The Benefits of Social Network Analytics for Marketing

Posted: August 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Benefits of Social Network Analytics for Marketing

Social network analytics (SNA) is becoming increasingly popular as communications service providers (CSPs) look to better understand their customers and secure a competitive edge in the market. As part of an advanced analytics approach, SNA enables CSPs to dive into the billions of daily transactions on their networks and utilise the calling patterns to identify influencers and better segment their subscribers – and ultimately realise more value.

For instance, call detail records provide CSPs with a unique insight into social interactions through the daily communication of their subscribers. This network may be even more important for CPSs than most online social networks, for example, which are just snapshots of a person’s interactions, many of which may not be very relevant, especially with regards to the activities of CSPs.

However, SNA alone is not the ultimate end-all solution and is, instead, one very valuable aspect of the larger scope of analytics. And when combined with predictive analytics, SNA truly offers a distinct advantage for CSPs. For instance, they can use SNA to power their predictive capabilities and generate insight regarding data that is otherwise unavailable on the single subscriber level. On top of this, SNA and predictive analytics can help CSPs benefit from the interactions between subscribers, help with overall customer experience management and automate operational actions to increase productivity. And let’s not forget, perhaps the best known application of SNA, viral marketing – an approach that remains one of the strongest, most effective marketing techniques. But again, it’s crucial to take into account that understanding the social network alone is not enough. Rather, when combined with the right product, predictive analytics powered by SNA can really make a difference.

Take, for instance, a teenager who texts frequently. If he or she receives an appealing SMS rate reduction that’s just right for them – perhaps one that predictive models have indicated would be suitable – this subscriber will be more likely to spread the word to those in his or her network, causing a positive ripple effect. As a result, many of these connections may pursue that same SMS rate, providing an increase in revenue for the CSP.

Ultimately, recommendations from family and friends can be far more effective than traditional advertising. In this way, combining predictive analytics and SNA can play a key role in any CSP’s arsenal. And of course, a well-executed SNA strategy balances providing personalised offers without infringing on subscriber privacy.

If you’d like to read more about combining predictive analytics and SNA— and taking this even one step further to understand and act upon the context of each interaction — download our recent whitepaper with Heavy Reading on Contextual Intelligence. What are your thoughts on SNA? Is it of value? Are there actual network influencers whose recommendation you follow regardless of the topic? Or would you say you’re more swayed by having CSPs make the right offer, and it holds more weight when the offer is recommended by those whose opinion you trust in the context of what is being offered?


Conversation on CIQ4T with Heavy Reading, Part 2

Posted: July 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In part one of our two part series, Heavy Reading analysts Ari Banerjee and Sarah Wallace discussed contextual intelligence for telecoms (CIQ4T) and how this type of approach, which provides advanced analytical insights for a holistic customer view, can improve engagement and elevate the customer experience.

Now, in the second and final installment, Ari and Sarah delve a bit deeper into what this actually means for service providers and explore some real-life examples of putting CIQ4T to work, such as monetisation, network resource optimisation and dynamic profiling with advanced analytics.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts, the telecommunications industry needs to increasingly predict what is important to customers rather than simply being reactive – and analytics plays a key role in helping to achieve this. Ultimately, turning all of this data into actionable information helps to bring people close together and furthers our goal of making data beautiful.

Like last week, you can listen to the full podcast of the conversation here or read the highlights below.

Ari Banerjee: Can you talk a little bit about the use cases that Comptel is addressing today that are more customer-facing?

Sarah Wallace: One of the first use cases is obvious but also very important, and that’s monetisation. This includes upselling to the customer, offering them something that might be triggered through some type of complaint, or offering them a new service. Another aspect of this is cross-selling – identifying subscribers and offering something they don’t necessarily need but that fits their usage pattern. So, for instance, service providers could offer a device with its own hot spot to a customer who may travel a lot.

Then, of course, there’s the aspect of new customer acquisition when it comes to monetisation. This entails identifying influencers in the network that might have a lot of off net relationships and making them an offer that will compel them to spread it virally – subsequently acquiring new subscribers.

