Big data as a revenue generator? Are we really still talking about this?

I can’t believe we’re still discussing big data as a revenue generator in late 2014. Organisations should have made this part of normal business practice years ago but many are yet to make the step from collecting big data to analysing it – and ultimately utilising it.

Telcos, in particular, have an enormous opportunity to access vast amounts of data on their customers, and not just for their own operational or marketing purposes. But 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. Where many Telcos fall short is in getting the right data active immediately, in order to tell a story.

With such high volumes of data, Telcos also need to consider how to automate the process to be able to make any sense of it straight away. It’s no wonder that only a fraction of big data is seeing any value right now. This is where big data analytics comes in: immediate access to past and present data, the ability to combine network performance information with what the customers are saying – a killer capability.

Some Telcos may think they’ve 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 whole story.

Reports of Telcos encouraging customer service onto social media is a good example of utilising big data and why it’s ever more important to have the tools in place to capture real-time data instantly, to know where customers are experiencing problems. But it doesn’t stop there. If Telcos are only 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. Telcos need the infrastructure to be able to capture and make historic and present data available in real time – and determine patterns around where a network outage is likely to occur, and pre-empt it. Helping prevent customer churn and supporting revenue generation.

Telcos may even start providing big data analytics ‘as a service’ to other industries, adding value with their own data. Today’s social gaming companies, such as King, are big data companies masquerading as social gaming companies. It’s clear that social media and mobile devices have fuelled gaming to whole new levels and there’s no sign of the momentum slowing down any time soon. As we move towards 4G (and indeed 5G) and the use of social media increases with smartphone adoption, it’s Telcos who have the opportunity to become the kings of big data. The possibilities really are endless.

Find out more in Global Telecoms Business where we shared our thoughts on analysing and utilising big data with George Malim.