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Category Archives: Analytics

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.

Sandeep is responsible for Product Marketing of Subex’s Analytics portfolio. In addition to this role, he also looks after Public Relations and Analyst Relations for the company. He comes in with 9 years’ experience in the Marketing domain.

Actionable predictive analytics: overcoming the analysis paralysis

Why standard forecasting analytics models fail to deliver in today’s world of complex digital networks and why telcos need a domain-specific analytics solution.

“Your analytical dashboards and visualizations look good, but I prefer actionable reports and insights”, said the deputy CEO of a Southeast Asia-based telecom service provider during one of our meetings last year. This was not just one odd instance. We have heard this many times in the past year from other CSP executives. There are many domain-agnostic AI/ML based analytics solution providers in the market, but what telcos really want is an analytical solution which provides end-to-end domain-specific actionable insights. Forecasting traffic or pointing out anomalies is one thing, but how to incorporate those recommendations into capacity planning? What is the root-cause for that anomaly so that it could be prevented in future? Instead of getting lost in analysis paralysis amidst thousands of fancy statistical metrics; a simpler, actionable and reliable predictive analytics solution is the need of the hour.

With the right mix of domain knowledge and analytics advantage, centered around the actual requirements of the network planners; Subex has come up with the concept of actionable predictive analytics. Network planners should be enabled for efficient, reliable and cost-effective capacity planning. Hence, here the focus is more on what matters to the telco network teams, i.e. the business values such as capex optimization, network performance improvement, customer experience enhancement and operational efficiency; rather than on underlying analytical components such as configured models or feature engineering.

Here are two of the most important aspects about Subex’s approach to predictive analytics which are different from the traditional forecasting models –

Multi-variate analysis

Unlike the traditional forecasting systems which predict the future trends for a metric based on the historical pattern of that given metric, in multivariate approach, the system understands the lagging or leading effect on the given KPI from other KPIs. With this, the telco can predict, in near real-time, what is going to happen in the future and adopt appropriate measures to prevent capacity issues. A multi-variate, self-learning forecasting model which runs on the in-house machine learning platform is complemented by domain-specific configurations and expertise which is equally essential for intelligent forecasting.

The figures below compare a multivariate model scenario that considers the lagging effect of KPI1 (e.g. customer complaints) on KPI2 (e.g. capacity utilization) with that of a traditional model that does not give such insights. In the first case, the operator does not get accurate results as yielded in the second case because there is a direct relation between traffic and customer complaints. For example, if there was an aberrant increase in traffic, the operator can take that fact into consideration for accurate prediction of future customer complaints.

One more use-case could be accurately predicting the time to capacity exhaust for a site if one of the neighboring sites is planned for decommissioning soon. In this case, with the help of geo-spatial analytics, the additional load on the given site due to decommissioning of the neighboring site would also be considered for calculating time to capacity exhaust.

capacity exhaust

Domain Specific Insights

Be it wireless or hybrid fiber-coaxial networks, even an accurate capacity forecast is incomplete without the required domain-specific insights. Without a proper root cause analysis for a network element exhausting soon (in terms of capacity), the network planners won’t be able to make the right decision about its proactive mitigation.

These are some questions to consider when developing your network augment action plan:

  • How many customers will be impacted when a given network element hits a capacity exhaustion threshold?
  • Will prioritizing the given candidate for capacity augment above other options result in the best customer experience improvement and maximized ROI?
  • What is the reason for this capacity exhaust? Is it because of seasonality, periodicity or cyclicity? Is it an anomaly due to some one-off event?
  • Will new Capex be required to address the capacity bottleneck, or are there alternatives to new spending?

Some of the insights that could be useful for the planners leveraging predictive analytics for capacity planning and management are shown below –

capacity planning

Predictive Analytics

Apart from the above two key differentiators, some other important aspects for a pragmatic, accurate and reliable predictive analytics solution are scalability and flexibility.

Multi-variate forecast models need to run thousands of simulations across the network to identify the correct correlated metrics for accurate predictions.  Such models need to be configurable, flexible and easy-to-understand for non-data scientists.

