Big Data – or the Right Data?

Mobile Operators have so many things to consider when deciding how best to profit while still providing a great service to their customers.

Previously, I spoke about Mobile Operators utilising information from the network to better understand and measure Customer Experience from the Network perspective. In that post, I noted that extracting key information from network interfaces can be used to determine customers’ experience of actually accessing and using the Services that they have subscribed to.

Along with Customer Experience, another major theme that is often talked about within the same domain is Big Data. Storing each and every interaction a customer has with an Operator is a sure fire way of deriving or determining their experience – good or bad. Like Customer Experience, the approach to Big Data is open to interpretation. Personally, I have always thought that Big Data is a mechanism to allow data warehouse vendors to sell more, regardless as to whether or not what is being stored and eventually processed is actually correct.

For most probe vendors in the Service Assurance space looking to measure not only Customer Experience, but also Network and Service performance, data storage is becoming more of a problem. Specifically, it is an issue when it comes to storing customer-related transactions, which often focus on troubleshooting the network and service-affecting outages or scenarios. Such transactions can be summarized based on specific service requests but can also include individual messages or packets used to determine what really happened and why.

However, today’s networks are seeing ever-increasing traffic levels. This is especially true on Mobile networks, where the traffic related to Mobile Broadband services now accounts for close to 70% of the total traffic seen. This large traffic volume means that simply adding more storage capability or capacity to a system isn’t really the answer.

Mobile Operators are looking to offset the investment made in technologies such as LTE by rationalizing in others, with CAPEX in particular often under scrutiny. Most mobile operators will openly admit that for all the data that they store, less than 2% is ever actually used to fix an outage or failure. That’s an awful lot of data and, more importantly, storage capacity that goes unused.

Going forward, Service Assurance vendors will have to get smarter. And with that, they must be more selective and even intelligent when it comes to data capture. By introducing techniques that will only capture traffic associated with either direct service failures or poor service quality, as well as traffic associated with their high value customers or high value services, they can keep CAPEX linear as today’s traffic levels continue to increase. More importantly, the end result will now be a data set that when turned into information can better help them improve customer service and so experience.

Ultimately, having the Right Data is more important than simply having Big Data. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Looking for more?

Watch this video on capturing the Right Data…

Or watch this video demo on how Mobile Operators can pinpoint infrastructure investments where they will have the highest return.

Written by Graham Kunz – Graham on Twitter | Posts by Graham
Graham is Empirix’s European Service Assurance Expert and he’s worked in the tech industry for nearly twenty years. More than 14 years of that time has been in Service Assurance, working with wireless customers and internal teams to understand and capture product requirements, as well as develop and introduce products. His global outlook, wireless technology knowledge and technical know-how provide him with an excellent perspective on the current and future direction of mobility and the wireless industry.

photo credit: Lori Greig via photopin cc

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