Comptel and Big Data at Mobile World Congress 2014

Posted: February 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Events | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

You probably have not been able to avoid hearing the term, “Big Data”, nor about the expectations of its limitless possibilities for communications service providers (CSPs). CSPs have a unique opportunity to delve into the spectrum of network, customer, service and other information at their fingertips and flowing through their OSS/BSS, eventually using it to improve both internal operations and customer-facing processes.

But Big Data sadly often means Big Projects. It is not just management of the three core “Vs” – volume, velocity and variety – that contributes to this, so can the setup of the technology to store and collect the data. But often, the biggest challenge stems from the fourth “V”, or value. What do operators need to do in order to drive true value from Big Data? I believe that there are some key requirements for being successful here:

  • Have a strategic business objective to focus on. Do not just collect data for the sake of collecting data, but have a goal in mind and a roadmap of what to do to drive more value when you reach that goal. (Buy-in from the boardroom, of course, helps, too, especially with issues like breaking down organisational silos.)
  • Don’t start with a blank slate. It’s important to have a set of proven, productised applications to address your business pains, whether it be customer experience-driven like smart throttling or network-focused for proactive service management, for instance.
  • Collect experience and learning in your organisation if you see information as your key asset, but don’t wait until you have built an experienced team to do so – have that as your plan, but start generating value from operational applications from the get-go.

And that’s where Comptel comes in. We’ve been developing our Big Data offering to help CSPs give their initiatives a running start, and also  supply them with the tools to support information-based decision-making and derive the true value they’ve been looking for – quickly and in a future-proof and extendable way – to solve acute business pains and build on that success.

Comptel provides a true Big Data solution, addressing all key components of the Big Data process:

1)     Data Ingestion: Integration, importing and formatting of historical and real-time data from CSPs’ own data sources, combined with external data for a truly holistic view of the business. This is powered by Comptel’s proven technology used in our mediation solutions.

2)     Data Management: Transformation, correlation, enrichment and manipulation of data to ensure optimal usability, and using the most appropriate methods to store data—whether it be Hadoop for unstructured data, massively parallel processing databases or in-memory data grids.

3)     Data Analysis: Highly accurate, real-time predictive analysis, modelling and reporting, powered by machine learning.

4)     Business Analytics Applications: Productised solutions to solve acute business pains, utilising the whole Big Data solution to drive immediate value.

One important aspect of Comptel approach’s is the utilisation of both historical and real-time data to drive true value—we do not see these as separate discrete steps of a process, i.e. building a predictive model and then applying triggers based on the model’s predictions, but instead having the predictive model applied in the real-time data stream to reap and benefit from contextual intelligence.

Clearly, Big Data analytics is reshaping the telco landscape. According to our recent research supported by Vanson Bourne, about two-thirds of telco executives (64 percent) say they are already in the process of leveraging Big Data to improve customer service, for instance. This is the time for Big Data to show that it is not just a hyped concept but a true generator of value—and we believe that the way to do that is through scalable, Big Data solutions designed to achieve and build on CSPs’ business objectives from day one.

To discuss how contextual and operational intelligence can augment CSPs’ efforts, come to our booth (Hall 5, Stand 5F41) at Mobile World Congress 2014. Look forward to seeing you in Barcelona this week!


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The True Value of Big Data

Posted: October 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

There’s no denying that one of the biggest trends in IT right now is Big Data. While there are many different ways to describe it, perhaps the most commonly agreed upon, and my personal favorite, is that it must encompass the three “Vs”: volume, velocity and variety. How organisations understand and embrace these concepts varies—but I think we can all agree on one thing – there is a lot of data being generated quickly from various sources. I’ve found that one of the biggest questions organisations are asking though (which adds a fourth “V” to the equation) is: How do we derive value from Big Data?

Real-time (or near real-time) predictive analytics are gaining in popularity, and may hold the key to realising Big Data’s true value. In his keynote presentation at OpenWorld, Joe Tucci, CEO of EMC Corporation, stated that: “Real-time predictive analytics will be the killer app for this cloud era.” Personally, I could not agree more and think that this points in precisely the right direction, not just for cloud but for all businesses dealing with data.

One of the main benefits is gaining a strategic understanding of customers and the overall business ecosystem. But the key is going beyond simply collecting information, or even the ability to store and process it. The way organisations can truly realise Big Data’s potential is by leveraging it to predict behaviours and market changes, and make smarter business decisions based on that knowledge.

What exactly those actions are will depends a bit on the case—for communications service providers, it may be policy management activities or real-time, location-based marketing campaigns. And as many are already noticing, decision-making with predictive modeling can have huge benefits.

In short, I believe we must indeed look at Big Data not as a thing that happens, but as a process we act upon – through contextual predictive analytics-driven actions. Enabling these insights is important to Comptel and something we’re continually working towards by combining analytics with our high-performance mediation and fulfillment platform. If I must confess, I am really excited about what we are seeing and doing here, and the benefits we can offer to our customers!


Reflecting on My First Three Months with Comptel

Posted: May 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reflecting on My First Three Months with Comptel

I promised to write a follow-up blog post after completing Comptel’s rebranding and spending one quarter with the company. I was especially inspired to do this after one of the Finnish business papers asked me to describe how I felt after having spent 100 days in my new role—but in just one sentence.

Requests for this type of ‘elevator pitch’ can be extremely difficult, particularly to be so concise, but mine came pretty easily: “It’s refreshing to be in a company where the values are high on senior leaders’ agendas and present in everything we do.” And after sharing this ‘elevator pitch’, it became even clearer to me that my colleagues, who have been with the company a bit longer, have positively experienced the change Comptel has gone through in the past year, and that other newcomers like me have also welcomed the spirit of the highly knowledgeable and friendly people we have.

