This post is by Joachim Seifert from the Nokia Siemens Networks.
It’s not just today’s mobile communications consumers who want everything now. With customer experience management the hottest topic in the industry, operators have the impression they have to know exactly what’s going on in their networks in real-time.
But is real-time data always necessary or cost-effective? After all, the business decisions and network optimizations that are made on the back of data can often take days or even months to work through.
Some of the latest research from Telesperience 2012 asked operators what ‘real-time’ really means for them and their operational support systems (OSS). It turns out that only 4% of OSS processes need to whizz through the system in less than a second, while some 21% take up to 5 seconds. A further quarter can take a minute and a full third move at the relatively leisurely pace of several minutes. Almost one in ten can take several hours. So what’s the ideal speed for timely data?
The real answer is that the right-time depends entirely on the specific business processes and what the aim is. So if the need is to automate processes that can sort out an issue with, say, access to data while roaming, it may well be that the operator needs to use data that genuinely fits the description of real-time. Such data may include location or service subscription, both available from the Home Location Register (HLR). These will enable call-center agents to unlock roaming data where appropriate with just a few clicks, keeping customers happy and revenue flowing.
But when it comes to making investment decisions, the need for careful analysis of the resulting insights means that near-real-time data delivery should be fast enough.
It may not be possible to improve an individual poor video streaming session as it happens, but performance information and session data available straight after the event will help spot weaknesses in how users perceive services and enable an operator to target its investments effectively. It’s essential to analyze whether a poor experience is because of latency issues or weak signal strength, for example, in order to optimize the investments to improve the experience of streaming video.
Meanwhile, the marketing department will also be on the lookout for timely data, such as the customer experience index and churn score. This will help spot where to target offers and decide on the right incentives for each customer. This will maximize an operator’s return on marketing investment and give users access to the attractive offers that they’re looking for. These sorts of business decisions may be critical, but they require data within hours or days, not seconds or minutes.
So the important thing is to deliver ‘right-time’ data, not real-time data. That will make sure that action is taken in the right timeframe to deliver the greatest business impact.