In this article, we answer five common questions on advanced analytics for communications service providers.

1. What are challenges do service providers currently face in terms of analytics?

Carriers’ objectives are fairly standard business challenges: growth, transformation, handling digital disruption, organizational effectiveness. Analytics is a way of quantifying those challenges and the options for meeting them. Cartesian has seen most of the interesting analytics around customer experience, project lifecycle management, as well as network expansion and technical disciplines like switch decommissioning.

2. What is the difference between what clients look for now as opposed to in the past?

Now, we have the technology and processing power to look at all the data a business creates. Financial reports used to look at only accounting data; now, you can combine that with customer data and network performance analytics to pull together a bigger set of data to answer the questions the business is asking. It is all faster and much, much easier. Analytics no longer has to be a white lab coat approach, but can become part of everyday business decision-making.

3. Why aren’t more companies doing advanced analytics?

Organizationally it is still challenging: data tends to sit in silos in different parts of the company; an organization’s functional areas are not always aligned in terms of sharing of data; and, the levels of quality and granularity of data varies across functions. There has recently been a move to centralize the handling of big data and the analytics around it. The creation of the role of CDO (Chief Data Officer) is one example. The aim is to ensure the right level of process and rigor is being used for all analytical capability within the company rather than having it being done piecemeal in separate parts of the organization.

4. We always hear about the opportunities with big data analytics. Where do people go wrong?

Big data isn’t good at understanding context. For example, the data might tell you that your enterprise business is more profitable and so you should turn off consumers entirely because they aren’t as profitable. Analytics must take the whole picture into account and build a narrative. With big data, you can describe aspects of a story, but you also need the human and social elements. For our clients, we combine big data analysis with industry expertise and our client’s business context to create a narrative that management can present to shareholders and stakeholders. The story delivers as much as the analytics. At Cartesian, we understand what big data can and can’t do, as well the context within which it sits.

5. For an approach to analytics strategy, where should a company begin? What do they need for success?

  1. Review your current status: Assess your current situation, what’s being done and the state of data sources
  2. Assess business and technical needs: Look at your organizational area and prioritize needs
  3. Analyze your gaps: What do we need and how do we get there?
  4. Create a roadmap: You can’t click your figures and have a company-wide analytics program. You can’t always put existing analytics on hold either. Things like financial reporting need to continue to happen whilst you’re going through a transition.

With this four-step approach, you can get to the point from having the desire to do analytics to having a concrete plan where you know the transition you have to go through and what it will look like in 2-3 years and beyond.