Anshul is an Associate Product Manager in the Network Analytics team at Subex. An IIT alumnus, Anshul has more than 4 years of work experience which includes working with two of the largest telecom operators around the world – Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Reliance Jio – across various markets within India. His stints at Airtel and Jio included Network Planning & Operations, Customer Experience Enhancement, Algorithms and Analytics for Network Performance Optimization & Automation. Anshul has two patents in the field of coverage & capacity optimization in LTE radio networks on his name.

Are Traditional Data Warehouse Challenges Affecting Your Business?

With data emerging as the new currency for businesses, data warehousing demands a new approach in dealing with the challenges. As Gartner puts it, poor data warehousing practices “undermine the organization’s digital initiatives, weaken their competitive standing and sow customer distrust.” Telecom operators are among the most affected by data warehousing challenges as they handle billions of customer data generated from multiple sources like files and probes (SS7, SIP, SIGTRAN), as well as the massive volume of data streamed from social media platforms.

As the volume, velocity, variety, and veracity of data generated continue to grow; the traditional data warehouse approach flounders while managing and analyzing the data. With conventional data warehouse analytics offerings, answering even seemingly simple questions such as “Who are my ten best customers?” could take up to 5-10 days. Even after the team figures out the right criteria, compiling and analyzing the data could again be a time-consuming process. As the questions grow complex, the burden only grows further.

While in-memory databases have helped alleviate the problem to some extent by providing better performance but with rigid data models, it makes data analytics workloads more and more compute-bound. Even it is well understood that traditional data warehouse approaches have become arduous due to the IT dependency and upfront data modeling. As a result, the time to value grows longer, and the outcome materializes only when the business can start to use the reports and insights provided by the data warehouse. Since this approach is rigid, it may also call for data modeling changes, which will further delay the process execution.

Working with data always carried an inherent risk that false or incomplete data could lead to uninformed or even misinformed decisions. Telcos have a winning edge as they are the custodian of largest repository of customer data in the world. Therefore, businesses can no longer ignore these challenges as new business opportunities are emerging around data usage. Look at the sheer size of the data generated during a typical business day, an operator serving 80 million mobile subscribers generates around 20 billion Detail Records (xCDRs) daily.

Worldwide several Telcos have identified opportunities around data monetization – both internal and external. The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has largely contributed to this upswing. Telcos’ growing engagement with content providers, IoT companies, VAS companies and others prove they are striking it right. At this juncture, it becomes crucial for telecom companies to revise their data strategy around modern big data analytics tools.

Working with poor-quality data can also bring damage to the existing business, especially concerning customer value. As you know, customer preferences are evolving, so ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty mostly relies on how quickly you address their issues. Big data and real-time analytics gain relevance in this context.

Hence, a robust big data platform is no more a luxury but a business imperative! Stay tuned to know more about Subex’s approach in handling the complexities around a traditional DWH and data quality issues.

For more information on how Subex is helping Telcos address gaps in their analytics approach through an end-to-end framework, attend a webinar we are hosting with Telecoms.com entitled, Bridging the Analytics ‘Trust Gap’ Within Telcos.

Register yourself here: http://bit.ly/2NzFXJF

Varune Virendra Gupta

Varune has 9+ years of experience in the Telecom and the IT industry, which includes working with IBM, TCS and NEC.
Currently, he is working as a Director in the Business Consulting group for the Emerging Markets.

The Trifecta Effect for Telco Analytics –Anomaly Detection

Subex recently participated in the Monetising Big Data in Telecoms World Summit 2018, Singapore, where we demonstrated our expertise of 25+ years in the Telecom domain handling data at a massive scale. We did this by presenting on the topic: The Trifecta Effect for Telco Analytics –Anomaly Detection

To take a step back, Subex has partnered with 250+ telcos across 100 countries. We have been handling big data and have an understanding of the business of telcos working in different contexts, demographics and geographies, and at different stages of their growth. We have been leveraging analytics for 10+ years in the assurance portfolio, and have made a foray into analytics across all domains in the telecom sector. While starting on this journey, we did a survey across many operators and what came out was unexpected albeit not exactly surprising, based on our experience.

