Are you asking the right questions?

Staff writer
05 May 2014

Patrick Tan, Alcatel-Lucent's GM for network intelligence, explains why technology alone actually does not solve the analytics problem and gives three examples of how to monetize big data

Big Data & Analytics: Why are network analytics so critical for telcos today?

Tan: The network can be the source for a wealth of information about how subscribers are using their mobile broadband services and how well does the network delivers those services. This information is highly relevant to different groups within the telcos: it can be used to improve planning and operations, contribute to a positive customer experience and find new revenue opportunities.

As telcos move to improve the customer experience, do you think they are looking closely enough at the network?

Big data is currently at the peak of the hype curve, and while service providers can collect more data than ever from many different sources they don't always know what to do with it. Valuable insights are often missed simply because they aren't asking the right questions of the right data to generate useful intelligence. The discussions around big data often result in a situation where intelligence from the service providers' most valuable asset, the network, is overlooked or not properly leveraged.

It's important to note that network intelligence is critical to optimizing the user experience on many different levels. It starts with improving network planning and operations to address potential issues before they become customer affecting.

From a customer-care perspective, issues on smart devices can be caused by a multitude of root causes, including the application or the application server, the operating system, the device and various components of the network. One of the most profound advantages enabled by network analytics is the ability to capture the interaction of each subscriber with the network. It provides the visibility necessary to benchmark the performance delivered to subscribers, to offer agent and self-care excellence, to enable proactive SLA management and to discover network-related reasons for subscriber churn.

Do most telcos in Asia Pacific have the ability (and the tools) to not only monitor network performance in near real time, but create actionable insight that can lead to cost cutting and service improvements?

The main issue that service providers in APAC and around the world are facing is in the data that is available to them. Today they are collecting a lot of data but the issue is that data from traditional sources like deep packet inspection (DPI) and call data records (CDRs) lacks context and correlation.

At the same time, to achieve what they need, they need even more data hence bigger investment on technologies like big data. But these technologies unfortunately are still relatively immature and, more importantly, technology alone actually does not solve the analytics problem.

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