menu-close
search-icon
banner

All posts by Sandeep Banga

The Analytics Trust Gap. It Is Very Real

So, you are looking to start an Analytics Program within your organisation. You have the tools ready, you have the resources designated for the task, and you have all the required process you need in place to run a robust Analytics program. You expect to see a massive revenue growth within a year; however, after the passage of 365 days, the outcomes are well short of your expectations. At this point, you have a set of questions to ask yourself:

  • Where could I have gone wrong?
  • My organisation has a massive volume of data. Was the quality of my data not up to mark?
  • I had all the tools in place, with Artificial Intelligence automating all the processes. Where did I fall short?
  • I have received data from multiple sources? Is this causing the shortfall?
  • Have I ensured that the data residing in my data lakes are free from breaches and attacks?

All these questions which arise could ultimately lead you to lose faith in your analytics program.

Over the past several years, we have seen how data analytics has evolved from the simple exploratory level to the current predictive level. With Business Intelligence (BI) playing the pivotal role in decision making, organizations are seeking the power of advanced analytics and machine intelligence to attain agility and competitive differentiation. Telcos, which own the most significant share of customer data among all the industries, are in the best position to leverage them to achieve higher levels of maturity. However, a recent KPMG report reveals a paradox that despite the huge investments in data analytics, organizations are not able to build value around it due to lack of trust. According to the report, only 35% of decision-makers have a high level of trust in their own organization’s analytics, and 25% admit that they either have limited trust or active distrust in their analytics. Moreover, only 10% said they excel in managing the quality of data and analytics, and 13% said they excel in the privacy and ethical use of data and analytics

What Causes the Trust Gap?

The above findings come as no surprise considering the growing complexity associated with handling the data originating from disparate sources. Many studies now indicate that the once 4 Vs to describe key aspects of data (Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Velocity) has now grown to 10 (to include Variability, Veracity, Validity, Vulnerability, Volatility, and Visualization).

But besides the growing complexity of data, there are multiple other aspects which are leading to the trust gap, some of which are captured below.

Quality- a top concern

As the data grows more complex, analysis can be challenging. Poor data quality or incompetent analysis can lead to disaster. As Gartner puts it, “As organizations accelerate their digital business efforts, poor data quality is a major contributor to a crisis in information trust and business value, negatively impacting financial performance.”

Working with false or incomplete data could result in uninformed and biased decisions, which could prove harmful to the overall business. Gartner has also estimated that poor data quality can lead to an average of $15 million per year in losses.

Can we trust machines?

In today’s machine-controlled analytics landscape, building trust becomes even more challenging. The advent of artificial intelligence (AI), coupled with the advancements in machine learning (ML), has opened a plethora of opportunities in data analytics. We have seen many horror stories wherein placing complete faith in AI without human intervention has had disastrous consequences.

Integration of disparate data

Considering that organisations do not have a single source of truth when it comes to the data they gather, data integration is another major roadblock, resulting in poor execution and sometimes complete failure of analytics implementation. Organizations which are slow in their transformation journey confront challenges in integrating data of different formats. They lack the skills, training, and tools to build a centralized access and control policy. Historically, the self-service concept is appealing but has often fallen short of expectations due to barriers faced at multiple levels – technology, people, and process.

Security-an everlasting concern

There is no respite from data breaches and misuse. The fact that fraudsters are making headway by exploiting advanced techniques escalates the concerns.  The thin line between the security breach and the reputation of an organization brings the transformation to a halt.

These are but a few reasons to why a trust gap is being created, but they are very real. Should it remain, the trust gap will lead to severe implications in terms of competitive advantage, operational efficiency, and growth. The inability to rise as a data-driven organization means that they also lag mature organizations considering data-driven organisations witness 23x Customer Acquisition, 6x Customer Retention, and 19x Better Profitability (according to McKinsey). And non-data driven companies miss out on all these benefits.

It is clear – The time has now come to bridge the trust gap! The only question that now remains is, how? Stay tuned to our blog for the answer.

AfricaCom 2017: A Subexian View

It is a well-known fact that AfricaCom is one of the most popular and significant events for telecom operators and vendors alike in one of the most fast-paced emerging economies: Africa. The annual event is attended by the top telecom executives from across the world and is attended by Subex every year. I had the privilege of attending the last edition of AfricaCom, and from what I’m told, 2017 was one of AfricaCom’s busiest years: a sentiment which was shared by executives of operators and vendors and even by the Cape Town locals.

