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How to build a puzzle without knowing the picture

May 28, 2021

For telcos, analytics present an exciting yet daunting number of opportunities.


In brief
  • As data-driven decisions become democratized within enterprises, it’s important for everyone to be aware of the stumbling blocks.
  • The puzzle can only be completed once the business problem has been identified.

Analytics is becoming an increasingly dominant theme in the telecommunications industry. Operators are interested in using it to improve organizational agility, optimize processes, enhance customer experience and develop new revenue streams. However, analytics isn’t a one stop solution — it’s just one piece of a much bigger picture. But what does that picture look like?

There are many advanced analytics use cases for telecommunications service providers, varying across networks, operations, customer and external monetization business models. The two key areas telcos deal with mostly will help provide a broad overview of the benefits of the right analytics.

  1. Using data analytics to optimize customer relationships

    Because most communications today are digital, operators’ networks have become a highway of interaction. Consequently, there’s a huge opportunity to use the wealth of information available to optimize customer interactions, increase the strength of the relationship, and improve or develop new products and services.
  2. Using data analytics to optimize internal operations

    This can be an easy win. Many telcos today are already digital, so data is abundantly available and ready to be used. And in most cases, the technology engineers are already there too, primed to understand it all.

The challenges of change

While it’s clear to see the potential of analytics, several challenges must be considered upfront before they become serious stumbling blocks. And with the current democratization of data-driven decisions within enterprises, it’s important that everyone has visibility of them.

  • Culture: The traditional culture of management-driven decisions is shifting. Those at the middle level, or even the front end, can be now equipped with the insight to make real-time decisions. So, how will you adapt to this new model and accept that you’ll have to relinquish some responsibility?
  • Priorities: When it comes to analytics, there are a lot of data sources to connect, and a lot of data to analyze and exploit. Also, around 80% of your initial effort will be taken up on gathering and managing the data itself before you even begin to analyze it. So, where do you start? Prioritization based on value and technical feasibility is vital.
  • Success: Once you begin to use analytics, how do you assess its success? Many operators currently don’t because they’re afraid of what it will show — but it’s a key part of being able to make meaningful progress.
  • Operations: To be able to make the most of analytics, your organization must adapt to accommodate it. Which existing operations will need to change? Where will the data analytics reside? Who will manage it? And who will sign off the budget for it?
  • Evolution: Even the biggest operators in the world can’t keep up with the speed of change today. And it’s impossible to have instant access to every new piece of technology that emerges. So, which ones will you adopt, and who will drive these decisions? Which skills should your data engineers and analysts learn

Piecing together the puzzle

With all the opportunities and challenges that analytics present, it can feel as though there are many “pieces” that need to be put together. However, it’s imperative to work out what the overall business problem looks like before attempting to complete the puzzle. While there are certainly analytics-specific projects — including maturity assessments, gap analyses, data governance, data strategy or small proof of concepts — most of the work is centered around achieving the bigger business objectives. Analytics is one of the many powerful tools to help solve the business problem.

Analytics also presents an exciting yet daunting amount of opportunities for telcos to expand into different markets — such as insurance, gaming and banking — or establish cross-industry partnerships to open up new revenue streams. That’s why it’s important to track the trends and understand their relevancy to your business.