In today’s digital landscape, organizations are increasingly aware that they have huge volumes of data that could deliver value, but is often sitting unused. This is particularly true in the context of Communication Service Providers (CSPs); global footprints, constant mergers and acquisitions and day-to-day operations have led to unprecedented volumes of data, including structured (device, subscriber, network, transaction etc.), open (weather, geography, etc.), and unstructured data (call & messaging content, sensor data, buying behavior, etc.).
Unlocking this data promises huge benefits for CSPs, yet to date many have struggled to do so. Now is the time to act. As telco business become increasingly commoditized, CSPs need to find new ways to generate revenues and create new services, and data could be the key differentiator that gives them the keys to the kingdom.
Big data opportunities
Managing the huge volumes of complex data is becoming a serious challenge for CSPs. Yet if they are able to leverage customer and network data, they will be able to make better informed decisions and achieve market prominence through cross-industry offerings. Adopting a data monetization approach not only helps CSPs get meaningful business insights, but can also help generate new revenue opportunities too, particularly:
- Enhancing the customer experience and improving ARPU: Leveraging a data monetization platform, CSPs can employ real-time analytics, providing dynamic customer data, including spend analysis, viewing patterns, personal preferences, geo-location analytics. This lets them understand and build cross sell/up sell opportunities and map customer journeys to provide customized, contextual and tailor-made offers to their customers, thus, improving customer experience as well as ARPU (average revenue per user).
- Optimizing CapEx and OpEx: Data monetization can also help optimise capital and operational expenditures through efficient management of networks, improving network management, network planning, traffic prioritization and predictive maintenance. Using this platform, service providers can analyze their network usage and available capacity and either optimise it and onboard either new customers or offer more products/services on the same network.
- Improving top line revenue: Data can be integrated with cross-vertical industries through digital ecosystems, data aggregation, and third party platforms. Service providers hold a huge amount of customer data, including customer location, usage, devices choices and preferences. They can build a platform for other brands/industries to push services and offerings to their large customer-base.
Getting it right
If it were simple though, then everyone would do it. Big data projects have the ability to spiral out of control if not properly managed, resulting in ever-expanding resource consumption and costs. Therefore if CSPs are serious about capitalising on the data opportunity ahead they need to get control of their data:
- Align your data strategy: To understand and realize the endless possibilities that data monetization offers, it is crucial to have an organizational data strategy in place. Organizations need to understand what they want to achieve, how they want to go about it, and where the data is. They need to have their strategy, roadmap and governance structures effectively aligned in order to best use their data.
- Build a data lake: CSPs need to aggregate their data from various sources (structured and unstructured) to build a suitable data lake, taking into consideration factors such as data integrity, quality, frequency and correlation to obtain these insights. CSPs then need to expose the API layer to various stakeholders such as suppliers, partners, customers and employees and build innovative services on-top.
- Monetize data: Working alongside partner channels, CSPs need to provide cross-vertical integration with third party platforms to align their product and services to their end customers.
- Security: While a data monetization platform provides numerous opportunities for CSPs to cross-integrate and monetize data, it also raises security/privacy concerns. As real-time customer data is very sensitive, integrating it with third party platforms has the potential to breach regulatory policy around privacy and data usage. Hence, CSPs need to make sure that any data monetization platform they deploy doesn’t compromise local regulatory standards.
Data plays a critical role in digital transformation and it is now of central importance to the roles of today’s Chief Digital Officers, CMOs and CIOs, as they look to engage with customers more effectively, offer new products and services, while at the same time reduce CapEx/OpEx. While a number of CSPs have already kicked-off data monetization initiatives, moving forward more and more will see data monetization plans as a core strategic initiative and we should expect this trend to gather significant pace in the near future. Those that don’t, could find themselves left out in the data winter.