Skip to main content

Smarter Communications

Use customer data to create new services and capture new markets

A call to action for communications service providers

innovation made with IBM.

Keeping telecom on target: How CSPs tap the transformative power of data and analytics

See what is made with IBM

Discover dispatches from a smarter planet

Telecommunications face growing demand and shrinking profits

Global IP traffic is escalating rapidly. By 2015, the amount of annual traffic is expected to reach a zettabyte— that's one billion terabytes.1

That means more data, more devices and more content. In fact, there is now more of everything in the world of communications—including competition. And that means smaller market share for today’s communication service providers (CSPs). This is the operator’s dilemma.

Leading operators are charting a path forward using big data and analytics, cloud platforms, new mobile technology and a security-centric approach. These new strategies are essential for CSPs to become nimbler, smarter and more efficient.

Use big data to meet the demand for data delivery

Usage patterns. Network capacity. Customer behavior. CSP operators have a treasure trove of information, waiting to be analyzed and acted upon. Big data and analytics can help you reinvent your relationship to that information, yielding critical near real-time insights to help create intelligent and targeted offerings and marketing campaigns.

The information services platform used by Elisa Corporation, a rapidly expanding Finnish communications provider, (PDF, 646KB) couldn’t support the data-intensive analytics needed to deeper the company’s understanding of their customer needs. With an integrated data appliance, they can now quickly and comprehensively analyze enormous volumes of information 200 to 600 times faster. Plus US$1 million dollars yearly cost savings and an anticipated millions of dollars from improved revenue capture, cross/upselling and social network analysis.

Celcom Axiata designed targeted promotions to reach customers when they’re poised to buy. Watch the video.

When customers are dissatisfied, 54% don’t complain directly to their CSP, but 77% do tell friends and family. Source: IBM Institute for Business Value

The cloud for you—and your customers

A wide variety of players are rushing to exploit the business opportunities of cloud. For CSPs in particular, the cloud isn’t an end-goal as much as a source of new revenue. The number of CSPs selling cloud services increased from about 60 in 2009 to more than 140 in the first quarter of 2012.2 What’s more, CSPs across the globe spent almost US$14 billion on cloud pursuits in 2011. As providers of connecting networks, operators have a crucial role to play and they are well-suited to take a central position in the cloud ecosystem.

IBM and AT&T partnered to use cloud to meet a need. Fortune 1000 companies needed a fast and highly secure shared cloud service tailored to the unique needs of large enterprises. IBM and AT&T created a first-of-a-kind “network-enabled cloud service” based on private networks rather than the public Internet, giving customers a scalable, flexible, secure and innovative solution, optimized for mission-critical enterprise workloads.

Türk Telekom, the leading CSP in Turkey (PDF, 698KB), established an internal cloud to help get solutions to market faster while delivering security, accessibility and high performance to users. The outcomes included reduced provisioning times, from one week to 15 minutes, US$10,000.00 annual savings in labor cost and increased internal user satisfaction through more agile cloud services.

Mind over mobile: where operators can really shine

Over the past decade, mobile technology has become the preferred method of exchanging information, currency, goods and services. Mobile adoption is transforming the communications industry and reinventing the customer experience.

Dutch telecommunications provider KPN developed a mobile application to engage sports fans in new ways, integrating real-time, virtual experiences on a mobile device to allow users to participate in activities such as watching a live game from multiple angles.

By embracing mobile technology, your CSP can move into adjacent markets. You can provide mobile solutions for enterprise customers, which can improve the customer experience and employee productivity. New mobile consumer offerings have the potential to redefine the industry. The most recent IBM Institute for Business Value Mobile Enterprise Study found that 62 percent of the responding CSPs were pursuing mobile for enterprise innovation. In addition, 54 percent indicated that mobile was a key to improving customer satisfaction and response time. Mobile is now fundamental to how the industry does business and offers opportunities for internal business-to-business and business-to-consumer innovation.

Global mobile data traffic will grow at a 61% CAGR between 2013 and 2018 Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index. “Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update”, 2013–2018.

Global mobile data traffic will grow at a 61% CAGR between 2013 and 2018
Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index. “Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update”, 2013–2018.

The art of conversation: CSPs and social business

Social capabilities can help you get closer to your customers, opening two-way lines of communication, offering rich insights into consumer behavior and creating channels for more proactive and rewarding interactions. Bharti Airtel understands how important it is to listen and engage with customers. They scan for every tweet containing the word “Airtel,” and respond, as appropriate, to customers through this channel. Airtel also uses social network analysis to determine customer issues by tracking mentions of the company on social media and following up on any problems.3

But you can do more than connect with customers on Facebook. You can take your external social tools and embed them into core business processes and capabilities. That makes it easier to acquire new ideas from almost anyone who touches an organization.

China Telecom created an innovation platform to connect employees, partners and customers. It enabled marketing teams to analyze new intelligence gathered directly from consumers and launch new services using insight from each customer. It also reduced opportunity costs and risk by expanding sources for new product ideas and by improving idea quality, increasing the chance of marketing success. There were 554 new “voices” in the development process during the first six months of the platform launch, with the publication of the first idea a mere ten minutes after launch.4

Security for devices and data

Communication service providers have a unique challenge: connect people, devices and data, while safeguarding the privacy of all three. Also, as provider of the world’s internet and broadband access networks, you are in the direct line of fire for malicious attacks to all the other industries.

New tools and integrated solutions offer comprehensive approaches to ensure that your CSP meets requirements and builds customer trust. The most significant opportunity is to gain new insights into internal and network environments comes from analytics. You can use big data and analytics to identify vulnerability and find security insights not previously available through other tools.

Contact IBM

Follow IBM Communications

Meet the experts

  • Steven Teitzel Steven Teitzel
    Telco Global Solution Exec - Smarter Networks

    Steven leads a cross IBM team developing strategy and solutions for the Telecommunications Industry and developing leading edge client opportunities in areas of network virtualization, analytics driven network operations and intelligent policy and charging.

The influence of social:

New views from the 2014 IBM Global Telecommunications Consumer Survey

Smarter Communication stories