Big Data key to customer retention, targeting

In terms of the benefits Big Data could bring to operators, respondents to the Intelligence Annual Industry Survey identified customer retention and segmentation/targeting as the clear leaders. Survey respondents were asked to rank a number of potential benefits on a scale of one to seven where seven represented very high potential benefit. Almost 60 per cent of operators and 55 per cent of respondents overall ranked customer retention as six or seven on this scale, with segmentation/targeting drawing the same response from 52.3 per cent of respondents. And so it follows that upselling and internal promotions were seen as the third most beneficial application of Big Data by operator respondents, with 47.3 per cent giving this a high rating.

By using big data to optimise their own processes and improve quality of service, operators will already be building a platform that could enable them to explore new business opportunities. But it was interesting to note that, despite more interest in Big Data as a driver of external revenues than internal improvements, third party advertising and marketing were seen as having the least potential out of all the options in this section. Just 31.2 per cent of operator respondents gave this a high rating for potential. This is perhaps a reflection on the more cautious attitude of the business world at large in the wake of several privacy scandals during 2013 and the effects of the NSA PRISM revelations.

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The application of Big Data for network planning and optimisation was also seen as a key initiative, given a high ranking by 49 per cent of respondents overall and 46.9 per cent of operators. This echoes discussions that we had with industry over 2013, in which some players suggested that network complexity rather than bandwidth might fast be becoming the barrier to network growth.

Operators should be looking to spend ten to 20 per cent of their annual IT budget on Big Data in 2014, according to respondents. According to operator respondents, which closely matched the wider industry view, 36 per cent would allocate up to ten per cent of their IT budget in 2014 and 37 per cent would allocate up to 20 per cent for Big Data initiatives.

There was a significant drop in users expecting to spend more than 20 per cent of the year’s IT budget, with only half as many again looking to spend between 20 and 30 per cent of budget on Big Data and less than ten per cent looking to spend more than 30 per cent.

Rate the areas of an operator's business for the potential benefit that Big Data can bring on a scale of 1-7 where 7 is high benefit. (Respondents who selected 6 and 7 shown).

Rate the areas of an operator’s business for the potential benefit that Big Data can bring on a scale of 1-7 where 7 is high benefit. (Respondents who selected 6 and 7 shown).

The 2014 Intelligence Global Industry Survey drew responses from more than 2,000 industry professionals, including more than 700 operator representatives. The full report from the survey will be made available in mid-February. You can register to receive the report here.

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