We saw that, while the telecom domain today is at the forefront of innovation, the industry can be considered as a relative laggard in adopting analytics, when compared with other industries. Around 60-70% of the executives still lack relevant data for decision making. To top it all, where analytics is being used, around 60% of the organizations are still not very confident about their analytics insights.

Based on our market research and after multiple interviews we believe that the reason for these above problems can be classified along the following categories:

  1. Poor ROI
  2. Multiple and Complex Dashboards
  3. Long Development Cycles
  4. Data quality issues
  5. Short Supply of Data Scientists
  6. Lack of Agility

To cater to these problems, we at Subex have designed a way to address these issues. Our solution, ROC Insights stands on three pillars which we call the Trifecta of Analytics: Agility, Cost & Consumption. Subex does this by

  • Delivering insights in less than 8 weeks
  • Following a pure OPEX model which takes care of the cost
  • Most importantly ROC Insights simplifies consumption of analytics insights tremendously through the use of storyboards

At the Monetising Big Data in Telecoms World Summit 2018, we explain how the Trifecta can be leveraged by using a simple example of Anomaly Analytics. For a telecom, with massive volumes of data, it is more difficult to detect anomalies in data than finding a needle in a haystack. In case of the latter we know that we are looking for a needle. In this case, we don’t even know what exactly one is looking for. However, it is extremely important for a telco to manage anomalies to mitigate risk and to prevent missing out on opportunities.

There is a very fine line between the definition of an anomaly and outlier. Rather the distinction is rather fuzzy as anomalies and outliers are intersecting but certainly not subsets. Take for instance, a queen bee in a bee hive. She is an outlier but not an anomaly. Anomalies usually remain undetected. They are unknown problems with unknown solutions. Our work detects, curates and qualifies these problems to move it from the unknown-unknown realm to the known-known realm by breaking it into parts, analyzing them using various ML/DL algorithms and as well doing causal analysis to find the root factors.

We talk of two examples where we work with Telcos to solve their anomaly problems using advanced analytics. In the first case, our solution of anomaly detection required modification as the client was based out of East Africa with pockets of high population density in vast open areas. We developed anomaly for cell sites using algorithms such as time series, manifold learning, LSTM etc. We did anomaly detection for different KPIs such as call duration, data and customer latching. This was further qualified along the dimensions of 2G/3G/4G, on-net/offnet and so on. Anomaly analysis generally suffers from the problem of ‘too many’ and difficulty in prioritization. Our solution gives revenue numbers to the anomaly and prioritizes them. Most importantly it looks also at the long term business impact of high value customers, churn etc. and also considers the factors whether load balancing is done by nearby cell sites and the customers were really impacted or not.

Our second use case was regarding our work for a client based out of N. America. They were having difficulty in detecting lost handset on time. This was causing them huge monetary loses. With the help of algorithms like probabilistic graphical model, Markov chain etc. we created algorithm to detect whether a handset was stolen or not. Our algorithm helped in improving the client’s solution 9 times in detecting the algorithm. As well in 80% of the cases, the instances were detected within 24 hours, thereby improving the customer’s bottom line.

All in all, the presentation provided for a good opportunity for attendees to understand how Subex is working with big data, and how ROC Insights can help telcos by pinpointing upon a very specific problem. At large, we enjoyed presenting at the event and meeting with telcos from across the APAC region. Hope to see you there next year!

Dr. Sumit Singh is Senior Data Scientist at Subex Digital LLP. He has a PhD in Decision Science and is a Machine Learning researcher, practitioner and educator with over 10 years’ experience in academia and the industry. At Subex, he is responsible for statistical modelling and algorithm design for business requirements. As well he is involved in doing research activities to implement new ideas into telecom domain. His areas of interests are – Reinforcement Learning, Optimization and Stochastic Modeling. He can be reached at sumith.singh@subex.com

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!

Sandeep is responsible for Product Marketing of Subex’s Analytics portfolio. In addition to this role, he also looks after Public Relations and Analyst Relations for the company. He comes in with 9 years’ experience in the Marketing domain.

