The Big Data Challenge: Should You Sell It, or Use It?

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Services companies need to turn to experts in data warehousing, mining and analytics to seek consultations on how big data can be manipulated.
  • Service providers have fantastic opportunities to both sell big data, for example to advertisers, as well as to use it for strengthening business relations with customer-centric solutions.

There are many questions surrounding the big data phenomenon, such as can services companies (e.g., telcos) sell it and/or use it for their own purposes? The challenges include how to configure already complex billing and IT architectures to capture the information and make sense of it, as well as navigating local regulations. There are several professional software and IT integration companies, such as Amdocs and Accenture that are all vying for business from telecom operators, and other industries, to help capitalize on the big data gold mine.

Customer privacy is a central issue, and rules vary from country to country. Clearly, getting your customers to opt-in voluntarily is a sensible direction, and companies can encourage their end-users and subscribers with incentives such as free gifts and discounts to motivate them to allow you to gather data on their behaviour. Security concerns are another major problem in a changing technology landscape where customer data might exist in the cloud, hence cyber security and physical security need to be very robust. Regarding the revenue opportunity, service companies can get very imaginative here and look for partners to sell the customer information to for a pretty penny, or seek to use the information to benefit the business, such as real time alerts for customers that are at risk – in other words, churn patterns can be recognized and acted upon before the customer is lost. Potentially, service companies can diversify their business to take advantage of big data collected in one line of business. For example, it is wholly conceivably that an ISP can become an online retailer, or travel agent, based on insights gathered from the online buying patterns of its end-users. The point is that knowing how customers spend money and shop online gives a super competitive advantage over the rivals in the same space that might not necessarily have all the views into customer online behaviour.

What do you think?

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