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April 12, 2012

Making the Big Data, Telco Connection

Robert Gelber

The success of the telco industry has always been tied to making rapid, actionable use out of user data. However, the real-time angle to big analytics platforms and applications as well as and the host of complex new alternatives to making use of data is shaking up an industry that’s used to big changes.

In a recent Sybase-sponsored whitepaper, “Addressing Big Data Telecom Requirements for Real-Time Analytics” Ari Banerjee stated that many telcos are inundated with an “explosion of data traffic in their network.

The problem is not the data itself, it’s that most of this data and usage traffic are not correlated in a manner that can be utilized by service providers to provide customer profitability analysis, end-to-end visibility for new product rollouts and real-time analysis that can improve the customer experience and enhance customer loyalty.”

All of Banerjee’s points—coupled with questions about what the tools are to fit these needs—were on the table at this year’s Mobile World Congress, an annual event for telco industry leaders and the robust vendor ecosystem that backs an increasingly mobile, real-time needs-driven society.

Some of these issues were addressed by IDC analyst Deb Olsson, who agreed that this historically data-laden industry has plenty of information, and while it’s not that they don’t know what to do with it—there is more of a sense of “where to start.”

Olsson says that the first step for telcos is to start building infrastructure today with the right applications, that way they’ll have the information going forward to better capitalize on these investments.

When it comes to big data, telcos and the range of new technologies (not the least of which are in-memory platforms and next-generation analytics) Olsson says that appliances are a key trend to watch.

As she stated, “Companies like SAP and others have great appliances with embedded analytics that are actually sitting in the network. They’re capturing that data and event transaction in real time, which is obviously paramount of importance and also one of the best ways to capitalize on it is in real time.”

She offered a note to big data analytics vendors who are keen to step into the telco market. As she told SAP, “it’s all about real-time and not being able to not so much react, but almost be proactive if possible with things that are relevant. Compelling offerings, relevant attractive pricing, all of these things need to happen much faster than in the past. You no longer have six months to deliberate about getting an offer to market and what the right pricing is.”

While it’s probably no accident that she’s talking to SAP on camera and addressing the company specifically, she does look to solutions offered by SAP (but echoed by a handful of others).

As Olsson states, “Ultimately, especially for a company like SAP, I think, is probably well positioned to understand enterprise and to help the CSPs be more effective, targeting SMBs mid market and even large enterprises for some of their needs along the lines of mobility and what you can do with fleet management, what you can do with RFID and tracking and NFC and taking that information and feeding these into analytics systems. A company like yours with so many industry verticals, I think it’s 24 verticals at SAP, can support. So you know retail, you know retailers, you know what they’re doing.”

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