The holistic approach to securing IoT Ecosystems

With the convergence of the physical and digital world, IoT ecosystem is becoming more pervasive and smart. With its “connected” nature, the concept of securing the IoT ecosystem has taken precedence and has today become a necessity. It is no longer a question of “IF” IoT networks will get hacked, It’s “WHEN.”  Organizations should be concerned about what should be done “WHEN” the ecosystem is compromised.

The blog discusses the various risks the IoT boom poses, and the approached organizations need to adopt to safeguard themselves.

Read More

Note: Published with permission from Liveworx

As a digital service provider, your adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) services presents opportunities as well as challenges. The upside: IoT opens new revenue streams by providing always-connected services to digital subscribers. The downside: IoT exposes subscribers to identity theft and security breaches. Subex provides holistic cyber security to ensure that enterprises are safe from unauthorized access and intrusion across their network.Subex Secure offers comprehensive IoT security coverage from real-time discovery and monitoring to response and recovery. Our solution leverages a one-of-its-kind honeypot network that combines physical devices and device emulations to generate IoT / ICS signatures. Our system evaluates global identity and device breaches and updates the Subex Secure signature repository to safeguard your enterprise from new and emerging IoT threats.

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.

Pero retrocedamos un momento.
El mundo de las telecomunicaciones, tal como lo conocemos, está evolucionando y, con él, el rol de los Directores Financieros también está experimentando un cambio drástico. Su papel ya no se limita a centrarse únicamente en el desempeño pasado, en los números y en la información financiera, sino que el mandato parece casi universalmente superado, y el Director Financiero necesita también proporcionar información sobre hacia dónde está yendo el negocio y cuán rápido lo está haciendo.
La participación de los Directores Financieros en la estrategia corporativa también se ha convertido en una parte integral del trabajo, ya que ahora tienen la capacidad y el mandato de contribuir directamente con la dirección del negocio, así como revisar e informar sobre su rendimiento. Todo esto significa que los Directores Financieros de hoy deben ser más estratégicos y necesitan asegurarse de que haya una mayor alineación con los imperativos estratégicos del negocio, y este requisito coloca al Director Financiero en el punto focal no solo para la presentación de informes financieros, sino también para los reportes gerenciales, además de mantener una hoja de balance sólida y saludable.
Pero, como sabemos, la naturaleza dinámica del entorno de las telecomunicaciones plantea múltiples obstáculos al Director Financiero moderno, que incluye -aunque no se limita- a lo siguiente:

_ Los CFO hoy en día deben asegurarse de que son capaces de aumentar el margen y el rendimiento de las ganancias.
Es un hecho bien conocido que los ARPUs han estado disminuyendo constantemente en todas las regiones del mundo y, junto con el lento crecimiento de los ingresos, está llevando a una erosión constante de los márgenes desde 2010 en la mayoría de las regiones. En medio de estos desafíos, el mandato de los Directores Financieros de aumentar los márgenes y el rendimiento de las ganancias es cada vez más crítico y difícil.

_Los intentos organizativos de aumentar los ingresos se están desinflando por errores y fugas.
Abordar las Fugas de Ingresos es una preocupación importante para los operadores de telecomunicaciones, y se está convirtiendo rápidamente en un mandato para los Directores Financieros, considerando que actualmente la mayoría de los equipos de RA reportan a ellos. Teniendo en cuenta que las Fugas de Ingresos tienen un impacto directo en el crecimiento de los ingresos, el rol del Director Financiero consiste ahora en tomar una postura proactiva en el tratamiento de cualquier error o pérdida.

_Evaluar los riesgos y desarrollar medidas para prevenir las violaciones de seguridad.
Al igual que las Fugas de Ingresos, las violaciones de seguridad y el fraude de telecomunicaciones pueden costarle mucho a los operadores, y es un obstáculo para asegurar que los Directores Financieros mantengan un balance sólido. $ 38.1 billones (USD) fueron perdidos por fraude en 2015 y, aunque el número está disminuyendo, las Telcos siguen sintiendo el impacto de perder dinero por fraude, y la tarea de resolver esto recae en el Director Financiero.