While I happened to attend some of the sessions at the newly opened Innovation Stage, my sense was that most of the buzz was happening at the exhibition area, where Subex too was an exhibitor among some of the biggest names in the telecom space. It was clear that Digital Transformation was the central theme of AfricaCom 2017, and was a key discussion point among both vendors and operators.

The theme of Digital Transformation and Digitalisation has been a cornerstone of Subex over the last few years and keeping in line with the concept, Subex showcased its Analytics and Consulting & Managed Services offerings to the delegates besides its renowned flagship products. In my discussion with executives from the top CSPs, it’s clear that analytics is still as popular as ever, and the demand from true analytical services for the telecom domain is hotter than ever.

The need to leverage data was also a hot discussion point for Subex even with industry analysts. As per my discussion with a renowned analyst from Ovum, leveraging analytics in the African market is definitely an area of interest.

Overall, from the excitement in the market for things to come, it’s clear that the African market is increasingly embracing the journey ahead and preparing themselves for the challenges on the horizon. It will be exciting to see how the market evolves over the course of the next year, and this thought makes the next edition of AfricaCom an exciting one.

I am hoping to come back again to experience the next wave of transformation that the industry undertakes and visit the wind of change I experienced at the Cape of Good Hope!

Digitalisation: Mirroring Opportunities with Reality: A Quick Recap of the Subex User Conference 2017

As most of you would probably know, we recently concluded the 14th edition of the User Conference, which took place on the 24th-25th of October 2017, in the beautiful city of Zagreb in Croatia. This year’s User Conference followed the theme ‘‘Digitalisation: Mirroring Opportunities with Reality” and was presided by Mr. Dean Smith, Founder & CEO, Assuring Business and Mr. Carl Lyon, Managing Director, Perpetual Experience Limited. The keynote speakers for this year’s User Conference were Rohit Talwar, Futurist and CEO – Future Research, Dana Adams, Director of Security Services at Telus, Andreas Manolis, Head of Strategy & Risk, Group Revenue Assurance at BT Group, and Professor Paul J. Morrissey C.Eng., F.I.E.E., Global Ambassador of TM Forum. Also speaking at the event was Debra Shindler, Senior Director Revenue Assurance, T-Mobile, Laura Iglesias Febrero, Head of Cyber Security, Telefonica, and User Conference veteran Eric Priezkalns, Steering Committee Member, RAG Forum & Editor, CommsRisk.

To take a step back, in my opinion this year’s run up to the User Conference was just as exciting as the event itself, particularly in the conceptualization of the theme, I.e., Digitalisation: Mirroring Opportunities with Reality. Over the last few years, the terms ‘Digitalisation’ and ‘Digital Transformation’ have been the spotlight topic of discussion among telecom operators and taking these buzzwords from the realm of hype to the shop floor has been priority for telecom executives. And Subex has been playing an important role in this mission. Therefore, we felt that bringing this aspect into our theme will be helpful to our customer, and to us as well.

Through this theme, we were able to move the discourse from merely talking about a trend to actually breaking these terms down to their practical, and operational aspects. Operators today understand that while digital transformation needs to be integrated within their businesses, the challenges that they will have to face need to be braced, and having this within our theme for the User Conference would provide all, including operators, futurists, media and analysts, with an excellent platform to exchange knowledge and discuss about making the hype a reality.

And we feel we were successful in doing so. Moreover, to enforce the importance and our viewpoint around this theme, we also held interesting sessions around Analytics, IoT Security, Managed Services, and Subex’s core products and solutions including fraud management, revenue assurance, network asset management and partner management.

Another important aspect of the User Conference is that we launched our consulting practice at this event completing the most important cog in our wheel to make it a complete technology organization with products and solutions stacks getting complemented with our consulting offering.

Moving back to the event, we also held the next iteration of the Operator Excellence Awards this year, and I would like to take a moment on this platform to highlight the illustrious winners of the various categories of the same.

Innovation Category

The Award was presented to the most innovative initiative that has created a disruption in the market in the given domain.

The operator best embodying these attributes was Reliance Jio, and Subex recognizes Reliance Jio’s industry innovation and disruption by conferring the Operator Excellence award in the “Innovation” category.

Trendsetter of the Year

This Award was given to the operator that has brought in the new approaches to solve industry problem which can be replicated by other operators.

The operator winning this award was “Optus” and Subex recognizes the new trend set by Optus for effective cost management strategy conferring the Operator Excellence award in the “Trendsetter” category.

 

Thought Leadership

The award was given to the operator that has been recognized to be driving industry thought leadership and its futuristic vision.

