Opinion

Discovery journeys in telecom operators.

Dec 19, 2018

Steering data through transformative discovery journeys.

Information has become an astonishing driver of value creation, turning the power-to-know into the power-to-monetise. Pioneering new business models and experimenting with innovative capabilities, nimble digital players have captured the lion’s share of that new wealth engine, leaving telcos largely at the sidelines of the ‘data-is-the-new-oil‘ revolution.

In order to catch up, telcos must evolve their ability to sense and learn. They must embark on discovery journeys to transform how they manage their operations, how they explore business opportunities and, ultimately, how they interact with the ecosystems they serve.

True discovery teases out breakthrough knowledge out of both old and new types of data. It seeks to integrate, mine, synthesise and disseminate completely new perspectives on how telcos – and their clients – function:

Themes What genuine discovery yields
Digital insight generation

Pulse check of digital trends, rendering an accurate reflection of how clients are behaving and major habit patterns are emerging.

Subscriber experience optimisation

Delivery of hyper-contextualised experiences, above and beyond basic interaction metrics.

Network investment prioritisation

Production of intelligence to drive network upgrades, matching demand and supply of connectivity across different topologies and patterns.

Integrated network development

Integration of both fixed and wireless network views into a single unity, allowing for combined technical and commercial planning.

“Telcos must evolve their ability to sense and learn. They must talk novel languages, equipping themselves with deeper insights about the interactions they enable.”

Discovery journeys are defined by the questions they set out to answer. The more ambitious they are, the higher the impact they stand to generate:

Critical themes Examples of questions that discovery journeys can tackle
Digital insight generation
  • What is the correlation between digital usage and other societal behaviours? (purchasing trends, traveling, financial habits, etc.)
  • Which digital sectors are gaining traction in the country?
  • What is the overall state of the country’s brick-and-mortar and digital economies?
  • How are specific interests (i.e. jobs, health, education…) manifesting in the population across different country areas?
  • Etc.
Subscriber experience optimisation
  • How do different subscribers cluster in segments when it comes to online usage patterns?
  • How do users split across interests? Across needs? Across how they respond to digital services?
  • Who are the heavy data users? What do they consume and how do they compare with the rest of the population?
  • What about the light users, what needs (or lack thereof) define them?
  • Etc.
Network investment prioritisation
  • How much actual pain does the network cause when compared with the type of service that each subscriber tries to pull from it?
  • Are there areas of the network that show good quality KPIs but that are still delivering a frustrating experience (because the type of usage required from them is not being addressed properly)?
  • Are there high-value subscribers in presumably higher-than-average quality areas being disproportionally upset by their data services?
  • Etc.
Integrated network development
  • How do wireless and fixed users compare in the same locations?
  • How do they switch back-and-forth between technologies?
  • Are there areas in which the two network technologies complement each other, based on gaps or pockets of strength?
  • Etc.

The universe of use cases that a true discovery ‘spirit’ supports varies enormously. In order to find balance between analysis paralysis (too much insight, too little action) and chaotic exploration (hasty execution with no solid thinking behind), discovery journeys are best trodden through iterative steps. Frame areas of opportunities, unearth new knowledge to tackle them, pilot small proof-of-concepts to gauge impacts, learn, adapt, and then iterate again in a larger loop.

This approach enables gradual layers of increasingly ambitious discovery scopes. They, in turn, sustain broader use case proliferation while the telco organisation ‘grapples’ with the fact that it now knows – and can do – much more than it could possibly imagine.

As new value gets unlocked and better conditions line up for knowledge and execution to dovetail, discovery momentum builds up. Old school analytics takes a boost from novel pieces of intelligence, like deep network analytics. New windows of innovation open-up. And telcos inch closer to a reality of superior data utility that should have never eluded them in the first place.