­ing how to install the provider’s mobile app.web ana­lyt­ics met­rics

By analysing the data fur­ther, we found that the major­i­ty of queries from this page were from Black­ber­ry users. The page they vis­it­ed was void of any Black­ber­ry-spe­cif­ic instruc­tions, lead­ing to these frus­trat­ed phone calls. The Tel­co was then able to quick­ly update con­tent for Black­ber­ry users, result­ing in a sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in calls. This had the ben­e­fit of sav­ing sig­nif­i­cant oper­at­ing costs, as well as opti­mis­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence.

The suc­cess of this project was down to our abil­i­ty to pin­point the specifics of the customer’s behav­iour, and mak­ing minor tweaks to sys­tems and strate­gies that have an expo­nen­tial impact. This is the key dif­fer­ence between big data and rel­e­vant, real time data. The lat­ter allowed us to gain an insight into where cus­tomers were on their jour­ney, and solve the spe­cif­ic prob­lem they were encoun­ter­ing at that moment.

As Sir Clive Wood­ward – for­mer Eng­lish rug­by team coach – said:

Win­ning the Rug­by world cup was not about doing one thing 100% bet­ter, but about doing 100 things 1% bet­ter

The exact same could be said for Tel­cos and big data. When mak­ing use of data, many fall into the trap of being over­ly ambi­tious, expect­ing data to imme­di­ate­ly solve their issues, or com­plete­ly trans­form sys­tems. How­ev­er, it is often the small­est, sim­plest tweaks that can have astro­nom­i­cal ben­e­fits.

The Future for Telco’s

Tel­co providers, by nature, already have vast data sets in place. They must:

  1. Make use of a bot­toms-up approach, where data is analysed for the prob­lems it can solve.
  2. Under­stand their busi­ness objec­tives, iden­ti­fy­ing rel­e­vant data that will be ben­e­fi­cial. Ini­tial­ly, these ‘1% changes’ – low effort but high-reward alter­ations like the exam­ples giv­en – will form the basis of ini­tial results.
  3. This process can be repeat­ed, with new data sources being added when pos­si­ble.

With data increas­ing expo­nen­tial­ly, big data is no longer the solu­tion for Tel­cos. It is impor­tant that providers focus on real time data ana­lyt­ics. Only by defin­ing busi­ness objec­tives and using rel­e­vant data will prob­lems be solved and ques­tions answered. In turn, Tel­cos will be able to stay com­pet­i­tive in an ever-chang­ing indus­try, dri­ving rev­enues and gain­ing the advo­ca­cy of informed, tech-savvy cus­tomers in the years to come.

If you’re inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about the Tele­co indus­try I would rec­om­mend reg­is­ter­ing for ‘Are you re-invent­ing your­self faster than the indus­try?’ at the Adobe Summit. In this ses­sion you will hear from major brands Voda­fone & Swiss­com on how they have trans­formed their teams, process­es and tech­nol­o­gy to meet the needs of their end con­sumers and more impor­tant­ly stay ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion. We will then switch gears and look at how Accen­ture sup­ports the Tel­co indus­try in dri­ving change from large trans­for­ma­tion­al projects through to sup­port­ing the day to day oper­a­tion.

Cov­er Image — © apinan — Fotolia.com

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