For all the talk about "big data," in telecom and elsewhere, we haven't heard much about "clean data" -- what it is, what it takes to create, and what it can power.
But as tw telecom inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC) CEO Larissa Herda told me last week, taking the time to create a single "clean" database of customer and network records has enabled her company to move faster than its competition to offer new products and services to its customers and, in the process, drive revenue growth. (See Doing the Dirty Work Pays Off.)
It's hard to imagine a single telecom network today -- other than those run by the very smallest rural carriers -- that isn't in some way a combination of multiple companies, assembled by mergers and acquisitions. In each case, the merged companies each have their own disparate systems and disparate data, all of a different age, quality, and format.
What tw telecom chose to do was take the risk that a brief period of downtime would pay off in the long run, if it was able to create truly clean data in the process. Other companies are making or struggling with that same kind of choice, weighing in the process the near-term pain versus the longer-term advantage.
Some of those companies probably face a different set of challenges to those faced by tw telecom -- maybe they are assimilating older companies, more local exchange records, or very old databases. The cost of creating clean data isn't going to be the same for every player.
But the advantage of having that data at hand in the era of on-demand services, mass personalization and virtualization is clear for every telecom service provider going forward.
Re: Cleaning data i think every network operator makes an effort to clean up their data, but in my experience, they do it incrementally, as needed. Way back in the '90s when the telcos launched DSL, they had to update their data on where their networks had bridged taps and other things that would impair the DSL service -- and they had to determine which customers were close enough to a CO to get the service.
I think similar "data clean-up" efforts have occurred at other times. What tw telecom did was actually bring things to a complete stop to undertake a massive company-wide data clean-up. Granted, they had less to clean than an incumbent telco but it was still a significant effort. That's what's differnet here in my mind.
CenturyLink's Bill Walker is an IT guy, tasked with helping transform a legacy telco. He shared some very practical ideas about how to do that – notes from the trenches, as it were – in this video interview.
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.
During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.
She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.