Data and digitization go hand in hand, each feeding into the other and expanding in scope, volume and complexity as they do so. How many bytes of digital information exist right now? And how about in five minutes from now? The answers to these questions are incalculable, but one thing is certain – big data analytics for telecom operators is something that every communications service provider (CSP) needs to understand.
Given what we’ve already said about the sheer volume and complexity of data flowing through telecom networks, that might seem like a tall order. Thankfully, TM Forum has published a roadmap for telcos trying to get to grips with information management and monetization.
A roadmap to success
The TM Forum Big Data Analytics (BDA) Business Value Roadmap breaks the BDA process down into six broad steps. By understanding and following these carefully, decision-makers in the telco industry can generate added value from the data their companies accumulate by the second.
The first step is to establish where your organization stands in terms of technical maturity. To help you do this, the TM Forum guidebook suggests five levels of BDA maturity, with 11 individual dimensions.
Step two is to identify business goals and challenges. This might include making real-time personalized offers, using customer feedback to develop an intelligent network repair program, working out which customers are likely to switch providers (and how to prevent them from leaving), or automating fraud detection to minimize losses.
Evaluate your goals and challenges
Yet big data analytics for telecom service providers is about more than just knowing what could be done. A successful strategy will take the list developed from step two, and identify which goals and challenges are of highest value. Those that have the greatest potential can be pushed through to the next stage – identifying BDA building blocks. Think about data (input and output), how to process this information, what tools will be used to extract the highest value and quality, what kind of concrete business use cases will benefit, and so on.
Only when this stage is complete will you be ready to make an informed decision on the big data repository model you will use. In big data analytics for telecom companies, as in every sector, the basic questions are the same. What are the precise parameters of your data? How should access to data be defined? Do you need deep drill-down or advanced visualization capabilities? And above all, what will you do with the results? Go back again to your goals, challenges and use cases, double-check that you are using the right tools and processes for the job.
Finally, go back to TM Forum, who provide a reference model for validation of the steps you have already taken. If all has gone according to plan, you’ll have the proof to give you confidence that your BDA process is on track. If not, go back through the steps, find what you’ve missed, and fine-tune your strategy. The time you take getting it right will be well spent.