This blog is by Claudio Frascoli at Nokia Solutions and Networks.
This year at Mobile World Congress, I had the chance to discuss Big Data strategies with several mobile operators. One thing in particular captured my attention: While everybody agrees on the value that data analytics can bring to the business of a mobile operator, many service providers are still struggling to define a starting point. Yes, it’s important to clarify the objective and have clear ideas on how to reach it. Yes, it’s important to determine the best technology to deploy. But ultimately, it’s neither the business proposition nor the technical implementation that poses the main roadblock – it’s how ready your organization is to embrace Big Data.
I see three aspects that deserve attention when it comes to organizational readiness: silos, executive sponsorship, and skills.
If we look at a typical MNO (mobile network operator), there is plenty of valuable information that can be used to improve operational aspects as well as customer experience and marketing effectiveness. This information is often spread across several parts of the organization. A few examples: network KPIs are typically handled by operations; CRM belongs to customer care; and billing is part of the IT domain. Besides the obvious technology challenge of pulling all this data together, the first step in leveraging its power is to ensure that these parts of the organization are fully aligned. This means they have agreed common objectives down to clear data management practices that sync with company processes. In other words, it’s about eliminating silos… definitely easier said than done.
This brings me to the second critical aspect: executive sponsorship. Operators who have been more successful at leveraging the power of big data are those who have data analytics as part of their strategies. The executive boardroom is where the strategy is defined and where clear, cross-functional, cross-silos objectives are agreed. In a nutshell, this is where alignment among all the different moving parts can be achieved. A strong executive sponsorship is needed to ensure this alignment turns into concrete actions that deliver business results.
Lastly, and equally important, are skills: finding that winning combination of analytical talent able to translate a multitude of data into valuable insight and the managers who ask the right questions so that data analytics models can provide meaningful answers. This skill set makes it easier to develop a data- driven, decision-making culture across the entire organization.
“We don’t need another tool,” one operator told me. “We need somebody who can help us translate all the information coming from our tools into actionable insight. We need help getting this information across our organizational silos so that we are all able to look at the same data and make business decision based on that very same information.”
Definitely a sobering reminder that technology is just one piece of a very complex puzzle!
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