Comptel released results of a poll earlier this week that was taken last month during its annual user group meeting. The poll results, displayed in these pie charts, could be interpreted in two different ways. Comptel argues that its poll “reinforces the industry’s trajectory towards putting big data into action.” That’s one reasonable interpretation; but there are others.
Though analytics as a practice isn’t new anymore, it is new enough that widespread adoption across large enterprises may remain immature. If that’s the case, then finding that 55 percent of executives “consider analytics necessary for delivering and capitalizing on new business opportunities” is a sign that analytics are gaining ground as a part of any operators’ standard operating model.
Similarly, though the industry has been talking about personalization for years, the tools that attempt it are newly adopted. A finding that says 46 percent of executives “believe more targeted offerings based around individual usage patterns” will help relieve churn is also a sign that the industry is moving in a more customer-centric and personalized direction.
But data can almost always tell two stories. In the immortal words of the great Homer Simpson, “you can use facts to prove anything.”
The flip side of the numbers say that 45 percent of respondents do not find analytics “necessary for delivering and capitalizing on new business opportunities,” or simply lack an opinion on the matter. This 45 percent may represent industry inertia, insofar as it relates to use of analytics for the purpose of identifying and pursuing new revenue opportunities.
Similarly, 46 percent may believe in personalization, but that means 54 percent of respondents don’t yet have an opinion or don’t believe that personalization based on user experience will relieve churn. If, for example, an operator’s primary cause of churn – based on its opinion or analysis – is price competition, then it may not believe personalization can make much of a difference.
A telling number, however, is that 75 percent “of attendees report using analytics on a daily, weekly or monthly basis for customer retention, more targeted marketing or for other performance improvements.” The qualifier “other performance improvements” can include anything; this is stuff that we used to call “reporting.” It’s a big part of the way any operator does business. Why else would one use reporting other than to try to improve the business? Certainly not to make things worse, or to learn information that’s completely irrelevant (though that of ten may be the case in the land of the cryptic data warehouse).
Finally, a finding that stands out says that “nearly all survey participants noted that, when it comes to effective customer engagement, real-time capabilities to predict subscriber behaviors and understand the context of each customer interaction are essential.” In other words – customers remain unpredictable. Every operator’s job would be easier if they could just predict how customer desires and expectations change from moment to moment.