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Concerns, Challenges and Impending Opportunities for Communication Service Providers (CSPs)

Cloud Architect, IBM

Part 2 of a 3 part series: Envisioning the Strategic Value of IBM Smarter Analytics Suite for Communication Service Providers

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In my last blog entry, I wrote about emerging technologies in the IT domain. Today, I’ll be sharing specifically what IT concerns, challenges and opportunities are facing communications service providers (CSPs) in today’s world.

The communication industry has been going through a lean period and stagnating for a long time now and there are valid reasons for that. One primary reason could be that the world economy is in slow yet steady revival mode after a shock and unexpected shrinkage. However the principal cause is that the voice-based revenue is continuously declining. Customer bases in both developed and developing countries have matured and stabilized now.

However, there are some bright spots in reversing this trend by conceptualizing and providing premium and pioneering services especially based on the data communication. CSPs are therefore forced to look out for fresh avenues for new revenues to keep top-line as well as bottom-line growth intact.

Multifaceted, people-centric, and context-aware services and applications need to be devised and delivered to the marketplace in order to keep up the income and margin of telecommunication organisations. Retaining the existing customers and attracting new customers are the top tasks in hand for communication companies. Visualizing and implementing next-generation services and sustaining it are not an easy job, hence why CSPs are keen on having a creative set of IT-enabled capabilities and competencies.

Organizations are being told to rework and focus on a couple of indispensable things: leveraging the company's assets (especially all kinds of data) beneficially and to work on the possibility of transforming the current business operating model. In order to accomplish these two in a stabilized and successful manner, enterprises need to focus on the following vital aspects: new-generation infrastructures, processes, architectures (application and data) and technologies.

Technology adoption is being presented as the valuable and viable option for CSPs to sustain their profits and to proceed smoothly in their long journey. Technologies empower corporations to bring forth imaginative and immaculate applications to their users. Process excellence is another way forward. These days, communication-attached processes are being recommended as the surest way for the uninhibited growth. Process integration, orchestration, management, innovation, etc. are gaining more momentum; architectural assimilation and infrastructure optimization are the remaining aspects to be given prime consideration in order to be relevant for their subscribers and consumers in the long run.

·      Infrastructure Optimization Opportunities - CSPs are steadily embracing cloud infrastructures to bring substantial savings in the IT budget. Clouds are being positioned as the next-generation, federated, virtualized, automated, and shared IT infrastructure for optimally hosting and delivering a cornucopia of next-generation composite services to their esteemed subscribers.

·      Cloud-based Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Integration Services - With our personal as well as professional machinesgetting interlinked in wireless mode, a new set of premium and popular services for a bunch of smarter environments such as smarter homes, hospitals, hotels, buildings, cities, and corporations are to emerge and evolve in the days to unfold. CSPs are bound to play a very intimate role in realizing these sophisticated services.

·      Cloud-based Analytics Services - Analytics accomplished in a smarter manner (leveraging standardized and simplifying platforms and tools) are poised to bring a number of desirable transformations for the struggling telecommunication industry. In particular, real-time and specific customer intelligence is bound to help CSPs gain a good understanding of their customers' behavior and preferences in order to roll out rewards and other facilities so that the customer churn can be minimized to a major extent.

For newer services to  be conceptualized and delivered in time and to the liking of their users,  CSPs need to have the following competencies in order to be ahead of their competitors.

·      Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) – This is for creating a single view of products, partners, and customers data

·      Enterprise-scale Big Data Analytics Platform – This is for quickly and easily extracting actionable insights from different data heaps and acquiring time-sensitive business intelligence to empower decision-makers and executives to plan ahead and to act decisively with all clarity.

Once the analytics tools are in place, CSPs can more easily introduce new capabilities that will increase revenue and customer satisfaction, and reduce costs. These capabilities include Location-based services, Intelligent marketing campaigns, Next best sales and service actions, Social media monitoring and insights, Network intelligence and High-velocity fraud detection

Understanding the strategic importance of analytics for businesses to explore and experiment with new services to the marketplace, IBM has come out with a growing library of hardware and software solutions to speed up the complicated analytical tasks based on the solid and successful experience and expertise. The IBM Smart Analytics System is an integrated platform that provides broad analytics capabilities on a powerful warehouse foundation with IBM server and storage. Deeply integrated and optimized, IBM Smart Analytics System provides a single point of support for end-to-end analytics solutions.