Big data is the new currency – but it won’t buy you much without the full picture

Read into any industry publication and you will see big data and telco partnerships taking place in the race to win the competitive advantage first.


With the world predicted to generate around 40 zettabytes of data by 2020, according to an estimate by research firm International Data Corp. (IDC), industry heads such as Satish Mittal, CTO at Vodafone Business Services, are making bold statements such as “Data is the new currency.”

Of the organisations struggling with big data, telcos have an enormous opportunity to access vast amounts of data on their customers, and not just for their own operational or marketing purposes. Vodafone states an example of partnering with town planners, to give them the entire analytics of how traffic is moving, to enable them to intelligently divert traffic from congestion points, given that every moving vehicle has a person who has a mobile phone.

When you read this, it’s clear that the imagination for big data applications is endless. Only when you give some time to the information and answers you want to get to, do you know the data you need to pull. That is the first step, and where a lot of organisations are deploying their efforts, with the appointment of big data scientists.

However, once you know what you need, where many organisations, and in our experience, telcos, fall short, is in getting the right data active immediately, from a multitude of sources, to tell a story. Reports of telcos encouraging customer service onto social media is a good example of why it is ever more important to have the tools in place to capture real time data instantly, to know where customers are experiencing problems.

The challenge doesn’t stop there. If organisations are focused on the present, with no access to historic information or transactions, they can’t possibly predict likely outcomes, which is key to improving the customer experience. Imagine in a world where you might be able to determine a scenario where a network outage is likely to occur, and preempt it. Telcos need the infrastructure to be able to capture and make historic and present data available real time, to build patterns for immediate analysis, to help predict the future.

With these sorts of high volumes of data, of course, they also need to consider how to automate the process to be able to make any sense of it straight away, too. It’s no wonder that only a fraction of big data is seeing any value right now.

This is where the SysMech Zen advantage comes in. Immediate access to past and present data, the ability to combine network performance information with what the customer saying, is a killer capability. SysMech’s heritage of acquiring data in lightning speed, from the widest range of sources, means that this is perfectly achievable. Not only that, Zen incorporates the technology to tell the story in pictures; and to automate both the results and the ensuing actions.

Some companies may think they have glimpsed what big data can do for them, but in our experience the majority have just one piece of the full picture, which doesn’t tell the full story.

They want the now, and they want it now, but it’s the combination with the past, and making it easy to grasp the bigger picture, that will help to shape and improve the future.