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Tapping Into Big Communications Data for Hidden Insights

Business.com / Technology / Last Modified: April 23, 2018
Image credit: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Enterprises have discovered that data from communications isn't just white noise, but rather yields useful insights. Use these takeaways to glean insights from communications data for better expense management.

You can't deny that we're in the middle of an exciting period of digital transformation. One important byproduct of this transformation is the creation and collection of large amounts of digital data. Dubbed "big data," this topic continues to be buzzworthy. After all, organizations have solved many challenges using the insights lurking within the vast amounts of data they already own. In the past few years, these same approaches have been applied to a previously ignored subset of big data – communications data.

It's widely agreed that 90 percent of the world's digital data was created in just the last two years. Communications data has been a leading source of this explosion. The rapid influx of new device innovations like tablets, smartphones and sensors has increased the avenues to consume audio, visual and text information using unified communications platforms. As the number of innovations continues to grow, so have the data sets they created.

Unlocking the stories in the data

Enterprises have discovered that the data they've created isn't just white noise. It can provide a picture or a story once users unlock the information. Taking this one step further, organizations have started to use these stories to make decisions and project future outcomes. It is now evident that sifting through this amassed "big communications" data provides unprecedented insights that can help drive businesses forward.

While some types of communications data have been quicker to yield obvious value from the stories they tell, other types have remained locked in their source systems. The lack of full adoption is often due to a variety of reasons – some industries didn't experience the same pressure from consumers or users, some companies felt current processes were not broken and didn't require an update, and others still couldn't see the ROI of adding more steps to their process. Regardless of the reason, not seeking a data strategy to discover both the obvious and less obvious stories leads to missed opportunities.

Many enterprises have communications data residing in silos across their organizations. They have to find the right key to unlock it as well as how to pull it together to make sense of the data. Even though they may have large volumes of raw data in their hands, meaningful information to make strategic decisions can be difficult to pull out or require expensive resources to analyze.

Forward-thinking organizations have solved how to tap into the full spectrum of insights previously hidden within these siloed communication data sets. This shift is being largely driven by tapping into data that's managed by the telecom expense management (TEM) industry.

TEM's role in the solution

TEM helps companies manage their fixed and wireless expenses so they can identify and carve out excesses in their telecom spend, make smarter purchase decisions, uncover billing errors and optimize their communications budget. Regardless of whether TEM is managed in-house or by an outside provider, it's a critical continuous process to control costs, streamline operations, improve compliance and provide a strong basis for strategic planning.

Recently (think last two years), the technology front of TEM has encountered innovations. Enterprises now have access to real-time data discovery and data visualization tools, which has fundamentally transformed the power of TEM.

This new application of analytic solutions is taking things up a notch and giving TEM a turbocharge. Now, telecom managers and executives alike can get their hands on nearly real-time data and look at costs, configurations, interrelationships, geography, ownership – the options are endless. It puts knowledge into the right hands to encourage and enable evidence-based decision-making.

The keys to unlocking the value in this data are to create a unified communications data architecture, implement business intelligence tools, and arm end users with the ability to extract and make sense of the insight.

Putting big communications data to use

These are some considerations and takeaways for companies looking to glean insight from the data derived from communication channels:

  • Create transparency. Interactive data exploration and diagnostic analytics empower telecom and mobility analysts by enabling them to focus on the current version of the truth as well as to execute a root-cause analysis of why it's happening.

  • Eliminate the data silos. Pulling multiple communication data sources together is a big plus for creating transparency across an enterprise. Think about looking at fixed-line telecommunications right next to mobile, unified communications and then even cloud data.

  • Remember that self-service is not self-sufficient. Self-service analytics are great unless you get stuck spending all your time developing reports instead of discovering value-added insights. Guided analytics, or predeveloped analytic sets designed to guide end users to tangible insights, can be leveraged as a best practice within enterprises that don't want to spend resources or budget on trying to re-create the wheel in report design.  

  • Optimize communications. There is an opportunity to uncover new insights from current and evolving communication vectors, including unified communications usage. Gaining new cost insights is the most obvious, but other opportunities include identifying patterns of usage (including overage and adoption of new functions), identifying compliance issues, managing dispute resolution and managing contract negotiation.

These practices can help organizations develop the most precise picture from the big communications data goldmine. As a result, organizations will have the insights to make better business decisions and to optimize usage and processes.

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