Three Ireland’s Graham Murphy: ‘Data is one of our greatest assets’

1 Mar 2019

Graham Murphy. Image: Three Ireland

Three Ireland’s head of data, Graham Murphy, is tasked with turning data into rich business insights for the mobile operator.

Three Ireland recently appointed Graham Murphy as its head of data.

He leads Three Ireland’s centralised data function, which uses data to provide meaningful business insights and inform decision-making.

‘The richness of the growing data we have available to us today provides endless possibilities’

Murphy joins Three Ireland from Deutsche Bank where he was head of data protection advisory for four years. Prior to that he held the position of data analytics and governance lead with Deloitte for two years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Tell me about your own role and your responsibilities when it comes to managing data.

As head of data, I am responsible for making Three Ireland a data intelligence organisation. We start by creating a centralised data management function with best-in-class capabilities. This function will drive best practices and principles to allow for the successful management and maintenance of all data resources in Three Ireland in the areas of data governance, data architecture, data engineering, security, big-data platforms, business intelligence and data science. We will ensure that there is a strong cultural focus on managing data throughout Three Ireland, and the upkeep of data management practices and principles is priority for me. I believe data is one of our greatest assets, and it will be treated as such.

How does a telecoms company such as Three use data to glean meaningful business insights?

Data is a powerful tool that helps us provide positive experiences for our customers by looking at ways to understand their needs and how best we can better serve them. The richness of the growing data we have available to us today provides endless possibilities, from fraud detection and prevention, to optimising our network to ensure our customers have a better-connected life.

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how Three can best protect data?

Three is Ireland’s leading data network. We carry more mobile data than all other operators combined. This means we have responsibilities in terms of how we secure and protect that data, and data protection and security are top-priority. With the creation of the new centralised data management function, I will ensure that our culture continues to have a strong focus on data protection. We only use data we are allowed to, and where anonymised data is used it will be fully and irreversibly anonymised so that, even when associated with other data, it is not possible to identify an individual.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

There are two big tech trends: 5G and digitalisation. 5G represents a real leap forward in connectivity, moving to high-speed, always-on services. With IoT at the centre of this, it will eventually enable smart cities, driverless cars, smart traffic systems etc. With all of these devices and applications comes a lot more data. The evolution here for our data function will be around how we create the platforms, infrastructure and capability needed to capture and use this data to offer better products and services for our customers.

The digitalisation journey is increasing at pace. This journey is essential to improve and control our end-to-end customer experience, and optimise and improve our ways or working. In telecoms specifically, the journey of digitalisation is part of our ongoing core development. The consumption of data on our network is ever-increasing and that’s a good thing. We are the only mobile operator in Ireland to offer all-you-can-eat data and carry 60pc of all the mobile data traffic. The challenge for us is to ensure we continue to deal with this constant growth in data consumption. We must adapt to upcoming 5G technology, but also remain relevant in an ecosystem where the boundaries are quite blurred and the delivery of some of our services can be commoditised quite quickly, which could be the case with IoT if you only focus on connectivity.

It is therefore more important than ever to be at the forefront of this digitalisation journey, whether it is in our current 4G or future 5G networks, IT systems, commercial propositions, or customer relationship management and customer care systems. By harnessing the flux of various data along the various tentacles of our business, we will not only strengthen our business, but through the magnifier of the digitalisation journey we will continue to lead from the front.

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