Big Data, or Right Data?


Big Data, or Right Data?

By TMCnet Special Guest
Claudio Frascoli
  |  November 12, 2013

The telecom industry faces a unique challenge when it comes to implementing big data. In a market where 40 percent of customers are willing to change providers for the sake of better service, improving the customer experience is a top priority. Collecting more information from customers is an important step in managing customer relations, and big data delivers a constant stream of data on current conditions for subscribers. And yet the standard approach to implementing big data is that with storage costs plummeting, every scrap of customer information available is collected to create one massive repository which generates actionable results. This time- and resource-intensive approach, however, entails several drawbacks for a market that requires real-time insights.

Because an effective customer experience management strategy is necessary to minimize churn, the telecom enterprise’s approach to implementing big data requires real-time analysis. But with the sheer amount of information being collected in standard implementations, analyzing it quickly enough becomes nearly impossible. Taking a more intelligent, modular approach to big data, however, delivers the results telecom enterprises need. This approach could be termed right data.

The Right Data Approach

Taking a right data approach requires a shift in perspective, to realize that not all data is equally valuable to every group within the enterprise. Extracting just relevant information from one all-encompassing repository requires time, as well as dedicated IT staff to manage the process – in addition to the costly and extensive upgrades necessary to the infrastructure. The right data approach, however, involves working with existing databases to extract the information most likely to be useful, resulting in a less intrusive implementation process. This provides several important benefits for the enterprise, including the following.

  • The big data project can be deployed more quickly, which is an advantage given that 55 percent of big data initiatives fail due to complexity in implementation and processes. Faster deployment also improves management support.
  •  With less time required to analyze data – because the database is smaller – the analysis and recommendations can be produced in real time, to immediately address customer needs.
  •  A big data project that requires less change in IT means that the initial investment required to gain big data benefits is lower.
  • Closely related to this is that it’s easier to convince management of the efficacy of the big data project when a small-scale deployment is possible initially. Once the benefits are visible to executives, they will more likely approve additional budget for expanding the deployment.
  • A right data approach more easily delivers insights to specific business units. In addition, with different silos in the company able to produce their own analysis, there is less of a burden on IT manpower, further reducing costs.

What the Right Data Solution Looks Like

Turning big data into right data begins with deploying an intelligent customer experience management solution. The ideal implementation should focus on several goals to improve customer relationships while reducing expenses. That should include the following.

  • A right data system will be able to build a link between several data sources, rather than one all-encompassing database. By providing each business unit with the information most relevant for its activities, the right data is closer at hand, and the CEM can produce insights more quickly.
  • The right data system should be implemented with a modular approach, first selecting a few use cases and working to produce insights based on relevant information. Once the benefits are realized, it can then be expanded further.
  • It should also be able to deliver insights in a manner that is easily understandable to the user. A marketing report should be able to have marketing-specific insight to guide actions, such as users who are not using all the services their devices are capable of. This reduces the need for an additional layer of data experts to translate insights into understandable actions.
  • The CEM should deliver real-time visibility into the current performance of services for customers, enabling the telecom provider to quickly identify problems. This will reduce customer service calls, improving retention while reducing operational expenses.
  • The right data system should automate functions wherever possible. For example, to maintain a high level of service, it should have the ability to adjust non-intrusive device settings without the need for manual intervention on the part of the user or the service provider.
  •  As important as the user experience is, the ability to measure results is key. The business needs to determine the success rate of its technical and marketing initiatives, which gives it insight into where to focus customer relationship efforts to maximize results.

While big data is a buzzword across industries, an effective right data approach delivers fast, actionable insights into the customer experience without the need for a massive IT undertaking. Using current information-gathering resources, the telecom industry can gain improved customer relations in real time, improving retention and keeping costs low.

Claudio Frascoli is strategic marketing director for operator business strategies at Nokia (News - Alert) Solutions and Networks (

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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