March of mobile internet blocked by old-fashioned IT

10 Nov 2008

Old-fashioned IT systems are preventing mobile operators from getting better insights into what customers want, and this is affecting innovation as well as the ability to combat churn.

A survey of 100 senior mobile industry executives by Loudhouse on behalf of Nokia Siemens Networks found over half of the respondents (53pc) stated that existing customer data infrastructure doesn’t enable analysis of customer behaviour, while almost as many (46pc) complain that data is not being analysed quickly enough.

In addition, only 14pc of the respondents have visibility of customer churn rates on a real-time basis.

“While internet brands may be ahead of the game when it comes to making use of customer data, operators have woken up to the importance of harvesting and nurturing this data – and their lack of tools to do this properly,” said Rick Halton, head of profile solution management at Nokia Siemens Networks.

“The findings of this study are an acknowledgement of how much work is still needed to realise the opportunities presented by the mobile internet. Operators have a huge amount of data at their disposal, and the need of the hour is to improve current methods of managing and analysing this data to unlock its true value in real-time.”

With 87pc of the respondents looking to improve customer insights over the next year, an improvement in the organisation and availability is essential because, although many operators are sitting on terabytes of valuable customer data, the majority of it is rendered ineffective by fragmented databases and legacy data management platforms.

Though mobile data revenues from next-generation services may still be small, the market is growing fast.

Nokia Siemens Networks research forecasts that the amount of mobile data transmitted over mobile networks will increase 800pc, to 13.5 million terabytes, over the next four years.

While the average time to market for deploying a mobile application has improved from 10 months last year to seven months this year, the more telling statistic revealed by the study is the desire of communications service providers (CSPs) to reduce this even further to 2.6 months.

The recognition that application development and delivery must be quicker highlights the importance of the mobile internet and the reason why operators and mobile internet businesses in the survey are keen to improve existing customer insight measures.

A closer look at the drivers for insight improvements shows that the main concern for internet portals is that detailed user data is not available (50pc), while for mobile operators, it is the fragmentation of data, speed of analysis and complexity that are the major pain points. 

Another difference between mobile portals and mobile operators is their approach to data brokerage.

Due to confidentiality requirements and longer-term customer relationships, only 4pc of mobile operators are currently incentivising their customers to allow their data to be shared with third-party businesses.

The comparable figure for mobile portals was 27pc, highlighting their greater success in convincing customers to allow personal data sharing. 

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years