How can big data help telecoms providers boost their business

With big data analytics becoming a more familiar solution in enterprises across all sectors, organisations that do not seek to make better use of the information available to them stand to be left behind by more proactive competitors. And one industry where this may be particularly true at the moment is the telecoms market.

A new report by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has noted there is a major opportunity for organisations in this sector to improve their performance through the use of advanced analytics – but companies will have to plan carefully in order to see success.

The organisation observed telco companies may be particularly able to benefit from big data developments, as this is a sector that is currently under a great deal of pressure. The industry is struggling with declining revenues in developed markets, while growth in emerging economies is stagnating. Therefore, anything providers can do to improve their efficiency and attract new customers will be hugely beneficial.

Kushal Shah, partner and head of the TMT practice at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Middle East, said: "Telcos must claim their role in big data. The speed, the role and the relevance they have in the ecosystem will be determined by the actions they take in the next 12 to 24 months."

But while big data can help these businesses drive revenues and optimise their costs, most operators have yet to take the potential of this technology seriously, something the report noted could be a serious mistake.

Roland Berger therefore identified several factors that companies will need to consider if they are to complete a successful big data deployment, with the report emphasising the importance of clear governance and having the right staff on-board, as well as the need for strong technology.

For instance, while many big data investments tend to be driven by IT departments, the technology will only work if business departments are able to leverage their insight and ensure the right questions are being asked of the solutions.

To stand the best chance of success, IT and business units – such as sales, marketing and customer relations – need to present a unified front to senior management in order to convince them of the potential of the technology, build a strategy, establish a roadmap and secure the necessary investment.

As well as getting this buy-in and making certain that businesses have the right skills in place to engage with big data analytics solutions, firms need to make sure they have the right supporting IT architecture in place. The report noted that attempting to "parachute" big data into an organisation without clear processes and solutions for dealing with the required information will be doomed to failure.

"Telcos that want to move ahead with big data first need to establish a strategy for how they aim to collect, manage and analyse this data," Roland berger stated. "Big data setups will, for instance, require an integration of structured and unstructured elements, together with supporting analytical tools."