From Data Exhaust to Data Insight—the Journey ahead for Telcos

By: Rick Lievano, Worldwide Director of Industry Technology Strategy for the Microsoft Telecommunications Sector

We’re at TM Forum Live! in Nice, France this week talking about topical issues of interest to Telcos who are reinventing their businesses to become digital service providers—among them, big data. More so than any other industry, data lives at the heart of every Telco organization. In recent years, that heartbeat has been pounding louder as the industry staggers under the weight of an ever-exploding volume, velocity and variety of data.  A growing number of mobile and other devices connected to networks are generating an unprecedented amount of information about people, places, products, companies and brands. The massive volume and variety of network, service and subscriber data is expanding like never before. Established over-the-top (OTT) players are moving quickly to monetize these end-user data streams while Telco operators, struggling with data sprawl across multiple repository silos and growing privacy concerns around use of customer data, are moving more slowly than OTTs to capitalize on the data opportunity. Meanwhile, the world’s hunger for data and content continues to grow—which means Telcos are faced with ongoing investments in next-generation infrastructure to keep up with that growing demand even as they’re figuring out what to do with their data assets.

Microsoft recently sponsored an IDC study (results in infographic below) to look at companies globally to better understand what actions by “data smart” organizations in the communications and media industries yield the most impactful outcomes—both in terms of business growth and efficiency. The research surfaced an eye-popping number of $235 billion—the potential net value of what we refer to as the “data dividend” over a four year period for this sector if companies become data smart and perform some combination of the following four actions: a) bring together even as few as 3-4 discrete data sources, b) use modern analytics tools to glean insights from data, c) surface those insights in a consumable fashion to the right decision makers across the company and d) ensure that insights from data are shared in a timely manner. Organizations that take all four of these steps potentially stand to realize a 60 percent greater return on their data assets. The research also revealed that productivity and operations improvements are two areas with the largest data dividend gains.

While telecom operators must tread carefully and thoughtfully in their data monetization initiatives and always have customer value front-and-center in their decision making, at Microsoft we’re seeing some great examples of Telco customers who are beginning to carve away at that $235 billion pie. Companies like SK Telecom, a South Korean Telco provider looking to take advantage of the growing global indoor location-based service (IBLS) market to drive new revenues are using Microsoft’s cloud-integrated data management solution.

Stop by our booth at TM Forum Live! and if we miss you there, learn more about how Microsoft’s big data and analytics solutions are helping our industry customers solve their data challenges here.