Getting the most out of data: A how-to for CSPs

Ravi Kumar Palepu,

SVP & Global Solutions Head, Telecom, Media & Technology Practice

Published: May 17, 2018

Data is the most valuable commodity in today's digital-first world. Consumer tech giants like Amazon and Google have been winning admirers for the ways they collect and apply the vast reams of data they hold. Although, they're not the only ones well placed to take advantage of this new reality. Communication Service Providers (CSPs), with their global footprints, regular mergers and acquisitions, and data-centric day-to-day operations, have been collecting huge volumes of data on customers for years.

If data is the new oil, then the benefits of unlocking it are huge for CSPs. However, many have struggled to gain any real value from it to date. As the telco industry becomes increasingly commoditized, CSPs have been scrambling to find new ways of generating revenue. Unlocking the data they hold, could be the key to doing so.

Big data opportunities

Managing huge volumes of data is a big ask for CSPs, but if they can make use of customer and network data, for example, they can make better-informed decisions  building their positions in the market through cross-industry offerings. Monetizing the data they hold not only helps CSPs get meaningful insights, it creates revenue opportunities too. In particular:

Boosting the the average revenue per use (ARPU) rate through better customer experience: With a monetization platform, CSPs can use real-time analytics to provide dynamic customer data. Information such as geo-location analytics, user preferences, viewing patterns, and even spend analysis, can give CSPs a better understanding of users. This allows CSPs to create new opportunities to cross sell/up sell, and map their customer journeys to offer personalized services, improving the customer experience, and ARPU rate.

Trimming the CapEx/OpEx budget through data monetization: CSPs can optimize the budget through efficient network management, better network planning and traffic prioritization, and predictive maintenance. This data-driven method gives CSPs a better picture of network usage and available capacity, helping them decide whether to either on-board new customers, or offer new products and services on the same network.

Boosting top-line revenues: The data CSPs hold isn't just valuable to CSPs themselves, it's useful across all manner of different industries. Data can be integrated with cross-vertical industries through various digital ecosystems or third-party platforms. With the vast amount of customer data they hold, CSPs can build a platform for other organizations to offer their own products and services to their customers.

Getting it right

This may all sound easier said than done  and it's true that if it were simple, every CSP would be doing it. Poorly managed big data projects can spin out of control, leading to excessive resource consumption and rising costs. If CSPs are committed to making the most of their data, then control will be crucial. The key points of any strategy should include:

Alignment: If the benefits discussed above are to be realized, having an organizational data strategy in place is vital. Organizations need to know what their aims are, how they want to achieve them, and above all, where the data they'll need is held.

The data lake: Building a data lake from which to draw insights demands that CSPs aggregate the data they hold across the organization, whether structured or unstructured. This process must factor in data integrity, quality, frequency, and correlation, to effectively draw these insights. From there, CSPs need to expose relevant APIs to suppliers, partners, customers and employees, allowing them to build services on top of their data.

Monetization: Monetization also calls for third-party involvement. Working alongside partner channels, CSPs need to allow for cross-vertical integration with third-party platforms, which helps to align their products and services to the customer's needs.

Security: Everything that concerns data also concerns security. Since real-time customer data is remarkably sensitive, third-party integration brings with it concerns that the CSP might be in breach of privacy regulations. It's therefore crucial for CSPs to consider whether any data monetization platform they issue meets local regulatory requirements and how the data itself will be protected.

Data will play a vital role in the digital transformation process, and by extension, a vital role on the agendas of CIOs, CTOs, and CDOs. Recognizing this, a number of CSPs have already started their own data monetization activities, and we can expect to see many more follow suit over the next 12 months. Those that fail to do so will risk missing out on a significant revenue opportunity.

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Ravi Kumar Palepu

SVP & Global Solutions Head, Telecom, Media & Technology Practice

In his role, Ravi has led technology council for Telco across locations and drove consistent standards, best practices as well as domain and technical competency across the Telco accounts. He was also part of the Global Technology Office leadership and has bridged the gap between the GTO and the global Telco accounts.  

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