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Breaking down communications barriers – how telcos cope in a big data world

  • Jed Mole

    Jed Mole

Created at December 4th, 2013

Breaking down communications barriers – how telcos cope in a big data world

Communication has seemingly never been easier. Due to the growing number and variety of media channels and digital devices, we are better connected with one another than ever been before. But adapting to this change has not been smooth, especially for the telecommunications companies who now need to cater for 24/7, continually interactive and mobile consumers.

Coping with volume, variety and velocity

A side effect of vast media consumption is the equally vast creation of marketing data. Because they produce the consumable content and channels of communication in the first place, telcos have unique access to this data – and the leading position on its collation and monetisation. However for many, managing, processing, organising and analysing data to generate value is just as much a problem as it is a solution.

Battling to cope with a deluge of information from smartphones, TV’s tablets, and other online devices (tweets, purchasing information, emails and other activity), one UK telco can process over 1 billion customer interactions a day. So if telcos are to ensure future success and avoid a communications breakdown with their customers, they simply must handle data of great volume, variety and velocity.

Recognising unique consumers

Of course as consumers trust companies with their personal data across channels, they come to expect recognition in return. The ability to maintain a multisided and synchronised view of unique consumers – knowing exactly who someone is, their purchasing habits, preferences and unique profile across every touch point – is not only expected, it is a tool to enhance personalised targeting supporting improved loyalty, cross and up-sell revenue, and the overall customer experience. For telcos already finding data management difficult, this is another challenge, and one that is getting increasingly harder.

Whether a consumer calls, tweets emails, mails, fills in a form, or walks in, telcos need to be able to use their data to recognise them, and personalise their communications accordingly. Optimum, informed communication is their business after all, and a ‘forgetful’ approach, as if you’d ignored a friend in the street, won’t leave a great impression!

Adapting to respond

In the last ten years, technologies as well as data have advanced. Smartphones and tablets aside, from a data management perspective, most organisations have implemented customer relationship management programmes and supporting frameworks. However the interactions demanded of these systems are complex as the data being generated is now largely unstructured; it has evolved. In short, traditional analytics solutions and mainframe databases were not designed to handle big data!

But there are solutions. You’ve most likely heard of Hadoop, the open source software being used to collate and analyse unstructured data. But while Hadoop can help address substantial data challenges around data storage organisation and access, it is not the end to the business problem. Effective analysis and actionable insight still relies on multichannel consumer recognition.

Investing in the technology and expertise to manage it all

Third party data specialists can provide the answer, leveraging solutions centred on the importance of recognition and based on a foundation of consumer identification knowledge. This enables fast, accurate responses to consumer behaviour and action, fosters strong customer relationships and furthers trust in responsible, effective data use. Solutions are of course flexible, and tailored to suit unique organisations’ end goals and data aims with multi-source, first and third party information being ingested and analysed appropriately; in batch or in real-time depending on the nature and required speed of response.

Ultimately, speedy, accurate customer recognition when utilising consumer data is the enabler to effective management and monetisation; however large, varied or fast data is. Telcos that act to adapt and recognise will advance and profit. By evolving with these changing challenges, these telcos will recognise their customers and deliver better greater value and better customer experiences, and will avoid being deafened by the volume of their own communications data.