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Getting Smart With Data

9:30 AM -- A new Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) engagement caught our eye today as it involves some big hitters and touches on an area of growing importance to communications service providers (CSPs).

Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is working with Capgemini on its business intelligence (BI) capabilities, consolidating its BI processes and seeking ways to extract more meaningful and actionable information from its raw data. This approach is absolutely vital to all CSPs -- here's why. (See DT Uses Capgemini for BI.)

CSPs need to find new ways to differentiate themselves in the voice, data and content market, provide more targeted services and marketing, increase customer retention and be more operationally efficient. One way to do this is to capitalize on the massive volumes of raw data they have (and which, by the way, many of their Web services rivals don't have) by making sense of the information they hold on the behavior of customers, the popularity of service/application types and the performance of their networks.

Business intelligence specialists can help them do that. And if BI is put to good use, CSPs could provide their customer experience management (CEM), marketing, revenue assurance, product development and network management teams with actionable information that could boost performance, efficiency and, ultimately, sales and earnings. (See Turf Wars Threaten Telco CEM Initiatives, Plugging the Revenue Leaks and Intelligence & Analytics.)

Lots of CSPs have BI systems and practices already, but like so many things (especially in large corporations such as Deutsche Telekom) these systems and practices are very often isolated and replicated, increasing inefficiency and limiting the potential for knowledge sharing.

So what DT is doing makes sense -- it is increasing its chances of making the best use of its masses of data. This is the sort of move, though, we'd expect from one of The Top 20 Bridge Builders. (See Bridging the Chasm: A Manifesto and Mgmt World: DT Bridges the Chasm.)

It's not the only Tier 1 player with BI issues in mind: For example, Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) noted that its recently formed Digital division would, among other things, be responsible for developing "top-flight global competencies in the areas of business intelligence, pricing strategies and management of alliances in the digital environment," while Japan's KDDI Corp. is using BI to identify trends in user communities. (See Telefonica Restructures, Creates New Units, Telefonica Reorganizes and Sending Out an SAS.)

Not surprisingly, Capgemini is chipper about the DT deal. "This is an important step forward with Deutsche Telekom, reinforcing our Business Intelligence and telecoms position," states Vice President Naushad Merchant in an email to Light Reading. "It also accelerates our BI momentum among Tier 1 players globally," he adds. DT is the French firm's first major telecom operator BI customer.

Capgemini has competition in this area, of course, from the likes of Accenture , Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), AsiaInfo Inc. (Nasdaq: ASIA), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP), SAS Institute Inc. , Subex Ltd. and Tech Mahindra Ltd. , amongst others. (See Tech Mahindra, MSFT Team on BI and HKBN Uses Oracle Data Model.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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