The operator which successfully highlighted these aspects in the year was “BT” and Subex recognizes the thought leadership showcased by BT in the industry, conferring the Operator Excellence award in the “Thought leadership” category.

 

Most Innovative Partner

The award was given to the partner that brings co-creation and innovation using Subex’s products.

The award for this category was provided to “Signa” and Subex recognizes their efforts of bringing in co-creation and innovation using an open platform over Subex’s products. This innovation and co-creation was indeed the first step towards an open platform which has made the Subex and Signa partnership much stronger.

One important thing which I would like to mention here is that Mr. Sandeep Kumar, India’s ambassador to Croatia graced the cocktail reception that we hosted on the eve of the Subex User Conference. This was a great gesture from Sandeep demonstrating the importance of government and industry working in cohesion for business to flourish.

Have a look at the mash up video of Subex UC 2017 and I am sure you would enjoy that.

Por qué Analíticas es la respuesta para el Director Financiero moderno?

Como bien dijo Gordon Gekko, en la película Wall Street (1987), “La mercancía más valiosa que conozco es la información”. Afortunadamente para las compañías de comunicaciones y sus Directores Financieros, no carecen de esta “mercancía valiosa”, la cual pueden aprovechar mediante analíticas.
Descubre cómo los Directores Financieros pueden aprovechar sus datos mediante analíticas de telecomunicaciones, para tomar mejores decisiones que impulsen el crecimiento y mitiguen los riesgos, viendo la grabación del webinar llamado “No te quedes atrás: una guía de Directores Financieros para aprovechar las analíticas avanzadas”, que tuvo lugar el 14 de diciembre.

But let’s go back a moment.
The world of telecommunications, as we know it, is evolving and, with it, the role of Financial Directors is also undergoing a drastic change. Its role is no longer limited to focusing solely on past performance, numbers and financial information, but the mandate seems almost universally exceeded, and the CFO also needs to provide information on where the business is going and how fast it is doing.
The participation of the Financial Directors in the corporate strategy has also become an integral part of the work, since they now have the capacity and the mandate to contribute directly to the business management, as well as to review and report on their performance. All this means that today’s Financial Directors must be more strategic and need to ensure that they are more aligned with the strategic imperatives of the business, and this requirement places the Financial Director at the focal point not only for the presentation of financial reports, but also also for management reports, in addition to maintaining a solid and healthy balance sheet.
But, as we know, the dynamic nature of the telecommunications environment poses multiple obstacles to the modern CFO, which includes – but is not limited to – the following:

_ CFOs today must ensure that they are able to increase the margin and return on profits.
It is a well-known fact that ARPUs have been steadily declining in all regions of the world and, together with the slow growth of revenues, is leading to a steady erosion of margins since 2010 in most regions. In the midst of these challenges, the Financial Directors’ mandate to increase margins and profit performance is increasingly critical and difficult.

_ Organizational attempts to increase revenue are deflating due to errors and leaks.
Addressing Income Leaks is a major concern for telecommunication operators, and it is fast becoming a mandate for Financial Directors, considering that currently most of the RA teams report to them. Given that Income Leaks have a direct impact on revenue growth, the CFO’s role now is to take a proactive stance in the treatment of any error or loss.

_Evaluate the risks and develop measures to prevent security breaches.
Like revenue leaks, security breaches and telecommunications fraud can cost operators a lot, and is an obstacle to ensuring that CFOs maintain a solid balance sheet. $ 38.1 billion (USD) were lost due to fraud in 2015 and, although the number is decreasing, Telcos continue to feel the impact of losing money due to fraud, and the task of resolving this lies with the Chief Financial Officer.

_Increase Capital Expenditures during a period of decreased income.
A recent survey conducted by TMForum, led by Subex, revealed the following conclusions:
– 1 in 3 operators does not measure the returns on investment in CAPEX.
– 77% of respondents consider that the inappropriate use of assets leads to an increase in costs.
– 55% of respondents believe that network planning is based on assumptions.
– 64% believe that capex planning is driven by technology and not by business objectives.
On the other hand, CSP’s global revenues decreased by 5.3% for the year ended March 2016, while gas responded to volatility and speed of change
The signs indicate that revenues from traditional services will stabilize in the next 10 years. In fact, some analysts anticipate that revenues from traditional communications services will be reduced by 50% from current levels by 2025. This means that CSPs must embrace the digital revolution and can no longer be stupid but must be seen as smart tubes By offering digital services and being seen as DSPs or even LSPs (Lifestyle Service Providers) to capital increased, raising capital expenditures (capex / revenue) to 19.8% for the year.

