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Claire McMahon

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The Secret Killer of Telecoms

What's the real reason behind a reluntance for change?

Operators, faced with declining revenues from traditional services, are questioning their fate. The reality is, they need to adopt changes, and fast. Big Data Analytics is being heralded by many as a way in which operators can overcome this downturn and address the true threat/opportunity from OTT players. However, adoption has been slow and industry analysts have been grappling to find out why.

In a recent report[1], research giant Gartner listed privacy as the biggest threat to a CSP data monetization strategy. A survey [2] conducted by Analysys Mason of 35 CPSs concluded similar findings, with a staggering 70% citing concerns regarding the privacy of personal data as the reason why they were not currently generating revenue from BDA. The general consensus seems to be that the most significant barrier to BDA is privacy - and it's hardly surprising given the irrevocable damage an ‘X Steals Your Data' headline can do to a company's reputation.

However, findings from a recent study by European Communications somewhat displaces this notion: when asked ‘What do you think is the biggest barrier to operators successfully executing a big data strategy?' only five (10%) of the 51 respondents stated ‘privacy concerns'. In fact, by far the most common answer was ‘legacy systems/data remaining in siloes preventing info sharing', named by 12 (24%) of the respondents.

The point to note here is that the Eurocomms survey asked operators to name the biggest barrier, whilst the question posed by Analysys Mason was multiple choice. It appears that although privacy is a major concern to operators, legacy systems are the principle barrier.

Legacy systems, it seems, are more than just an expensive nuisance, causing systems maintenance/deployment to be a convoluted, resource-heavy process, they may in fact be costing operators their future by obstructing the exploration of new data monetization strategies. Operators need to address fears of BSS system upgrades as a matter of urgency, only then will the haze surrounding data monetization disperse, allowing the immense benefits to become clear.

[1] ‘Market Insight: CSPs Are Pushing Forward with New Strategies to Fully Monetize Customer Data', August 2013, Gartner [2] ‘Using Big Data to Build Value for Operators' , Justin van der Lande, May 2013, Analysys Mason

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Claire McMahon is the International Telecom Analyst at AsiaInfo-Linkage, the supplier of the world's most advanced software solutions and IT services to the telecommunications industry.