Big data: Why CSPs must go big or go home

By Gordon Rawling, Director of EMEA Marketing, Oracle Communications

According to a recent report from the European Commission (EC), more digitised data has been created in the last two years than in every year before this period combined.

This trend shows no signs of slowing down, with users continuing to adopt a widening array of data-driven devices as part of their new digital lifestyles. The EC report also reveals that even with the big data market growing at roughly 40 per cent each year, few of the companies taking the lead in this space are European.

With the EU now backing a region-wide push for big data innovation, few businesses have as much as big an opportunity to strengthen the EU’s position with big data as mobile operators, whose customers have come to rely on their connected devices to support their new digital lifestyles.

For these businesses, ensuring they have the technologies and strategy in place to mine and analyse subscriber and network data will translate into significant opportunities to differentiate their services and boost customer engagement. Spearheading innovation in the developing Internet of Things (IoT) environment will in turn will help them carve out new revenue streams and build lasting customer relationships while offsetting significant losses to third party developers.

Communications service providers (CSPs) must recognise that the insights they can draw from data analytics will fuel their success in the digital era. The extent to which operators can secure new revenue will hinge on their ability to collect and process data in near real-time, and to use it to develop offerings that respond to consumer demand for a reliable, flexible service.

The priority for CSPs will therefore be to ensure that they have the IT infrastructure required to manage the sheer scale of data that will be passing through from their subscribers’ connected devices.

Well-defined business processes will be critical for operators to ensure they can effectively process all the information they collect. Understanding what all the data points represent, both for the business and for their customers, and tying these together in meaningful ways will be vital for CSPs looking to make the most of their big data investment.

Operators will therefore need to ensure their analytics system is process-orientated from the extracting phase right through to the data mining and analysis phases, something they can begin addressing today using cloud solutions.

With the advent of new technologies, the concept of what constitutes exceptional customer service has evolved. The proliferation of data-enabled connected devices has given rise to IoT technology, which in turn has seen customers expect new levels of reliability, flexibility, and control from their operators. For CSPs, data analytics will guide the way and enable them to develop customer-centric services that will help them forge lasting relationships with subscribers. In addition, forward-thinking providers that can take the lead with the delivery of new services stand to carve out fruitful new revenue streams in the coming years. 

Big data is here to stay. At the same time, third party developers have seriously destabilised CSPs’ market share, which means the time is ripe for operators to get proactive with this technology, and make the shift from ‘survival mode’ to ‘thriving mode’. 

The volume of data available to them will continue to grow at an astonishing rate, and CSPs that can take the lead with their analytics strategies will position themselves to better serve their subscribers and secure new opportunities in an increasingly competitive environment. Those that miss the boat risk alienating consumers and becoming obsolete. 

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