Ari Banerjee: Beyond that, there’s the whole element of network resource optimisation. As we all know, when it comes to wireless, bandwidth management and resource management become extremely critical. Looking at the evolving wireless industry and all of its networks, 4G rollout is happening almost everywhere across the globe with LTE as the preferred route that most operators have taken.

With this comes another element of how to use spectrum, bandwidth and network resources better – especially when we look at services that are becoming more popular to enterprises or to consumers. These are really services that are low latency – those that revolve around video content and media. How do you provide expected quality of experience? All of that, again, needs advanced analytics or use of CIQ4T in a much broader way. Therefore, an OSS/BSS vendor already in the network can provide a lot more value additions for service providers.

One of the things that we are seeing operators challenged in is around cell-site optimisations. As we know, 4G networks are challenging because of things like traffic load balancing, handing over traffic between cells, determining where to put small cells – all of these need much more contextual information. So if OSS information is joined with contextual information, such as user experience, location and so forth, there’s a typical pattern of user-behaviour that can be mapped out.

Analytics can show that reducing power of one cell in favor of another cell might improve the overall network. Also, it can provide intelligent analysis around experience of a small set of high value customers who are typically using demanding services at a set time during the day, and how this can be handled in a better way based on load balancing across different parts of the network.

Subscriber-centric wireless offload – this becomes very important – and any operators who are providing 4G services are talking about wireless offload. This is because you cannot keep a subscriber on 4G continuously, it must instead be offloaded. Can this be done more intelligently using analytics? Can decisions be made based on the profitability of the customer lifetime value? Is there an SLA attached to the customer? Are they part of an enterprise contract? All of these different dimensions come through and are brought together via OSS/BSS systems and then intelligent decisions can be made based on which subscriber to offload. Again, use of CIQ4T and advanced analytics plays a major role here.

Service control based on subscriber profiles is another area that we think CIQ4T makes a lot of sense. By augmenting network data with subscriber data, utilising behavioural patterns, matching subscriber preferences and so forth, services can be tailored according to different users on the same subscriber account. So, for example, giving a company’s directors priority service compared to other employees, or managing a parent’s business applications in a different way than the entertainment applications used by their children.

So again, advanced analytics can also drive policies, which can drive service elements in the network and these can be programmed into things like policy servers for enforcement throughout the network in a much more soft-ticketed fashion.

Sarah Wallace: Some other use cases in addition to that include real-time churn prevention. This means being able to examine behaviours in subscribers who are obviously going to churn. Various elements to observe are multi-SIM prediction, rotational churn, and even churn location (do they reside in an area that has a propensity for high churn?)

Another use case is the concept of dynamic profiling with advanced analytics. This entails examining characteristics such as their usage, interests, location, socio-economic class, influence in their network (SNA), overall propensity to churn and their relationship to off net users.

Then, of course, there’s SNA which is a sub-set of advanced analytics. It’s really just looking at social networks in the sense of relationships – looking at family, friends and co-workers – and seeing what kind of influence the subscriber has in their sphere.

The last use case is advanced offer management – enabling service providers to confirm which promotions and service bundles are successful to offer including loyalty points, event and rule-based promotions, traffic-based promotions and management capability based on data subscriber network usage.

Personally, it makes me happy to think that Comptel’s software can be – and is – a part of the lives of so many people. And as consumers have different expectations for quality of experience, one of my personal favourite use cases is defining how to provide the experience that is right for each customer. Which use case do you find most appealing for CIQ4T?


Conversation on CIQ4T with Heavy Reading, Part 1

Posted: July 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

At Comptel, making data beautiful means transforming the voluminous amounts of information that service providers have on hand into contextual – and digestible – insight. This entails moving beyond the simple collection of data and discovering the true applications of the information.

