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.
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders recently visited the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) where Cisco's Tetration application is providing data center analytics, simplifying SDN, helping with cloud migration and overseeing white-list security policy.
A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.