_Increased competition, even from OTT players.
According to Ovum, it is expected to cost the Telcos a combined total of $ 386 billion between 2012 and 2018.

_Responder to volatility and speed of change.
The signs indicate that revenues from traditional services will stabilize in the next 10 years. In fact, some analysts anticipate that, by 2025, revenues from traditional communications services will be reduced by 50% from current levels. This means that CSPs must embrace the digital revolution, and can no longer remain dumb channels, but should be seen as smart tubes that offer digital services, and be seen as DSPs or even as LSPs (Lifestyle Service Pviders).
And the challenges do not end there! Today, CFOs need to devote more time and effort to managing the future rather than residing in the past and, therefore, need to further analyze the analytical data to connect the dots and predict the future. To their advantage, Telecommunications Financial Managers possess unprecedented amounts of data, from multiple sources, including customer data and network data, and can take advantage of this data through the power of telecommunications analytics.
If taken advantage of in the right way, through the application of advanced analytics, Telecommunications Financial Managers will be able to address the challenges they face and achieve business results that align with their agenda, through the generation of actionable telecommunications knowledge. CFOs can have a 360 degree view of their business context and identify and even proactively predict problems, opportunities and threats, and help them address them before internal audits. For these reasons, it has now become the mandate of the CFO to conduct analytics for both strategic and operational decision making.
Through the generation of Telecommunications Knowledge, an Advanced Analytics Solution can help Financial Managers to meet the growing expectations placed on changes in their roles, enabling them to:
_Proactively predict and direct resources to counteract risks and take advantage of opportunities .
_ Reduce uncertainty by anticipating disruptive changes, and respond and adapt to create growth opportunities.
– Predicting Income and Fraud Leaks to face risks proactively.
_Predending redundancies and reassigning budgets to reduce and control costs.
_Increase the impact of pricing decisions and promotions through optimization.
The Advanced Telecommunications Analytics solution has the scope to help the Financial Directors of telecommunications operators to meet business objectives drastically, and we have even seen or, better said, helped a Level 1 CSP, based in North America. , to save costs, simply by helping them resolve disputes. Through the generation of telecommunication knowledge, the association helped the CSP improve its ratio of predicting and resolving disputes to 9x, which in turn helped them save up to millions of dollars. This is the power of the Advanced Telecommunications Analytics solution.
For more information on how CFOs can take advantage of telecommunication analytics to maximize revenue and mitigate risks, see the webinar’s recording “Do not Stay Back: A Guide for Financial Managers to Take Advantage of Advanced Analytics,” on March 16. February.

Why Analytics is the Answer for the Modern Day CFO?

As Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street (1987), rightly said, “The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” Fortunately for telecom operators and their Chief Financial Officers, they possess no dearth of this ‘valuable commodity’, which they can leverage through telecom analytics

Find out how CFOs can leverage their data through telecom analytics, by gener to make better decisions to drive growth and mitigate risks by viewing the recording of the webinar on ‘Don’t Get Left Behind – a CFO Guide to Leveraging Advanced Analytics’, which took place on December 14th .

But let’s take a step back for a moment.

The telecom world as we know it is evolving, and with it, the role of the CFOs has also been undergoing a drastic change. His role is no longer confined to be solely focused on past performance, on the numbers, and on financial reporting, but the mandate seems almost universally to have been exceeded, with the CFO needing to also provide information about where the business is going and how quickly it is getting there. [1]

The CFOs involvement in corporate strategy has also become an integral part of the job, with CFOs now having the ability and the mandate to contribute directly to the direction of the business as well as reviewing and reporting on its performance1. This all means that today’s CFOs need to be more strategic and need to ensure that there is better alignment with strategic business imperatives and this requirement puts the CFO at the focal point for not just financial reporting but also managerial reporting, along with his core objective of maintain a strong and healthy balance sheet.