Heavy Reading analysts Ari Banerjee and Sarah Wallace recently discussed this very topic, exploring how contextual intelligence for telecoms (CIQ4T) can elevate the customer experience through many dimensions. In this conversation, they consider how, in order to fully maximise business opportunities, communications service providers require a holistic understanding of an individual subscriber’s usage patterns, behaviours and circumstances – and the benefits this provides. You can listen to the full podcast of the conversation here or read the highlights, from part one of our two-part series, below.

Ari Banerjee: Sarah, how do you define CIQ4T especially when it comes to dealing with the communications industry and telcos?

Sarah Wallace: CIQ4T is defined as being able to understand the uniqueness of a person, circumstance or object and converting that understanding into an opportunity. That translates very well into telecoms because providers are really trying to get a better understanding of their subscribers and then translate this into an opportunity to retain customers and further monetise their opportunities with them.

Ari Banerjee: Obviously advanced analytics plays a major catalyst role here. In our opinion, advanced analytics is a key enabler for CIQ4T. It helps to navigate through the huge amounts of data that operators gather to get a more in-depth profile of the subscriber and understand factors, like their preferences and usage patterns. Then, service providers can use that data with advanced algorithms to predict future behavior patterns.

Advanced analytics implementation typically involves the creation of architecture that enables the collection, storage and integration of data sets from a variety of systems. Then, applying correlation and analytic techniques to identify patterns of significance across these data sets. Obviously, this helps to provide a root-cause analysis and to become more predictive.  On top of that, all of these different processes or ways of handling Big Data help to facilitate the delivery of actionable intelligence and provide context-specific insight for end-users.

So Sarah, now that you’ve defined CIQ4T, can you talk about its key characteristics that you see in your research with service providers today?

Sarah Wallace: Sure. So in telecoms, one key aspect is the real-time capability – or being able to take all the data, process it and turn that into analysis to make offerings in real-time. And then you have the characteristic of prediction – or being able to predict subscriber behavior and allowing for optimal decision-making, when it comes to planning and designing for future offers. There’s also connecting with the customer at all touch points and having a contextual or deeper, granular understanding of those touch points to determine which action should take place next.

Of course, there’s also the ability to handle large volumes of data – for instance, combining the data from the network with other sources, such as CRM and OSS and other network elements. Then, being able to apply that data for real-time decision-making. There’s also the operational aspect of advanced analytics and CIQ4T, which based on the analytics, determines the need for action toward the customer, network and the feedback loop for machine learning.

Ari Banerjee: So what you’re talking about is being able to navigate through Big Data to provide a more predictive pattern of how someone, a network, or the subscriber will behave in the future and to understand the different parameters that make up a subscriber profile. This includes things, like his location, his action patters, and business life, how he’s using services during office hours, non-peak hours, family time – and how to basically provide more offers that are very focused on his day-to-day needs. This is a shift away from mass-market approach of campaign management to more of a focused, one-to-one approach.

Stay tuned for part two, in which Ari Banerjee and Sarah Wallace put analytics into action and discuss compelling CIQ4T use-cases that illustrate just how effective the approach can be.


Let the 15th Annual Comptel User Group Begin!

Posted: June 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let the 15th Annual Comptel User Group Begin!

After some very good conversations at Management World 2012 in Dublin just a few weeks ago, we’re eager to continue the momentum and kick off the 15th annual Comptel User Group in Copenhagen, Denmark this week. Attendees can look forward to networking with Comptel’s executive management and our resident solution experts and learning from other customers and partners, in addition to partaking in some fun extracurricular activities like dinner at one of Copenhagen’s oldest theme parks and most popular attractions, Tivoli.

During the event, we’ll be exploring what seems like one of the hottest topics in the telecoms industry at the moment—analytics. In particular, we’ll be focusing on how it applies to Contextual Intelligence for Telecommunications (CIQ4T) and how it can help communications service providers (CSPs) address the challenges of customer experience management. Stay tuned for the results of an interactive voting session on this topic!

This year’s Comptel User Group will also feature a corporate strategy overview from CEO Juhani Hintikka, followed by presentations from TRUE Corporation in Thailand on provisioning, tefficient on improving efficiency in the telecoms sector, and Heavy Reading analysts Sarah Wallace and Ari Banerjee on compelling use cases for analytics, among others. Product demos and sessions on how they can help CSPs make data beautiful and better engage with their customers will also be available throughout the week.

