Big data analytics remains one of the most talked about and hottest topics across all industries at the moment, not just communications. The debate around big data swings about like debates in Parliament – those on one side championing its cause and praising its benefits whilst others question its value.
The pro party sees it as the cure of all ills from IT management to shoring up and increasing revenues through upselling and better customer engagement. Those in opposition see it all as a fad. Concerns are also raised about the results of predictive analytics – will they cause fateful decisions to be made?
Despite all of the debate, which has seen big data analytics slide along the Gartner Hype Curve from the peak of inflated expectations through to the trough of disillusionment, it is impossible to not to understand the true value that big data can bring. Indeed its importance was outlined in Rob Rich’s report, ‘Managing and Mining Big Data’ where he states that big data is, “among the most important forward-looking topics for services providers’ businesses and IT organizations and will remain so for some time.”
A recent article in CIO Magazine highlighted how important using big data really was. It was based on a survey conducted by Bain and Company of 400 executives from leading enterprises with the majority having revenues of at least $1 billion. The results showed that too few enterprises are using big data analytics and they found only “an elite group that puts into play the right people, tools, data and intentional focus.”
The most interesting findings were that the small, elite group who were using advanced analytics were “twice as likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance within their industries, three times more likely to implement decisions as intended, and five times more likely to make decisions fast.” This shows that the importance of big data cannot be overlooked as it is playing a critical role in the performance of large-scale enterprises. It is critical that the industry adopts the practices of this “elite” group to ensure success in the evolving digital world.
The TM Forum has been active in attracting real case studies big data deployments to its TM Forum Live! event being held in Nice, June 2-5. These are being presented by enterprises on how they are using advanced data analytics to improve their financial performance by becoming more agile, making informed decisions quicker, and avoiding costly mistakes.
eBay, for example, will be discussing how it deploys new and existing products and services by analysing customer behaviour and using analytics to help develop third party partnerships. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts will be sharing key insights on how it has built a culture of flexibility and agility by shifting towards a data-driven ethos where big data sparks growth and innovation. Skype will be discussing how it has used big data to better understand its IT systems and how it has developed a flexible infrastructure which supports the process and implementation of meaningful analysis which allows for future changes and uncertainty.
One of the major challenges around big data is trust, security, and privacy. The past year has seen a lot of data breaches not only through traditional forms of hacking, but also through national governments using data to spy on its own and foreign citizens. This has brought about a change in customer attitudes towards privacy, especially how their own personal data is used.
The spying scandals are also causing governments to bring about changes to data and privacy legislation, potentially restricting and changing the way that data can be utilized. TM Forum Live! will also feature Citycell, Telefonica and Sonae Retail debating how much customers really trust the storage of their data and how they are preparing for tougher regulations and customer attitudes towards privacy. This will, undoubtedly, be a very lively debate and for all those with an interest in big data, it certainly is something not to miss!