Business challenge

To comply with regulations and protect customer relationships, Turkcell respects customers’ communication preferences. How could it be sure that it only sent marketing communications to consenting customers?


Working with IBM Business Partner Aksis, Turkcell reviewed 7.9 million customer contract documents to verify that they had given permission to receive marketing communications.


retention with insight into customer needs and marketing preferences


new regulations around customer privacy and data sharing

6 months

to perform data extraction that would have taken 20 staff 2.5 years to complete

Complying with new regulations

In recent years, mobile phone operators in Turkey have been subject to much stricter regulations, especially around customer data and privacy. The new requirements impose penalties on operators who engage in customer relations operations with customers who did not provide the relevant information when they signed their original contract. Nevra Biyikli, CRM Manager at Turkcell, elaborates: “To comply with the new regulations, we needed to review 7.9 million contracts and confirm whether the customer had ticked the relevant information box, then verify that this matched the information held in our customer relationship management [CRM] system. This would eliminate the risk of marketing to customers without relevant information, helping us achieve compliance while protecting customer satisfaction.” Turkcell already stored digital copies of customer contracts and supporting information in a centralized IBM FileNet Content Manager repository, containing more than 800 million customer documents. “IBM FileNet Content Manager is the heart of our entire document flow at Turkcell,” says Nevra Biyikli. “When it comes to customer information in particular, FileNet Content Manager provides us with a centralized way of storing all the documents we are required to keep for regulatory purposes. And if we need to retrieve those same documents, we can do so quickly and easily thanks to the IBM solution.” The company looked for a fast, accurate way to verify the data in the contracts. And with many contracts stored as low-quality photocopies, Turkcell needed a solution that could reliably extract the required information, even from poor-quality digital images.  

Our partnership with IBM and Aksis helps us to connect with customers and shape a richer experience.

Nevra Biyikli, CRM Manager, Turkcell

Processing millions of documents in just months

Time was of the essence when it came to finding a solution—Turkcell had just over a year to verify its compliance with the new regulations. After evaluating a number of document capture and data extraction solutions, the company selected IBM Datacap, and worked with IBM Business Partner Aksis to get its data validation project underway.Gonca Çorman, Expert CRM Analyst at Turkcell, says: “Aksis has been our technology partner for more than a decade. They help us to maintain all of our enterprise content management platforms to the service-level agreements set by our regulators and our customer service metrics. Aksis played a key role in this project, helping us to expertly configure the Datacap solution to ensure that the data validation progressed smoothly.”Using Datacap, Turkcell checked the contract documents of customers whose CRM entries indicated that they had given permission to receive marketing communications. The company processed an average of 150,000 document files every day over the course of 13 months.Nevra Biyikli comments: “We were extremely pleased with the performance of IBM Datacap’s OCR [Optical Character Recognition] engine. We were able to take advantage of a variety of techniques to ensure the best results, even when the image quality was poor. This helped to reduce manual effort and allowed us to stick to a tight schedule.”The results showed that nearly 5.9 million contracts had the right information; the remaining 1.9 million were passed on for manual verification, allowing Turkcell to update its CRM records to match customer preferences.In a related project, Turkcell also used the Datacap solution to meet another regulatory requirement—this time relating to data privacy. Turkcell provides a web portal that allows customers to log in and view their own contracts and other important documents. To make sure that each customer can only see their own personal set of documents, it is important to check that the correct document set is associated with each customer record in the company’s CRM system.Turkcell decided to use Datacap to confirm this. Each document set contained a photocopy of the customer’s identity card, which contains a unique identity number. By capturing these numbers and matching them against the identity number in the CRM system, it would be possible to confirm that the two records matched correctly.Using five Datacap servers, the company processed 2.5 million sets of identity documents (each document set containing five pages and four iterations) at a rate of 125,000 per day, and successfully captured 1.7 million identity numbers in 18 months. This was a 67 percent success rate, which the company considers very good.“The scanned identity cards were often extremely low-quality images, so it was a real achievement to be able to capture so much of the data automatically,” says Gonca Çorman. “Datacap’s ability to combine multiple scanning and OCR techniques on each document was a big advantage.”Customer retention is a top priority for Turkish telecommunications companies due to increasingly tough industry competition. Turkcell realized that if it could better understand why certain customers decide to change their mobile operator, it could take more targeted action to reduce churn and strengthen loyalty—a realization that triggered yet another Datacap project.Nevra Biyikli explains: “When a customer leaves Turkcell for another operator, we usually receive a document requesting the transfer of the customer’s mobile number to the new operator. We realized that if we could capture information from these documents, we could use it to shape future marketing strategies.“Although it would be too late to prevent that particular customer from leaving us, we would be able to launch similar—and better—campaigns of our own to attract new customers and prevent other customers from churning.”Gonca Çorman states: “The insights revealed by the Datacap project have helped our marketing team to come up with targeted campaigns that respond to real customer needs. The ability to reach out to customers with compelling, personalized offerings helps us win business from competitors and build brand loyalty, allowing Turkcell to stay on track for successful growth.”

Compliance at low cost

Nevra Biyikli says: “Thanks to IBM Datacap, we have been able to avoid a huge amount of manual effort. We once calculated that checking a set of 5 million contracts manually would take a team of 20 people two and a half years. So by processing nearly 15 million documents with Datacap across these three projects, we have achieved massive cost savings.”Gonca Çorman adds: “The benefit is not just that we have saved hundreds of hours for our teams – it is also that we have been able to complete these projects much more quickly. Our regulator set very tough deadlines for the marketing and identity projects—without Datacap, it would have been very difficult to meet them.”She concludes: “The ability to capture data quickly from millions of documents not only helps us comply with regulations, protect our reputation and minimize the risk of customer dissatisfaction – it also opens up these documents as a source of business insight. Using the documents to help our marketing team understand our competitors’ offers and design better campaigns is an excellent example of how our partnership with IBM and Aksis helps us to connect with customers and shape a richer experience that strengthens their satisfaction and loyalty.”
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About Turkcell

Turkcell launched Turkey’s first GSM network in 1994. Today, Turkcell is an integrated telecommunications and technology services provider, serving mobile and fixed customers, and offering services including over-the-top (OTT) content, cloud and TV experiences.

Solution components

  • Comm: Data Integration: Extraction Transformation and Load
  • Datacap on Cloud
  • FileNet Content Manager

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