In the last blog post, I also discussed the ‘love business’ and how the majority of consumers feel like they haven’t been getting enough love from their communications service providers (CSPs). I feel like discussing this softer side of doing business is critical for any organisation that wants to succeed. So, I’ve tried to summarise our corporate values and make them a bit more concrete with a couple of my own recent experiences as examples.

For instance, last week, I had the privilege of participating in a session where the core members of our analytics team shared their backgrounds and where they would like to see Comptel go in this space. There were many fascinating stories with members of the group talking about their Ph.D.s in mathematics, shared passions for solving problems, and journeys from battling trial and error to ultimately achieving real success when demonstrating how their algorithms can help CSPs get closer to their customers (e.g. predicting the churners with extreme accuracy). This was the perfect setting for showing our excitement about the value add we deliver to our customers and our focus on constantly making things happen and improving the results. I regret that I did not capture those stories via video, but we will soon have a short one featuring Matti Aksela, vice president of analytics. (In the meantime, you can read about Matti’s views on customer experience management in the April-May issue of VanillaPlus,)

Similarly, I visited three of our main offices: Sao Paulo, Brasil; Reading, U.K.; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and found that it was really refreshing to see positive energy, close collaboration at both the global and regional levels, and a strong desire to meet our customers’ needs. And, respect, which is challenging to execute across all individuals in an organisation, was clearly evident as well. I believe the diverse cultural mix across our global organisation lends well to the way respect is shown and expressed—whether it is related to customer requirements or collegial collaboration.

Am I still in a honeymoon phase with Comptel? I don’t think so after hearing that long-time employees share the same feelings—and that they were the ones who established and have made our corporate values happen. The key to this: believing that nothing is impossible and being able to put egos aside and respecting decisions made as a team versus as individuals.

It’s interesting to see how our four values—passion, united, respect and make it happen—are related. It is a bit difficult to make the most out of oneself without passion, and business today is such a complex entity of variables that nobody can make it alone; thus, it is critical to unite and collaborate. Without respect, we cannot ensure that our work is fully resourced and timed to deliver the expected results, such as the processing of more than half a billion network transactions daily for Telefónica Central America.

Comptel’s business outlook is ambitious, requiring constantly winning new customers and enhancing our portfolio by launching new products, solutions and services—all while improving our productivity. The key to achieving these objectives is to align all of the forces needed to reach these goals, ensure a shared direction, keep people motivated and tweak the environment to produce winning teams. I believe that well-implemented values like ours provide fuel for the engine needed to deliver such promises to the market.

This was my reflection from my past three months at Comptel, but as I’m more of a forward-looking person, I would like to briefly highlight our presence at Management World 2012 next week. We are excited to meet with customers, partners and prospects, and discuss how we can help CSPs understand the status and context of their networks and their customers and their service use, rapidly respond to changing market requirements and, more importantly, institute the best approaches for predicting churners and generating new revenue opportunities for better business. We are all passionate and excited about showing how our ‘event-analysis-action’ strategic framework has been operationalised. Hope to see you in Dublin and ‘co’nverse on making data even more beautiful!


The Rising Importance of Proof-of-Concepts

Posted: April 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rising Importance of Proof-of-Concepts

Recently, outside of my working life at Comptel, two of my friends have been looking for new jobs after a considerable time in their current roles.

Separately, they both shared with me their remarkably similar job seeking experiences. They explained there appeared to be more candidates looking and immediately available, and stated that the interview process was longer, harder and had more steps than they had remembered. Significantly, my mates had to attend lengthy assessment centres, where they had to literally demonstrate their suitability for the prospective jobs.

I am pleased to announce they were both successful in their applications, but the steps, themes and parallels they encountered made me think of the current way telecoms software providers are selected by communications service providers (CSP).

From my position as project manager in Comptel’s Europe West services team, I acknowledge the rising importance of proof-of-concepts in the procurement process. Has this become the equivalent of the assessment centre in an interview process? Helping customers to assess and select the right vendor for them?

For a measured financial outlay, proof-of-concepts can be of enormous mutual benefit to both technology providers and CSP customers:

Suitability: Our customers can experience first-hand the suitability or relevance of Comptel’s products and solutions against their specified functional user scenarios. As the supplier, we can ensure that we properly understand the requirements and priorities that matter to our customers (and on occasions, gain ideas on how to improve our core products for all customers!). Furthermore, customers can assess the impact of a potential new solution on their businesses.

Technical Solution: Technically, both parties immediately understand how they can integrate a new solution with existing systems and interfaces. Through hands on knowledge of the requirements and technicalities, Comptel can accurately and confidently deliver fixed price quotes.

Commitment: A proof-of-concept is a real statement of intent from both parties; they are committed to reviewing and proving the solution is appropriate for the product and strategy.

Risk: Investing in a new solution is a substantial decision by CSPs. With an upfront proof-of-concept, the risk to the business is reduced through upfront working and engagement. Comptel ensures that it understands CSPs’ businesses, and that its solutions can really meet their requirements.

Head Start: By investing in a proof-of-concept, it allows both parties to make a head start when the full implementation project is approved. There is a common understanding and relationship in place from day one. Unlike a brand new customer, contracts and ways of working together are understood, reducing kick-off lead times.

Learning: Through a proof-of-concept, all participants learn, from subtle things such as understanding customers’ key business drivers, to actually meeting the Comptel personalities that will work on the main implementation!

From a Europe West services perspective, I enjoy being asked to manage proof-of-concepts. They are often fast-paced, focused and provide Comptel with an opportunity to show its strengths and values.

I also believe that going through an interview process does not have to be stressful—it’s a collaborative event to make sure that both parties understand each other and can work together to deliver success. Comptel believes in the value of understanding and working together with its customers!