The communications industry has seen a massive data explosion over the years. Growth in mobile data, social media buzz, video led services have all played their part in this data upsurge. A research by Telefonica O2 states that data traffic is increasing by as much as 2X every six to eight months. With this huge increase in data consumption, it is the operators’ ability to leverage this data that becomes a source of competitive advantage. While service providers do not have dearth of data, what is required is the ability to extract actionable insights from this data. Bringing together data from diverse sources and normalizing and correlating them is a mammoth challenge. However, if operators are able to achieve this objective, they stand to gain in terms of increase in revenue, reduction of churn and an overall enhancing of customer experience. The key areas of application of big data analytics include:
- Real-time decision making- With opportunity windows being short, availability of real-time intelligence enables the service provider to maximize revenue. A significant advantage of analytics is the ability to provide location based data, which in turn allows providers to target users by way of location based advertising. Big data and analytics can also be extremely helpful in congestion control and can help give priority to customers basis their usage patterns, when they are moving across cells suffering from congestion. At the other end, big data can also come in handy when it comes to detecting abnormal consumer consumptions, fraud etc that can significantly reduce cases of bad debt.
- Precise Marketing- With big data, operators are able to significantly improve campaign management, as they are able to use customer consumption data to upsell and cross sell products. It arms operators not just with the ability to target promotions to relevant consumers but also to study the effectiveness of these offers and promotions. Big data also provides intelligence to predict triggers that lead to churn and effectively address them. A customer complaint, for example can lead to specific offers that reduce the possibility of churn.
- Operational Efficiency- With opex being a high constituent of operator costs, big data can come in handy in increasing operational efficiencies and reducing costs. By monitoring subscriber activities, operators can identify and rectify issues leading to pre- emptive customer care. Big data and analytics also come in handy when it comes to intelligent network planning based on service forecast demands. Systems can work towards capacity optimization based on past utilization trends, sales forecasts and more.
- Innovative Business models- Effective use of big data and analytics can lead to a whole lot of new and innovative revenue streams on account of its ability to add value added services as also to personalize offerings. API Management, for example is becoming a big data initiative as it can provide information on which applications are being used and how. There is also opportunity for providers to study a customer’s payment history and offer targeted promotions to further enhance revenue. Another application of big data can be in matching customer demands with merchant offerings and thereby creating a robust marketplace.
- Customer Experience Enhancement- Big data offers the significant opportunity to make personalized offerings to customers basis their preferences. Predictive analytics can profile and segment users basis a number of parameters such as location, socio economic class, interests, influence and more. This in turn will help the provider offer targeted offerings. Aspects such as click stream analysis can also give incisive insights on user behavior.
As per a study by Heavy Reading, the big data technology and services market is slated to grow to $9.83 Billion by 2020, a CAGR of 26%. The Customer experience enhancement application is predicted to grow at the highest pace, at a CAGR of 30.8 percent. With big data and advanced analytics slated to become a fundamental growth strategy, it is only imperative that operators start to plan for its implementation.