Big data offers telcos new revenue streams

Read time 2min 40sec

Telcos need to find ways to process and analyse large amounts of customer data quickly and in real-time in order to create new revenue streams and engage with customers effectively.

So said Rams Srinivasan, telco industry value engineer at SAP Middle East and North Africa, speaking yesterday at the SAP Forum in Sandton.

According to Srinivasan, telecommunications companies are struggling to break through and engage with their customers because of legacy systems that make it difficult to have a complete view of customers and deliver efficient service across multiple channels.

He explains telcos must adapt in order to attract and retain a new generation of customers who are highly informed, socially connected and very mobile.

Telcos can track conversations on social media to understand what customers are saying about their products and services, and take proactive measures to defend their brand image and reputation in real-time using analytics, said Srinivasan.

Operators are looking for new ways to increase revenues and profits - but few have shown the know-how needed to make the most of new digital channels, said Srinivasan.

According to a Frost & Sullivan report, with an increasingly saturated market, and declining traditional mobile voice and SMS revenues, operators are exploring new business models as part of their growth strategy.

Also, the declining cost of devices is driving the ecosystem to explore new possibilities through connected devices, adds Frost & Sullivan.

By analysing varied and unformatted digital data from digital channels like social media and through mobile phones, telcos can reveal new sources of business economic value and provide fresh insights into customer behaviour, said Srinivasan.

He pointed out operators need a strategy to accurately mine and analyse both structured and unstructured data. This will give them an opportunity to get deeper insights into customer behaviour, their service usage patterns and preferences in real-time.

"To be able to remain relevant and competitive in a world where technology giants like Google, Facebook and Apple are causing disruption, telcos need to engage with the customer in a better way by improving operational efficiency through data analytics."

Today's lifestyle demands continuous connectivity and excellence of service, leading to a highly competitive and diverse market, said Srinivasan. There are more digital connected devices than human beings and the numbers are growing.

Another new source of revenue for telcos is selling insights about customers to third parties, said Sherif Hamoudah, industry head, telecom, at SAP Africa, Middle East and Pakistan.

By leveraging the data stream, telecommunications companies can tailor their marketing campaigns to individual customers using location-based and social networking technologies, he said. Also, big data offers event-based marketing campaigns that use geolocation and social media, allowing differentiated response.

Big data offers telecom operators a real opportunity to gain a much more complete picture of their operations and customers, and to further their innovation efforts, he said.

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