Integrated BI solutions can potentially help operators to address some of their most pressing issues, such as:
- Providing customer profitability analysis and end-to-end visibility for new product rollouts
- Providing deep analysis of a customer's information and needs – even in real time, if it's important to the operator – creating greater service value and preventing churn
- Helping operators minimize fraud and revenue leakage by integrating closely with billing, revenue assurance, mediation, etc., platforms
- Helping operators provide real-time customer assistance
- Providing tools for operators to optimize network resources and offload traffic
- Improving customer experience by reducing network outages, allowing operators to keep customers happy with fewer outages and keep opex down by reducing network repairs
- Working closely with BSS platforms to provide a 360-degree view of subscribers and their services
- Providing better forecasting for new product rollouts
Let's look at couple of very popular applications of BI that can provide significant help in meeting operators' goals around opex/capex reduction and churn avoidance.
In the context of fulfillment of NGN services, accurate network capacity planning and trending is becoming critical. On-demand, bandwidth-intensive service requires dynamic, real-time allocation of network resources across the end-to-end network infrastructure. During network infrastructure expansion, the planning organization should be able to carefully target capacity growth to ensure it appropriately addresses current and developing shortfalls.
It helps in justifying the need for a less physical build, which directly helps in capex savings, reducing overhead, and saving time on field service, planning, and project management. Real-time BI solutions can play a central role in accurate, realistic, and proactive network capacity planning and trending capabilities, which will not only enable correct sizing of the future network, but also help service providers reduce capacity shortfalls, minimize order fallout, and increase efficiency by identifying underutilized network resources.
One other important BI use case revolves around the ability to deal with unstructured data. The ability to correlate unstructured responses to questions – as well as analyze call-center interactions and other input sources, such as blogs, forums, email, social networking sites, chat, call center transcripts, and customer feedback forums – helps operators to enrich their understanding of their customers' perception of their services. BI solutions based on various inputs work through pattern recognition, extraction, and various other techniques, adding value to the carrier's BI strategy.
Social network analysis (SNA) is becoming extremely popular among wireless operators. Although many operators are wary of coming out to openly discuss how they are using this technique because of potential backlash over subscriber privacy issues, this remains one of the popular uses of BI. SNA is a type of analytical scoring system that enables service providers to perform CDR, IPDR, etc., analysis to identify social calling circles among friends and families.
Such analysis will have both defensive and offensive implications: From an offensive perspective, this analysis can help operators target or up-sell offers based on customer preferences and what games or applications are popular among the subscriber's circle of trust. From a defensive perspective, SNA allows operators to identify calling patterns and the influencer in a specific social group, and develop algorithms to help them calculate how that influencer churning would affect the rest of the social circle.
They next step for operators is to determine which customers they actively want to keep, and hence execute compelling marketing campaigns and offers to communicate with and deter potential churners. The churn event for the rest of the social circle typically occurs within four to seven days after an influencer leaves for another provider, so time is of the essence when providing retention offers or general communications to potential churners.
SNA certainly raises important questions regarding whether it borders on an invasion of subscribers' privacy. Without trying to get into that debate, it should suffice to say that we always knew Big Brother was watching!
— Ari Banerjee, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading