Editor’s Note: Welcome to our weekly Reality Check column. We’ve gathered a group of visionaries and veterans in the mobile industry to give their insights into the marketplace.
The current explosion in mobile data provides operators with a considerable opportunity to increase revenues and reduce churn, but only if they take steps now to harness the valuable information at their fingertips.
Mobile operators have long had a direct relationship with their customers, yielding access to data that includes personal profiles, location, spending power, and content preferences and consumption. Now the burgeoning growth of devices such as smartphones and tablets is leading to a surge in mobile data in line with the rapid increase in mobile broadband users. The market research firm Infonetics Research has reported that mobile broadband subscribers doubled in 2011 to 846 million and forecasted that the number will rise to 2.6 billion by 2016.
Of course, mobile network operators are well aware of the opportunity that personalization brings. In recent years, many mobile virtual network operators and sub-brands have been launched to cater to different communities and user predilections: According to Wireless Intelligence<./em>, there are currently 812 MVNOs and 224 MNO sub-brands worldwide.
Indeed, operators have taken steps to segment offerings for some time. For example, many provide location-based services as well as different tariffs and service plans centered around data consumption.
But so far telcoms have not fully tapped into the wealth of personal information — the so-called “Big Data” — that resides in their systems and networks and which continues to grow. Nevertheless, there are increasing signs that chief information officers in all industries, including telecoms, are aware of the benefits of using the data within their organizations. Worldwide business intelligence platform, analytic application and performance management software revenues reached $12.2 billion in 2011, a 16.4% increase from 2010 revenues of $10.5 billion, according to Gartner. BI platforms accounted for 63.6% of those total revenues. Gartner says its 2012 CIO survey shows that analytics and BI together represent the primary technology priority for CIOs this year.
The challenge now for operators is how to store and analyze metrics of their customers’ real-time activities to better meet their needs and preferences. In order to truly personalize services, operators also need to share information across different departments and that requires a holistic approach to customer experience management and BI solutions throughout the organization.
Achieve those aims and the consequences are clear: The operators that put such BI and CEM solutions in place will be better positioned to provide highly personalized services for their customers, while at the same time increasing revenues and reducing churn.