Cross-IT Integration in Big Data Yields High Dividends Through Customer Loyalty

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Mobile operators today are facing a new problem the Vanishing Customer as their subscribers are leaving. If customers do stay they use fewer mobile calling services or service units and provide the operator with lower average revenue per unit (ARPU). Since operators are attempting to shift their revenue models to match customer usage models providing all you can eat calling and messaging but imposing metered data plans customers are changing lanes too using data largely or solely via Wi Fi and using free videoconferencing services. Using Big Data will help to understand customers and develop their profiles. Having this operators need to take the next step launch a customer loyalty programme.

In its recent analysis entitled "Injecting OSS/BSS with Big Data Yields Big Dividends for Operators through Customer Loyalty," Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan discussed the benefits of implementing Big Data-driven customer loyalty programmes. The analysis was done in cooperation with Comarch, a software house and integrator of IT solutions.

"When operators take a look back, however, they realize they are sitting on a gold mine of customer data," said Jeff Cotrupe, Industry Director, Big Data & Analytics, Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan. "Processing and analysing this Big (customer) Data results in customer profiles and personalised services. This enables operators to create customer loyalty programmes that maximise revenue retention and drive new revenues."

Part of that evolution occurs when operators gamify their loyalty programmes, providing incentives for a wide range of customer actions. Another part of the evolution is combining loyalty with mobile commerce management (MCM) techniques such that the loyalty programme becomes an effective mobile touch point for both customer retention and revenue generation.

Unfortunately, while operators' knowledge of their customers is improving in many ways, they suffer from two major blind spots. First is a failure to employ social network analysis (SNA) to get closer, not just to individual customers, but to the community of users as a whole. Second is a failure to integrate the loyalty programme into the existing operator IT infrastructure: the operator's Operations Support System (OSS)/ Business Support System (BSS). Cross-IT integration is essential to inform the loyalty programme with the best available data from all sources.

"Data solutions that are not integrated, or poorly integrated, with the existing IT infrastructure, are a limiting factor on the anticipated growth of the Big Data market," added Cotrupe. "This prevents companies from receiving maximum value from their data investments because companies are trying to base Big Data initiatives on incomplete information. They also suffer from a holdover of the old 'IT glass walls' concern: business users still need to 'ask IT for help' to derive value from the Big Data systems."

A well-established OSS/BSS provider, Comarch, offers a customer loyalty solution, Comarch Loyalty Management, that eliminates these blind spots and helps operators develop a next-generation loyalty programme. One operator that has deployed the solution is Canada's largest provider of voice and data communications services, Rogers, which has built its Rogers First Rewards loyalty programme on the Comarch solution.

"Pre-integrating a customer loyalty system with OSS/BSS is the best way to go, for both operators and providers," said Cotrupe. "For one thing, it ensures that the operator is not taking on yet another point solution -- no matter how effective it may be -- which the operator then must integrate into its existing OSS/BSS infrastructure. Another advantage is that by obtaining a loyalty solution from an experienced OSS/BSS provider such as Comarch, the operator benefits from a company that knows telecom -- and how to integrate technology into the business."

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