Big data initiatives must provide quantifiable business value
Big data analysis is easy to talk about but hard to bring to life with measurable impact, Vic Bozzo tells VanillaPlus.
The difficulty the vast pool of communications service provider (CSP) data presents is not so much in the sheer volume of data involved but in the transformation of the data into actionable intelligence. In these times of constrained investment, projects need to demonstrate a clear return on investment and big data analytics projects are no exception. Therefore CSPs need to demonstrate a measurable impact from their big data analysis in order to prove its value and the business case.
There are in essence two core business cases, one that addresses potential opportunities and one that acts as an insurance against negative impacts such as fraud.
Telarix’s existing route optimisation system within the iXTools Suite, enables business intelligence, analytics and data mining to solve an ever-evolving set of use cases such as fraud and dispute management. It also allows the creation of new bundled revenue opportunities for retail and wholesale service providers. We therefore saw the need for business intelligence to provide vital feedback into the system and developed a new analysis module called iXInsight.
iXInsight is an analysis module for ad hoc reporting and visualisation of carrier data. The addition of the big data platform to iXInsight enables the real-time transformation of raw data into more actionable intelligence, providing CSPs with greater insights into their business operations.
As a provider of software automation for a dynamic customer base, with new entrants, an ever-emerging suite of services, competitive pricing pressures and a diverse regulatory landscape, Telarix has made the leap to a big data platform enabling analytics-as-a-service. To achieve this, we focused on seven core principles to ensure the new technology provides our customers with quantifiable business value.
The seven principles of big data business value
- A system meant to provide value-generating insight, must first understand the end-to-end business process. This includes who the players are, what their role and responsibility is, how they interact with the data, and how their actions feed the lifecycle of the business.
- The system has clearly defined the scope of use-cases for analytics, with quantifiable relevance to the business.
- The system must allow for data exploration; allowing users to ask pre-defined and ad-hoc
questions and explore answers.
- The system must provide an ability to control the data-ingestion pipeline.
- History is an old friend. The system must have the ability to utilise historical data for analytics.
- The system must support action, based on the insight derived.
- The system must be able to monitor, measure and report on its own performance.
The goal of big data analysis must always be to facilitate meaningful insights, while enabling fast, decision-making with clear key performance indicators (KPIs). These come in the form of operational optimisations that increase margins or improve performance, insights about new opportunities for revenue increase, or actions that rapidly arrest and mitigate revenue leakage because of abuse or fraudulent behaviour.
These goals rely on the integration of the analytics across multiple data sources and systems. One of our key principles is to get rid of the swivel chairs that made up the old architecture. These saw data received in one system transmitted to invoicing, for example, but now these steps can be taken away and replaced with a fully automated, end-to-end model.
iXInsight is supported by application programming interfaces (APIs) so it’s designed to be able to be personalised according to what the user wants to achieve. The same data can be parsed but it is sliced differently to achieve different insights iXInsight was built so it can provide feedback across different, distributed datamarts that is looked at as if it was a single database.
The insights generated can feedback appropriate alarms, alerts and actions. For example, if you’re in a revenue assurance department and use Telarix for rating and billing and you have iXInsight there’s no reason why the revenue assurance department can’t use the same data.
Another example would be a wholesaler with a retail arm selling inbound calls. If one phone dials 10,000 minutes to a location in one day, it’s clearly a fraud and Insight would suggest an action of closing that number. Who is better placed to mitigate and manage these types of threats than a company that receives your rates and invoices, manages your policy, reporting and billing?
The business case for big data analytics, much like security, has a trigger event that unlocks the motivation to add this functionality. Fraud on the network is a trigger and, while the interconnect team at a CSP has never been measured on the content of traffic because their job is to take in traffic and send it out and make a margin, they are now being asked to view the content in order to address the fraud issues in the market.
The CSPs’ trigger event has been the need for better reporting to prevent fraud but a system to address that need also enables them to terminate traffic at the right quality. We sell so much billing and dispute management and audit capabilities so CSPs can address their compliance requirements so it’s not a big step to use the nature and content of that information to create actionable business insights.
Often the carrier department of a CSP has a limited budget but they need data and information to address new opportunities and protect their existing business. I see Telarix helping them go to other departments such as marketing and gaining budget for systems that can help CSPs create new products. Looking at the value proposition that unlocks helps carrier departments find the budget for the tools they need in their part of the business.
iXInsight encapsulates the seven principles of big data analytics and is able to feed into multiple business and use cases. CSPs can simply deploy it to access the benefits of new revenue opportunities while continuing to secure and protect their operations.
category: Expert Opinions