Analytics as a Service

Shagun Bali/Ovum
02 Feb 2012

Telcos are collecting growing volumes of subscriber data and face pressure to analyze it and act on it more quickly than ever. Over time, telcos’ data warehouses have become complex and expensive, and it has become evident that traditional architectures will not be able to sustain the explosion in demands placed on them.

One potential solution is “analytics as a service” (AaaS), a hosted, general-purpose analytical platform that can be shared across an entire company. Enterprises such as Amazon, Opera Solutions, and eBay have already deployed AaaS to meet increasing analytics demands within time and capital constraints. Taking the concept further, Amazon Web Services recently introduced a cloud-based AaaS model – in other words, on-demand and pay-as-you-go.

Ovum recommends that telcos and IT suppliers serving the telecoms industry actively explore AaaS, because it may be less expensive than traditional, on-premise solutions and it enables the more rapid deployment of advanced analytics capabilities than traditional solutions.

Telcos struggling with departmental analytics

Today, telcos typically have a departmental business intelligence (BI) and analytics structure. The increase in front-end analytics tools, back-end BI tools, platforms, and data marts has raised the cost of managing, maintaining, and developing the “data-to-analysis” value chain. Telcos are increasingly finding it necessary to restructure disparate platforms and tools into centralized, yet flexible, analytical infrastructures.

After years of cost-cutting, telcos are now pursuing top-line growth and see analytics as a way to drive it. Operators are concerned that traditional BI solutions will be unable to cope with the growth in data volumes and the need for flexibility in data structures. But they also are constrained by huge investment costs, and face the challenge of predicting infrastructure needs for emerging analytics scenarios. These factors, together with a general global shortage of trained business analysts, are creating new opportunities for IT vendors to deliver AaaS to telcos.

The AaaS operating model should not be confused with the software-as-a-service model. AaaS solutions may be deployed on-premise or based in the cloud, whereas SaaS solutions are primarily cloud-based. Also, SaaS implies the use of a single application, while AaaS provides a general-purpose analytical platform as a shared utility that is not limited to a single database or application.

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