Using the ROC to re-shape industry big-data usefulness

Recently I have watched several vendors in our markets talk about Big Data, and the technologies they are supporting to manage that data. What I’m trying to understand in all these announcements, however, is “what does that mean for me, the user?” … or put more directly, “so what?”
There are great numbers out there. With all the buzz about Exadata and Hadoop being made in the market, operators have reason to take notice of what’s being achieved: 1 billion loaded records per hour; 10x-13x storage savings; 70% decreases in DB license costs… Subex is also seeing similar fantastic numbers, and in many cases we are now benchmarking 40x faster performance that these other vendors’ results. Subex has supported Exadata for some time, is seeing significantly stronger results using Vertica, and will be supporting Hadoop in the coming months (including the Hadoop + Vertica hybrid, which is proving to be the best performing architecture anywhere in the industry). But still the question remains: So what?
Vendors in our market have continued to allude to the ability to process data faster and save costs. But what else can this increased data power do for you? That should be the question being asked and answered. For this, Subex has strategically employed these new data processing advantages right in the heart of the ROC suite – which now enables our operator customers to not only see those “default” benefits of faster processing (decreased hardware, decreased costs, etc.), but to also extend their business intelligence into other critical business areas (in many cases, real time), including:
– Customer Experience and propensities to Churn
– Enterprise Margin analytics
– Aggressive network and service Time to Exhaustion analytics
– Service impact “what if” propensities and analysis
– Distributed fraud support in wholesale parent/child enterprise relationships
– Deep packet inspection and response for IP fraud detection and cost management
– Immediate wholesale cost/benefit analysis with carrier trading
– Analytics insights into root causes underlying specific issues in costs and revenues
– Preventative security insights to plug loss exposure before it happens
– Predictive product analytics to understand the internal impact of a product offer
– Etc.
These are but some of the areas operators should be looking for answers from within that new data processing capability…not just faster dashboard updates for current processing. Big Data remains useless if you can’t process new insights and intelligence from within its unstructured foundation. By positioning all relevant new performance technology advances into the heart of the ROC suite, every Subex application will benefit from the improved performance, while be positioned to share that data across other ROC solutions in the suite. This strategic approach will ultimately enable operators to model and extract far more critical intelligence for all the questions above, and more!

The Capex Snorkel Effect

I just read through an interesting, somewhat validating article from Alex Leslie of Billing Views, talking about operator revenues and margins.  In a nutshell, revenue and ARPU are down across virtually every major operator in Europe, according to their own annual reports, and almost all were down by double digits!

I can’t help but believe that this is true in other regions as well, and the problem continues to be growing year on year.  Are we surprised?  When I moved my family to a new mobile operator, leaving another after 9 years, we leapt into the 4G world with all new handsets, 10x the speed, 10x the data, unlimited everything else, and our price went down.  Only 6 months later they lowered my plan price yet again, as part of a national retention promotion.  So why should dropping revenues and shrinking margins surprise anyone?

The fact is they don’t surprise anyone, but they do worry CFOs and Boards, as shrinking (and in some blog-bottleneck-graphcases, negative) margins are the final result of the trend.

The trend has to stop at some point…through mergers, spectrum purchases, policy controls, or even government intervention…it has to stop.  But how far will it go beforehand, and how does an operator stay strong in the face of an industry trend that seems (for the moment) unstoppable?

The answer may be more straight-forward then you think:  Focus on Capex maximization.  Period.  However this doesn’t mean slash budgets – although that is the current tactic in play across the industry.  What it does mean, however, is sweat the maximum efficiency out of your purchases that you can.  Why can programs like Subex Asset Assurance find tens, and now hundreds of millions of dollars in asset recapture opportunities across an operator’s business?  While there are many answers to that question, the fact remains that we are finding massive sums of Capex that operators can recycle right back to the top line.

Therefore the formula remains, quite possibly, this simple:  Maximizing Capex allows operators to build and transform their networks more completely, quickly, and efficiently, which puts them in a market strength position.  Think of it as having a longer snorkel than your competitors as financial crisis waters are rising…

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