_Aumentar los Gastos de Capital durante un período de disminución de ingresos.
Una reciente encuesta realizada por TMForum, dirigida por Subex, reveló las siguientes conclusiones:
– 1 de cada 3 operadores no mide los rendimientos de la inversión en CAPEX.
– 77% de los encuestados considera que la utilización inadecuada de los activos lleva a un aumento de los costos.
– El 55% de los encuestados cree que la planificación de red se basa en suposiciones.
– El 64% cree que la planificación de capex está impulsada por la tecnología y no por los objetivos del negocio.
Por otra parte, los ingresos globales de CSP disminuyeron un 5,3% para el año terminado en marzo de 2016, mientras que el gas Responder a la volatilidad y velocidad de cambio
Las señales indican que los ingresos de los servicios tradicionales se estabilizarán en los próximos 10 años. De hecho, algunos analistas anticipan que los ingresos de los servicios de comunicaciones tradicionales se reducirán en un 50% respecto de los niveles actuales en 2025. Esto significa que los CSP deben adoptar la revolución digital y ya no pueden seguir siendo tontos sino que deben ser vistos como tubos inteligentes Al ofrecer servicios digitales y ser vistos como DSPs o incluso LSPs (Lifestyle Service Providers)to de capital aumentó, elevando los gastos de capital (capex/ingresos) a 19,8% para el año.

_Aumento de la competencia, incluso de los jugadores OTT.
Según Ovum, se espera que cueste a las Telcos un total combinado de $386 billones entre 2012 y 2018.

_Responder a la volatilidad y velocidad de cambio.
Las señales indican que los ingresos de los servicios tradicionales se estabilizarán en los próximos 10 años. De hecho, algunos analistas anticipan que, para 2025, los ingresos de los servicios de comunicaciones tradicionales se reducirán en un 50% respecto de los niveles actuales. Esto significa que los CSPs deben abrazar la revolución digital, y ya no pueden permanecer como conductos bobos, sino que deben ser vistos como tubos inteligentes que ofrezcan servicios digitales, y ser vistos como DSPs o incluso como LSPs (Lifestyle Service Pviders).
¡Y los retos no terminan ahí! Hoy en día, los Directores Financieros necesitan dedicar más tiempo y esfuerzo a gestionar el futuro en lugar de residir en el pasado y, por lo tanto, necesitan analizar aún más los datos analíticos para conectar los puntos y predecir el futuro. Para su ventaja, los Directores Financieros de telecomunicaciones poseen cantidades de datos sin precedentes, de múltiples fuentes, incluyendo datos de clientes y datos de red, y pueden aprovechar estos datos a través del poder de las analíticas de telecomunicaciones.
Si se aprovecha de la manera correcta, mediante la aplicación de analítica avanzada, los Directores Financieros de telecomunicaciones serán capaces de abordar los desafíos que enfrentan y lograr resultados empresariales que se alineen con su agenda, a través de la generación de conocimientos de telecomunicaciones accionables. Los Directores Financieros podrán tener una visión de 360 grados de su contexto de negocios e identificar e incluso predecir proactivamente los problemas, oportunidades y amenazas, y les ayudará a abordarlos antes de las auditorías internas. Por estas razones, ahora se ha convertido en el mandato del Director Financiero conducir analíticas para la toma de decisiones tanto estratégica como operativa.
Mediante la generación de Conocimiento de Telecomunicaciones, una Solución de Analítica Avanzada puede ayudar a los Directores Financieros a satisfacer las crecientes expectativas que se les imponen en los cambios en sus roles, permitiéndoles:
_Proactivamente predecir y dirigir recursos para contrarrestar los riesgos y aprovechar las oportunidades.
_Reducir la incertidumbre al prever los cambios disruptivos, y responder y adaptarse para crear oportunidades de crecimiento.
_Predecir Fugas de Ingresos y Fraudes para enfrentar los riesgos de manera proactiva.
_Predecir las redundancias y reasignar los presupuestos para reducir y controlar los costos.
_Aumentar el impacto de las decisiones de precios y promociones mediante la optimización.
La solución Analítica Avanzada de Telecomunicaciones tiene el alcance de ayudar a los Directores Financieros de los operadores de telecomunicaciones a cumplir los objetivos de negocio de manera drástica, e incluso hemos visto o, mejor dicho, ayudado a un CSP de Nivel 1, basado en Norteamérica, a ahorrar costos, simplemente ayudándoles a resolver disputas. A través de la generación de conocimientos de telecomunicaciones, la asociación ayudó al CSP a mejorar su ratio de predecir y resolver disputas a 9x, lo que a su vez les ayudó a ahorrar hasta unos millones de dólares. Este es el poder de la solución Analítica Avanzada de Telecomunicaciones.
Para obtener más información sobre cómo los Directores Financieros pueden aprovechar las analíticas de telecomunicaciones para maximizar los ingresos y mitigar los riesgos, vea la grabación del webinar “No te quedes atrás: una guía de Directores Financieros para aprovechar las analíticas avanzadas”, el 16 de febrero.