But, as we know, the dynamic nature of the telecom environment places multiple hurdles in the face of the modern day CFO, which include, but are not restricted to the following:

  • CFOs today need to ensure that they are able to increase margin and earnings performance
    • It is a well-known fact that ARPUs have been steadily declining in every region of the world, and coupled with slow revenue growth is leading to a steady erosion of margins since 2010 in most regions[2]. In the midst of these challenges, the mandate of CFOs to increase margins and earnings performances in becoming increasingly critical, and difficult.
  • Organisational attempts at growing revenues are being deflated by errors and leakage
    • Addressing Revenue leakages are a major concern for telecom operators[3], and is quickly becoming a CFO mandate considering currently most RA teams ultimately report to the CFO[4]. Considering that revenue leakages have a direct impact on revenue growth, it is now the role of the CFO to take a proactive stance in addressing any errors and leakages.
  • Assessing risks and developing measure to prevent security breaches
    • Like Revenue Leakages, security breaches and telecom fraud can cost operators heavily, and is an obstacle in the way of ensuring CFOs maintain a strong balance sheet. $38.1 Billion (USD) was lost to fraud in 2015, and though the number is decreasing YoY, telcos are still feeling the pinch of losing cash to fraud, and the task to resolve this lies with the CFO.
  • Increasing Capital Expenses during a period of decreasing revenues
    • A recent survey that was conducted by TMForum led by Subex revealed the following findings:
      • 1 in 3 operators do not measure returns on CAPEX investment
      • 77% of the respondents believed that inadequate asset utilization leads to increase in costs
      • 55% of the respondents believed that network planning is based on guesses
      • 64% believed that capex planning is driven by technology and not business objectives

Moreover Global CSP revenues declined by 5.3% for the year ended March 2016, while capex increased, pushing up capital expenses (capex/revenues) to 19.8% for the year.[5]

  • Increasing competition, even from OTT players
    • Which according to Ovum, is expected to cost Telcos a total combined $386 billion between 2012 and 2018
  • Responding to the volatility and velocity of change
    • The signs are that revenues from traditional services will plateau over the next 10 years. Indeed, income from traditional communications services is anticipated by some analysts to decline by 50% from current levels by 2025. This means that CSPs need to embrace the digital revolution, and can no longer remain as dumb pipes but need to be seen as smart pipes by offering digital services and be seen as DSPs or even LSPs (Lifestyle Service Providers)

And the challenges don’t just end there! Today CFOs need to spend more time and effort managing the future rather than dwelling in the past, and hence need to take an even closer look at data analytics to connect the dots and to predict the future. To their advantage, telecom CFOs possess unprecedented quantities of data, from multiple sources including customer data and network data, and can leverage this data through the power of telecom analytics.

If leveraged in the right way, by applying advanced analytics, telecom CFOs will be able to address the challenges they are facing, and achieve business outcomes that align with their agenda, through the generation of actionable telecom insights. CFOs will possess the power to have a 360 degree view of their business context and identify and even predict issues, opportunities and threats proactively, and will help them address them before internal audits. For these reasons, it has now become the mandate of the CFO to drive analytics for both strategic and operational decision-making.

By generating Telecom Insights, an Advanced Analytics Solution can help CFOs to meet the increasing expectations placed on their changing roles by enabling them to:

  • Proactively predict and direct resources to counter risks and leverage opportunities
  • Reduce uncertainty by predicting disruptive changes and respond and adapt to create growth opportunities
  • Predict revenue leakages and fraud to proactively address risks
  • Predict redundancies and reallocate budgets to reduce and control costs
  • Increase impact of pricing and promotion decisions through optimization

Advanced Telecom Analytics has the scope of helping CFOs of telecom operators meet business objectives drastically, and we have even witnessed, or rather helped a Tier 1 CSP, based in North America save costs by purely helping them resolve disputes. Through the generation of telecom insights, the partnership helped the CSP improve their hit ratio of predicting and addressing disputes to 9x, which in turn helped them save up to a few million dollars. Thus is the power of Advanced Telecom Analytics.

To find out more about how CFOs can leverage telecom analytics for revenue maximization and risk mitigation, view the recording of the webinar on ‘Don’t Get Left Behind – a CFO Guide to Leveraging Advanced Analytics’, on December 14th.

[1] https://www.ey.com/gl/en/issues/managing-finance/the-dna-of-the-cfo—perspectives-on-the-evolving-role—the-cfo-s-contribution

[2] https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/news/strategy-analytics-press-releases/strategy-analytics-press-release/2015/01/23/global-trends-for-mobile-operators-show-stagnant-revenues-and-declining-margins#.WD-iJeZ9600

[3] https://www.kpmg.com/Global/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/global-revenue-assurance-survey/Documents/global-revenue-assurance-survey.pdf

[4] https://www.kpmg.com/Global/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/global-revenue-assurance-survey/Documents/global-revenue-assurance-survey.pdf

[5] https://www.ovum.com/research/communications-service-provider-csp-revenue-capex-tracker-1q16/

Get Started with Subex