This is the year of data analytics
There are many predications that can be made about the future of CSPs. From combatting competitors to the rush to support NFV, the challenges are significant. However, the constant business issue continues to be how to understand customers better.
At the end of the day, says Jennifer Fellows of MDS, customers are what drive every decision and investment made by a CSP. Without a strong customer view and tools to understand where they may look to buy or increase their usage, CSPs are betting their future purely on a guess. 2016 will therefore be the year that analytics will move beyond the hype and really make a difference to the bottom-line.
Knowing your customer, predicting behaviour and identifying usage or buying trends have been talking points and a top CSP investment area for years. Overlay this history with big data and the buzz intensifies. CSPs all over the world have been financing and developing programs in the never-ending effort to solve the mystery that is customer behaviour. But where have they really ended up? Is the experience for a customer truly any better? And do CSPs now have the eponymous crystal ball to understand what their customers will do next?
With all the industry clamour, exciting vendor pitches, and extensive CSP investment, it may be surprising to learn that some of the most basic customer information is still unavailable to assist in managing their business. In fact, some operators still don’t have visibility into basic historical account information and historical behaviour analysis. So, where have all the expected benefits gone? Is it bad data or perhaps just the wrong expectation?
This situation could be attributed to the challenges faced when CSPs merge. When that occurs, the significant effort of converting legacy systems migration gets pushed down the to-do list. While understandable given the tasks with combining organisations, the failure to have comprehensive customer insight is short-sighted. Wasn’t a business reason for the merger to obtain a larger subscriber base?
Another reason could be that investments have been in silos. It is possible that each team within the CSP got their particular project funding approved and kicked off their analytics project. But what may have been missing is that a holistic view of the data was not considered. There are many different data points that comprise customer behaviour. Having an all-inclusive representation of the customer is where the early trends in usage or buying patterns can be identified.
As the excitement begins to wane, reality has settled in. CSPs that are taking a hard look at their overall, comprehensive analytic strategy – and not just in a few areas – will gain the advantage. The customer is a dynamic organism. Getting even one step ahead to influence a buying decision can result in significant upside. A push to achieve improved data monetisation results, by enticing more buy decisions will be a significant focus area in 2016. Right at its heart will be analytics.
The author is Jennifer Fellows, SVP of Product Management and Marketing of MDS.
Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @ VanillaPlusMag OR @jcvplus