Data is at the heart of all effective digital transformation, and telco transformation is key to staying competitive in the disruptive telecom industry.
Data is a vital component that generates intelligent, improved decision-making by empowering business users to base transformation not on gut feelings, hypotheses, or assumptions, but on facts.
Telcos have seen the value, and many believe building a huge data lake is the answer to obtaining real-time business insights. For example, in South Africa, only 22% of South African businesses are currently satisfied with their BI solutions.
Before businesses can draw real value from data, they need to make sure their data lake is not actually a data swamp.
What is a data lake?
A data lake is a centralized repository that houses all structured and unstructured data at any scale. Data lakes are a simple way for companies to collect and store raw data from different inputs, without the need to know precisely how the data will be used.
But in order for data to be meaningful to the business, it must be organized and accessible to those who need it. Without structure and organization, the data lake becomes a useless swamp.
How many businesses are adopting data lakes? A recent report from TDWI shows that 23% of surveyed respondents had a data lake in production. A survey found organizations that implemented a data lake outperformed competitors by 9% in organic revenue growth.
What is a data swamp?
A data swamp is a rundown data lake that either provides little value, or has become inaccessible to users, either from being poorly designed in the first place, or not properly maintained.
All the time and effort spent building huge amounts of data lakes often make things worse because of poor data governance and management, and this results in a data swamp.
IBM estimated that bad data cost the United States $3.1 trillion in 2016.
However, data swamp can become usable again with technology to structure and organize data.
Differences between a data lake and a data swamp
A data swamp can be likened to an out-of-control data lake. The very big difference between the data lake and swamp is that the lake is accessible and useful while the swamp is meaningless.
|Ready, easy to find||Overweight and time-consuming|
|Robust and infrastructure supports growth||Rigid, fragmented|
|Modified, automated and easily streamlined||Manual and difficult to find data|
|Easily understood; credible||Incomplete, murky|
Role of big data in telecommunications
With the amount of data that telcos collect, huge opportunities for monetization and increased revenue are on the horizon.
With the rapid progression of technology, the smartphone and 5G, telecommunications companies will need to process, store, and derive insights fast from the diverse volume of data that runs through their networks. Big data analytics help increase profitability firstly by optimizing network services and usage, and then by enhancing the customer experience, and by improving security.
Practical examples of the uses for big data include:
- Consumption analysis for more intelligent planning
- Customer specific marketing tailored to customer behaviour
- Understand the impact of new product offerings
- Predicting times of heaviest network usage, and finding solutions to relieve congestion
- Identifying highest value clients and implementing solutions to prevent churn
- Fraud detection and Revenue assurance
Ways to leverage your data lake
To best leverage your data lake, telecommunications companies must make data visible and connect the data finding process through the data catalogue to the process of collecting information about the data.
Minus this connection, the data lake may give the appearance of tranquillity, but actually is just a featureless murky, muddy pond instead of a rich, gushing river.
Data is at the core of digital transformation, and to remain competitive, telcos must have a thriving, feature-rich river of data to drive improvements and changes. Using the right analytics technology and resources will drive transformation based on real data.
In summary, data brings valuable and essential insight to businesses. But not if the data is in a swamp.
Adapt IT | Telecoms will help you to transform your data swamp to a data lake with the correct technology such their CDRlive and BDlive; technology which optimizes data is AI and AR ready and developed specifically for telecom-focused precision analytics. It tracks and manages the profitability of the entire customer lifecycle to ensure that data is complete and accurate.