MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Social Data Influencing Strategy

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Communication Service Providers have been collecting data about their subscribers forever. In fact, there are many regulations surrounding the data that they collect. Subscriber privacy is paramount and the privacy concerns of this industry extend to email service providers, search companies and social networks. That said, CSP use of BIG DATA is persistent and strategic. The challenge for these CSPs today is to integrate social data with big data derived from their business and operational support systems. These systems provide information about subscribers and about the network itself.

Like other industries pursuing big data initiatives, the first step is in defining how the data will be used. For CSPs the goal is focused on improving the customer experience which is why the correlation of social data is so critical. Subscribers are using the CSP networks to access social networks and are posting thoughts and opinions to those networks. I have posted my frustrations with AT&T mobile coverage several times - all related to visiting a specific neighborhood north of Boston. While AT&T has not been able to resolve the coverage issue, they have responded to each tweet acknowledging the problem.

While this issue is directly related to the network, other subscriber concerns could be related to content, fees, download speeds or apps. Secondarily a concern about these issues may be related to quality, accessibility, cost or network performance. While the CSP collects petabytes of structured data that reveals trends based on batch queries, actionable intelligence comes from the contextual awareness provided by unstructured data pulled from online destinations such as forums, blogs or social networks. 

These CSPs provide a range of services include voice, data and TV. Imagine the volume of internal subscriber data these services represent. Diving into the online data is a challenge, but one that CSPs and other companies must pursue. A recent comment from Charter Communications CEO indicated his surprise at subscriber interest in internet connectivity being more important than access to TV.  If this CEO had been reading industry analyst reports he might not have been so surprised. But more importantly, if he had been paying attention to external, unstructured data from online sources, he would have insight to validate internal data analysis.

Correlating the internal data with the external data is where CSP's will find opportunities to differentiate their offers, define new revenue opportunities or accelerate understanding of customer concerns. 

What's your perspective?