While we wait for things to officially begin, here are some fun facts about the beautiful city of Copenhagen:

Did you know…

  • In 2007, Copenhagen was voted the world’s happiest city.
  • Around 30 percent of the Danish population – 1.8 million out of 5.4 million – live in the Copenhagen Metropolitan area.
  • Copenhagen’s harbor has been thoroughly cleaned in the past decade:  the inner harbor is now clean enough to swim in.
  • The dragon spire of Copenhagen’s old Stock Exchange, Børsen – now home to the Danish Chamber of Commerce – was created by a designer of fireworks.

Stay tuned for more insights from various Comptelians on-site at the Comptel User Group!


Considerations for a Next Generation of Mediation – Balancing the Data Explosion with Revenue Monetisation

Posted: January 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

We’ve often discussed and debated the negative “scissor effect” phenomenon that operators are facing today when it comes to data services. In a nutshell, it’s the inverse relationship between growth in data traffic and decline in operators’ revenue.

There are several key factors that will drive data service growth in the coming years, which are contributing to broadening the gap, typically an improvement in network performance and growth in video services, growth in M2M-based business models and the move toward service convergence.

On a positive note, operators do not have a lack of data when it comes to subscribers, their usage transactions, network performance, cell-site information, device-level data, as well as data spread across their networks and back office systems. But will they have the innovation, know-how and drive to stitch the two together (data growth + subscriber & service awareness) to bridge the chasm being formed by declining revenues?

Often unappreciated, never given enough due but playing a pivotal role in the context of operator revenue monetisation strategies are next-generation data mediation platforms. These platforms will provide operators with the foundation to achieve true convergence and increase service velocity by rapidly introducing next-generation services and launching IP-based services that dramatically increase transactional volumes.

Old-fashioned, batch-oriented mediation platforms are gradually becoming archaic, and the need of the hour is real-time, scalable, flexible, network-driven, bi-directional, on-line and offline charging mediation platforms.

Scalability, processing performance and the ability to run on low-cost hardware are some of the key challenges that must also be addressed by these next-generation data mediation systems. In fact, next-generation data mediation platforms need a multitude of evolved and new capabilities ranging from being network, technology and vendor-agnostic, to supporting triggering and analytics.

Comptel Convergent Mediation supports system consolidation and mediation of all services through a total cost of ownership (TCO)-sensitive, single-platform approach. Regardless of whether end customers are prepaid or postpaid, it enables differentiation in highly competitive markets by offering a smooth evolution of the current network—and accompanying OSS/BSS environment—into a fully convergent solution, with best-of-breed, field-proven modules.

This blog post is based upon a recent Comptel-commissioned Heavy Reading whitepaper, “Balancing Act: Data Explosion vs. Revenue Monetisation – Considerations for a Next Generation of Mediation”.  Comptel would like to acknowledge Heavy Reading senior analyst Ari Banerjee for his role in the development of the content.


Management World 2010 Wrap-Up

Posted: May 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Management World 2010 Wrap-Up

Another Management World has come and gone. Over the course of the three days and Comptel’s 80+ meetings, we had some really interesting discussions about the current state and future of the telecom market.

Some interesting snippets from the show floor:

  • Barbara Lancaster and Trevor Hayes of LTC International commented that, in many cases, service providers still seem to be buying and deploying software to solve short-term problems rather than to prepare for future subscriber or service-usage growth and service innovation.  Are operators digging deeper holes for themselves?
  • Cloud computing certainly took centre stage at Management World 2010, but the issue of 4G and OSS began to creep up in conversations.  Ari Banerjee of Heavy Reading noted policy control and convergent charging as important for ensuring the customer experience with the migration to LTE.

It was nice catching up with those customers, partners, media and analysts that were able to make it to Management World 2010.  We welcome you to share any points you found interesting while at the conference.