Why enterprise-wide analytics will be at the core of telecommunications ‘Next Big Thing’


Telecommunications providers and their ecosystem partners have been using analytics in numerous operational process for decades. When we gathered leading players in the Middle East and Eastern Europe Region for an exchange, what emerged is how critical enterprise-wide analytics is becoming. Telecommunications industry advisors at SAS have been making this point for a while, but hearing the use cases driving this direct from practitioners was eye-opening. Here are my key takeaways from the two days of discussions:

Company positioning is changing, and this affects customer experience

Turkcell has ceased to position itself as a telecoms operator, and now considers itself a “digital operator”. This has enabled it to shift its position and start to provide a wide range of innovative services, which in turn leads to better customer engagement and retention. Data is at the heart of company operations. Analytics has permeated the organisational culture, and is very definitely having an effect on the bottom line.

Enterprise-wide analytics in telecommunicationsNetwork analytics is still key, with the focus on creating value for customers

Five years ago, networks were networks, and that was the end of the story. Today, however, networks are one of the hottest topics in telecoms, with operators such as Cosmote showing that it is possible to bring together network and customer data to create even more value for customers. The convergence of network and CRM worlds holds huge promise for the future.

Improving customer lifecycle management can put customers at the heart of operations

STC (Saudi Telecom Company) has set up a separate organisation to be responsible for customer lifecycle management, which has allowed it to put customers at the heart of its operations. Luca De Carli, General Manager of Customer Lifecycle Management, says work across the ecosystem is driven by analytics, allowing the organisation to manage customer value, loyalty and retention. Analytical engines are used to calculate Next Best Engagement for each customer, and these are pushed to all channels to provide a unified experience.

Call centre analytics has huge potential to improve customer experience

A number of telecoms companies are already thinking about how analytics could be used in call centres. Potential use cases include gaining insights from textual data, and optimising operations. This would include both traffic forecasting and schedule optimisation, all designed to improve customer experience by managing operator time more efficiently and effectively.

Blockchain is likely to be a key part of the telecoms ecosystem of the future

Professor George Giaglis of the University of Nicosia suggested that blockchain would be a key part of the telecoms ecosystem in the future, in its capacity as a global system of trust. He sees the ecosystem, broadly, as being composed of the Internet of Things (IoT) generating data, artificial intelligence acting on the data and triggering services, blockchain to record data and settle payment for services, and advanced analytics underpinning all of these.

Machine learning is being used to identify customer “moments of truth”

Telecommunications industry, like many others, is working on how to leverage machine learning in their business. During this event, we have seen machine learning is being used as a way to identify and use customers’ “moments of truth”. An operator distinguishes between traditional and event-based marketing, and uses machine learning on raw transaction data to find these crucial points in time and market to the individual in the moment.

Enterprise analytics will be the “brains” of telecoms companies in the analytics economy

It is hard to overestimate the importance of enterprise analytics in the analytics economy. It will, effectively, act as the “brains” for telecoms companies, drawing on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and will work across all functions from marketing through operations to underpinning services. The analytics economy is built on three things: data, analytics and collaboration.

There are a number of possible “Next Big Things”, but all have analytics at their core

It is always hard to forecast ‘The Next Big Thing’, whether in telecoms or elsewhere. This event demonstrated clearly that there are an enormous number of candidates for this title at the moment, ranging from the Internet of Things through to Blockchain. It is, therefore, hard if not impossible to name just one. A panel discussion moderated by Mari Nilsson Bjorkman, Telecommunications Industry Lead at SAS, hosted Luca De Carli, General Manager d Customer Lifeceycle Management at STC, and Jowita Michalska, Founder and CEO of Digital University. An emerging theme from the panel discussion was the growing sense that whatever ‘The Next Big Thing’ in telecoms, it will almost certainly have both advanced analytics and innovation at its core.

Be part of the SAS telecommunications knowledge exchange

These takeaways are from the recent SAS Telco Customer Board Executive Connect for telecommunications industry leaders across the Middle East, Turkey and Eastern Europe region. The event was designed to allow networking among industry peers, and for everyone to discover more about how analytics is being used across the telecoms sector, with leading telecoms presenting on their experience. To be part of this community, contact Nurcan Bicakci Arcan.


About Author

Nurcan Bicakci Arcan

Regional Marketing Director, Middle East, Turkey and Eastern Europe

Nurcan has started her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers and held various business development and marketing positions at Turkcell and Turk Telekom Group. She joined SAS in 2014 and is now heading up Middle East, Turkey and Eastern Europe as regional marketing director. Arcan, who has over 15 years of experience in technology marketing, is a graduate of Bogazici University, Business Administration and has her MBA degree from Oxford Brookes University in UK. She is married and is proud mother of Ege.

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