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Big Data Analysis, What’s Holding Operators Back?

Assessing CSPs Fears of BDA

This question was addressed by Analysys Mason in its recent White Paper ‘Using Big Data to build value for Operators'. A discernible fact from the paper was that reservations over Big Data Analytics (BDA) cannot be attributed to operators underestimating the value of the data they hold, quite the contrary: BDA is gaining interest from communication service providers (CSPs) at board level, with the distinct purpose of monetization.

BDA has evolved over time, and CSPs, according to Analysys Mason, should view the proposed usage of BDA as a new stage in this process for both technology and business requirements. Recent technological advancements have led to the extraction, collation and analysis of customer insight data to a far more detailed degree, and at a much lower cost. However, budgetary constraints were cited by 40% of the 35 CSPs interviewed by Analysys Mason as a barrier to using BDA in context aware marketing. This factor is compounded because the BDA market, although still early in its development, is already fractured by the differing ideas on what uses are most valuable. This has resulted in few out-of-the-box solutions on the market, which makes implementation a complex and costly affair for CSPs.

It's no secret that CSPs are facing declining revenues from traditional telecom services. However, BDA provides an opportunity for CSPs to generate new revenue streams. Analysys Mason discussed three models for CSPS to derive direct income from BDA: the first is mobile advertising, arguably one of the most lucrative methods (the global advertising market is worth c.USD500 billion). BDA allows CSPs to deliver promotions in near real time via SMS/MMS or through their own mobile apps. If BDA is utilized in such a way that it can target specific groups at appropriate times, then this delivery method encompasses significant advantages over other advertisement delivery mechanisms. The other two monetization approaches involved the selling of data to third party organizations. However, it was found that CSPs plan to use BDA for internal purposes (marketing and customer care) before offering this as an external service.

The most prevalent barrier to using BDA to drive marketing campaigns was ‘privacy issues preventing the use of customer data', cited by 70% of respondents. Analysys Mason proposed the deployment of opt-in policies, which can bypass legal and regulatory constraints concerning the collection of data. However, where's the incentive for customers to opt-in to such plans? For BDA to become successful in the long-term, solutions should include strategies to attract and retain customers to opt-in policies - policies that will not impair CSPs' reputations in any form.

When asked about the current ‘state of readiness' for internal operations to offer BDA driven marketing campaigns, 40% state they were ready or in the process of being built, with a further 29% claiming to be in the planning stage. That's 70% already or soon to be implementing BDA for marketing. However, many of the existing applications are fairly basic. In terms of what BDA can truly offer a business there's still a long way to go - in particular the capability to create personalized marketing campaigns which are sensitive to the individual customer's context in real-time. It seems operators may be lacking the right tools for the job: out-of-the-box solutions which integrate opt-in controls and incentives for the customer and enable targeted marketing campaigns for each customer based on real-time knowledge of the customer's context.

More Stories By Claire McMahon

Claire McMahon is the International Telecom Analyst at AsiaInfo-Linkage, the supplier of the world's most advanced software solutions and IT services to the telecommunications industry.

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