Senior Engineering and Analytics leader with experience in building passionate engineering and analytics teams, driving product and solution innovation, transforming engineering processes and developing leadership talent.
Currently as Head of Analytics Services, responsible for Business development, Analytics solution development and to build an excellent Data Science team.

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] http://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/

Senior Engineering and Analytics leader with experience in building passionate engineering and analytics teams, driving product and solution innovation, transforming engineering processes and developing leadership talent.
Currently as Head of Analytics Services, responsible for Business development, Analytics solution development and to build an excellent Data Science team.

Customer Analytics: Data Breaches and Consumer Trust

In this (possibly) final blog of this series I will be looking at how customers are becoming increasingly concerned at companies’ inability to keep their data safe, and how high publicity data breaches are eroding public confidence.

I previously wrote how it was possible to know where someone stood on issues of internet security just by checking their birth date. Those born after 1980, the so called Generation Y, or Millennials, are generally more comfortable sharing information online.   But things are gradually changing. In a 2014 survey by eMarketer it was found that Generation Y and Z were also becoming significantly more concerned about how well companies protected their personal data.

This concern can have a major impact on a company’s profits, as a recent report by the Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study (in conjunction with IBM) showed:-

Lost business has, potentially, the most severe financial consequences for an organization. The cost increased from a total average cost of $1.33 million last year to $1.57 million in 2015. This cost component includes the abnormal turnover of customers, increased customer acquisition activities, reputation losses and diminished goodwill. The growing awareness of identity theft and consumers’ concerns about the security of their personal data following a breach has contributed to the increase in lost business

By studying many data breaches across many industries, Ponemon have developed an approach whereby they can attach cost per record lost in order to estimate the cost of data breaches. What they have found is that, not only are data breaches becoming more common, but they are also becoming more costly.

The average cost paid for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information increased 6 percent, jumping from $145 in 2014 to $154 in 2015.

2015 was perhaps the worst year so far for data breaches. NetworkWorld’s Top-10 data breaches of 2015 reported that many firms became the victim of very public data breaches including

  • Children’s toy companies (vTech)
  • Phone companies (T-Mobile, TalkTalk)
  • Healthcare firms (Premera, Anthem)
  • Dating agencies (Ashley Madison)
  • Government departments (IRS)
  • Security consultancies (Hacking Team)

+ Many more.

The trend does not look good, with the number of breaches predicted to increase in both size and cost for the foreseeable future.

Consumers are now realising that many companies are not vigilant enough in protecting their data, but just as bad, that customer data is being used in ways that are inappropriate and may adversely affect the consumer.

In a poll conducted by leading consultancy Radius Global 78% of internet users said they only purchased from companies they trusted.

The message is clear. If companies are to use customer’s data to provide a better service then they must do everything in their power to ensure the security of their systems and the responsible use of customer data, or run the risk of facing big fines and a catastrophic loss of consumer trust.

Big data and advanced analytics are forcing governments to bring in new regulations to ensure that companies use customer data responsibly, but it’s in every companies interest to ensure that the bond of trust is not broken.

Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years as a BI and Analytics consultant, and more recently as ROC Product Manager for Subex Ltd. He has designed and deployed solutions for global companies in many sectors including Insurance, utilities and telecommunications. Mark holds a BSc Hons in Computer Science from Manchester University (UK).

