The first day of Mobile World Congress was a busy one, full of panels, speeches and workshops. When Day Two began, I knew it was going to be another exciting one, full of insights from thought leaders across the telco industry. Today, one of those thought leaders was Comptel’s VP of Analytics and Technology, Matti Aksela. Matti was a participant during the morning panel session, “Big Data Goes on Stage.” He joined executives from Blancco, Creanord, Omnitele, Tieto, and Tecnotree to discuss the current state of Big Data and the changes we can expect to see over the next several years.
Big Data is still a fairly difficult term to define. At Comptel, we believe that the term is a new label that’s being applied to something fundamental – the ability to build a business strategy around customer data. The panel acknowledged this, noting that telcos are handling petabytes upon petabytes of information that could potentially be useful to the business.
But what do telcos really need to make the most out of Big Data?
The Foundation of Data is Infrastructure
Tomi Paatsila, CEO at Omnitele, explained that scalable infrastructure is integral to Big Data analytics, because organisations have to be able to adapt to different traffic environments. Matti added that scalable infrastructure also needs to support different types of data to effectively consolidate all that information.
Part of that requirement is due to the emergence of new virtual machines (vms). Ideal infrastructures will have to be vendor-agnostic, providing a seamless integration for the technologies of yesterday, today and tomorrow. As Lucas Weber, product manager at Blancco pointed out, both virtualization and the rise of cloud computing have added new layers of complexity to the data that infrastructures must be able to handle.
However, collecting and processing all those petabytes of data can still be a cumbersome (and expensive) task for telcos, especially if they attempt to do so manually.
Automation for the Next Generation
The panelists agreed that automation is a key element to any Big Data solution. They also agreed that it’s important to analyse end-user behaviour at every possible touch point, a particular science of the customer experience that Comptel has championed for a long time. When telcos can collect contextual intelligence at every touch point, execs can make informed business decisions based on real-time, segmented customer interactions.
Matti often observes organisations that are frustrated with the results of their Big Data solution, because business leaders didn’t identity a specific motivation behind implementation. As Matti said on today’s panel, “The key is to start looking for value out of the data right away.” To do that, telcos need to decide which business problem can be solved with the help of Big Data. In Matti’s experience, the top use case is churn reduction.
Weber summed up the panel conversation perfectly: “At the end of the day, consumers and enterprises should benefit from Big Data.” As telcos strive to become customer-centric companies, the ability to efficiently utilise Big Data to create a better customer experience will be an important factor in their success, or their failure.
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