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:
- Drive incremental revenue
- Reduce operating costs
- 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.
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:
- Make use of a bottoms-up approach, where data is analysed for the problems it can solve.
- 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.
- 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.
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