Big Data a big opportunity for APAC telcos

Adrian Ho/Ovum
18 Mar 2014

Big Data analytics was meant to underpin the next big leap of innovation, productivity gains, and growth. Many businesses are now being inundated with enormous amounts of data that could form the basis for strategic decisions and planning. However, most would admit that the large amount of both structured and unstructured data has left them overwhelmed, with few having the expertise to adequately deal with and make sense of it.

Telcos in the Asia-Pacific region have been among the earlier adopters of Big Data technologies internally, and many have publicly embraced them unreservedly. This has been driven by the urgent need to gain better insight into their customers in a very competitive environment. At this early stage, anecdotal evidence suggests that early adopting telcos have seen positive results such as lower churn, higher ARPU, and improved productivity internally.

However, despite being early adopters, few have shown much inclination to monetize Big Data technologies for their enterprise customers. SingTel was an early exception, having founded a Big Data practice within its emerging technologies group. Korea Telecom, meanwhile, launched its own Big Data analysis service in early 2013. This service allowed the automatic installation of the Hadoop platform using its U-cloud server, making it more cost efficient.

In late 2013 China Telecom and T-Systems announced a partnership with SAP to launch a whole series of cloud SAP services, including SAP HANA. Given the ICT aspirations of some of the telcos in the region, this is one service that should resonate quickly and strongly with some of the newer ICT buying points within the enterprise, including the CMO and other business unit leads. The common sentiment from telcos in the Asia-Pacific region is that this is not their traditional turf, and so they remain hesitant.

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