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June 21, 2012

The Top Five Reasons Telco Service Providers Need Operational Intelligence

Communications Service Providers (CSPs) face mounting pressure from customers to deliver faster, better and more available services. They are becoming increasingly aware that sophisticated real-time analytics can simultaneously unlock new revenue opportunities and improve the customer experience, thereby mitigating against the underlying causes of churn. If telcos can finally take advantage of the vast amount of information they have about customers and their usage patterns, telcos will find ways to compete with both traditional and non-traditional rivals.

Operational Intelligence: Real Time Visibility, Insight and Action

Operational Intelligence (OI) is a new approach to solving the volume, velocity and variety challenges, while delivering the value. It enables CSPs to gain visibility into real time events and insight into actual and expected performance and key metrics using real-time analytics and take action in the form of automated responses to exceptions before they become visible to the customer. With an OI platform, CSPs can:

  • Aggregate and filter high-volume, real-time feeds; 
  • Enrich real-time events with reference data;
  • Correlate (News - Alert) data held across multiple systems in multiple silos (e.g. social networks, packaged apps, transactional systems, online stores, business process management systems, workflow engines, databases and more) to provide complete context;
  • Analyze trends and patterns to discern the critical interactions;
  • Provide rules to recognize exceptions;
  • Respond to exceptions to resolve problems before the customer becomes aware of them; and
  • Feed back relevant information targeted to different parts of the organization.

 Service Providers need Operational Intelligence to:

 1.      Maximize Customer Experiences

Alarm-based events do not tell us much about the behavior of individual subscribers. Such visibility requires access and the ability to process enormous volumes of network-signalling events on the control plane.

Operational Intelligence addresses these challenges by enabling the CSP (News - Alert) to combine the intelligence derived from deep network-signalling events with the breadth of customer information held across the organization to build a holistic picture of an individual subscriber’s experience, providing visibility into that experience, insight into customer behavior and the ability to respond automatically to problems or opportunities in real time. The ability to exploit network-signalling data provides an enormous advantage for understanding customer experience on an individual basis.

2.      Optimize Business Processes to Reduce Costs

By providing a fine-grained, real-time level of process visibility, Operational Intelligence can measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the end-to-end process, identifying actions to optimize the process that will further improve efficiency and reduce costs.

For example, OI can be used to monitor the service activation or provisioning process performance against SLAs. Problems can be visualized, identified and mitigated in real time. Activation requests from preferred partners can be prioritized. Oversubscribed offers can be detected and throttled based on customer or partner priority. Activation errors can be automatically detected and predictably resolved through automated exception management.

3.      Take Advantage of the Big Data Opportunity

Using big data frameworks such as Hadoop, large data sets provide an incredible opportunity for greater insight and intelligence on business operations. However, this analysis is performed on big data “at rest.” By combining these “at rest” analytics with the real-time analytics provided by Operational Intelligence, operators have a formidable set of tools with which to tame the data deluge for both big data “at rest” and big data “in motion.” OI provides the ability to visualize real-time feeds and take real-time action to significant events. Where the same feeds are stored in a big data framework, an OI system works alongside the big data store, providing the ability to replay past events, analyze those events for patterns, and compare past events with the current situation.

4.      Exploit New M2M Revenue Streams

CSPs are looking to new revenue streams to supplement flat revenues from traditional products and one of the most promising areas for innovation is in machine-to-machine applications. With smart meter deployment accelerating in the utilities industry, smart meter reading is one of the key application areas for M2M.

While the application areas for M2M are diverse, all M2M applications share a common set of core requirements, from collection of large volumes of data from sensor-equipped devices; transmission of selected data over the network; real-time assessment of the data; and response to the information derived from the data. Operational Intelligence provides precisely this set of capabilities, and an OI platform allows the service provider to deploy multiple M2M initiatives on the same platform without the need to purchase multiple niche point-solutions.

5.      Prevent Fraud and Increase Enterprise Security

A growing gap is developing between global organizations' business needs and their ability to tackle new, complex fraud and security threats. Whereas other solutions are looking for discrete “threat events,” an Operational Intelligence system looks at events in aggregate, discerns behavioral patterns and then identifies what might constitute a threat. The result is a more sophisticated, responsive and robust layer of protection against both fraud and cyber-attack.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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