Customer Analytics: Securing our Future

In the previous blog in this series I looked at how the use of persona, and creating customer journey maps for those persona, can give new insights on how to engage customers. By collecting customer data and tracking user interactions across all touchpoints, it’s possible to not only create an revealing profile of a customer’s interests and behaviour, but also better understand if the products and marketing are addressing customer’s wants and needs.

Technology is now rapidly opening up new sources of customer data including everything from health and well-being apps to our children’s activity online. Soon our heating systems, cars, refrigerators and every other connected appliance that’s about to hit the shelves will be churning out a stream of data back to the marketing departments of big corporations. The effective use of this big data undoubtedly has great potential to improve our lives, but there is also an increased risk that the individual’s privacy could be compromised, or the data could also be used to discriminate against an individual unfairly. In a recent case in the UK vulnerable customers were advised to buy energy on tariffs that were far higher than others available.   The same is true of insurance and medical care, and many cases exist where it’s been found that corporations are exploiting data to prey on the vulnerable. Add to this the substantial risks of identity theft and fraud as a consequence of data breaches, and consumers could be forgiven for feeling anxious about how well their data is being protected, and how it’s being used.

In an effort to stop corporations from exploiting big data negatively and better protect consumers the European Union has raised the bar on data protection by drafting the the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This new set of rules will apply not only to countries within the EU, but also to companies operating outside the EU, if they have networks or trade data with partners within the EU. Enforcement is expected to start in the spring of 2018.

The European commission’s website states that:

The objective of this new set of rules is to give citizens back control over of their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for business.

Furthermore, as reported by consultancy group itgovernance,

The Regulation will enforce tough penalties – proposed fines up to 4% of annual global revenue or €20million, whichever is greater

For a large multinational the fines could get very substantial and significantly impact on share prices.

The GDPR sets out 8 Data Protection Principles that must be followed. The ICO, UK’s independent Information Commission, has provided clarification of how these principles need to be applied. For example, Principle 1 refers to Processing personal data fairly and lawfully. As described on their website,

In practice means that you must:

  • have legitimate grounds for collecting and using the personal data;
  • not use the data in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned;
  • be transparent about how you intend to use the data, and give individuals appropriate privacy notices when collecting their personal data;
  • handle people’s personal data only in ways they would reasonably expect; and
  • make sure you do not do anything unlawful with the data

Perhaps one of the key new areas is in the use of big data and analytics for customer profiling. This is covered under Principle 6 of the GDPR under the somewhat obtuse description of ‘automated decision making’. ComputerWeekly have produced a number of documents and guides to help businesses to understand how the GDPR will affect them. In one of their latest blogs they explain

The regulation introduces a number of restrictions on profiling, including the right for an individual not to be subject to a decision which significantly affects the individual and which is based on automated profiling. In many cases, profiling will only be permitted where the explicit consent of the individual has been obtained. 

The implications for targeted marketing are unclear, but potentially significant, as it makes companies accountable for ensuring that customers

  1. Are made fully aware of exactly how their data will be used
  2. Explicitly agree to the way in which the data will be used
  3. Do not suffer any negative consequences from the use of their data.

As ComputerWeekly reports

These restrictions are likely to have a considerable impact on businesses engaging in, for example, big data analytics, as well as more general business activities, such as credit scoring and employee monitoring

In an article by the International Association of Privacy Professionals , they add that data subjects (customers)

…may also request to know the purposes of processing, the period of time for which data will be stored, the identity of any recipients of the data, the logic of automatic data processing, and the consequences of any profiling.

Corporations are now in real danger of drifting into a situation in which they are in breach of the new regulations, face substantial fines and seriously damage customer relations.

In the final blog of this series I will be looking at how customers are becoming increasingly concerned at the inability of corporations to keep their data safe, and how high publicity data breaches are eroding public confidence.

Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years as a BI and Analytics consultant, and more recently as ROC Product Manager for Subex Ltd. He has designed and deployed solutions for global companies in many sectors including Insurance, utilities and telecommunications. Mark holds a BSc Hons in Computer Science from Manchester University (UK).

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