Digital transformation is imperative for all enterprises, whatever the size. Various industry bodies, including the TMForum, have taken on several initiatives to help Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to successfully complete their journey towards digital business maturity. These initiatives include: digital transformation guidelines, standard Open APIs, as well as numerous catalyst projects. The goal: turning CSPs into Digital Service Providers (DSPs).
For the last 25 years, Neural Technologies as a Software and Consulting Service Provider has been successfully serving the telecommunications and finance industries in realising business values via digital transformation. This article will highlight what we have learnt from our wealth of experience in digital integration, and how CSPs can successfully propel themselves towards an open digital world.
Whenever a CSP wants to embark on the journey of becoming a Data Service Provider, it can be difficult to know where to start. Though the starting point is usually: “What is the quickest and maximum improved business value achieved from minimum effort?”
Because all eTOM (TMForum’s Business Process Framework) business processes have data points associated, it is these data points in various forms that is the core element of any business process value chain. It is such data that delivers business value through collection, interpretation, enrichment and distribution for consumption, together with the mining and delivery of business KPIs. Such data, we have classified as “Event Data”.
Definition: “Event Data is generated by logging uses, events, or transactions which have been generated/triggered by people, machines and services.”
Examples are switch Call Detail Records (CDRs), Internet of Things (IoT) data points, or customer related activities data like orders, invoices, payments and complaints etc.
So, to answer the question posed above, a practical approach to digital integration must be developed. Any practical approach must be centred around the Event Data and its associated business processes, that can be divided into 4 stages:
Event Data classification & standardisation is the preparation step for all instances of Digital Integration
EVENT DATA CLASSIFICATION
EVENT DATA STANDARDISATION
Nowadays, managing customer data or contact centre data is rarely a challenge. The difficulties start with network related events and usage data, on both sides of collection and distribution. This is due to:
Consequently, once the Event Data is classified and standardised as defined above, most CSPs are required to replace their legacy mediation platform to deal with:
Event Data Collection (across numerous sources regardless of structure and format)
Event Data distribution to downstream applications
Obviously, storage cost effectiveness and Service Level-Agreements play a big role here. Hence, Big Data Technologies and Open Source tools have become a recurring “requirement”. Though that hides its own difficulties like:
Additionally, rolling out a digital integration solution that address the Event Data collection and distribution challenges leads to other challenges:
All those challenges (some often overlooked) are contributing factors to the 70% failure rate of digital transformation projects. To overcome them, CSPs must find an end-to-end solution that solves all, and Neural Technologies have named this the Event Data Lake Platform, where events are collected, pre-processed and structurally stored once, so that it can be used for multiple uses as required to serve the various downstream applications and is 100% fully configurable.
Definition: “An Event Data Lake is a group of various physical storages of various storage technologies in where Event Data is stored in its natural format.”
Definition: “An Event Data Lake Platform enables and implements the end-to-end digitised business processes directly related to its associated Event Data.”
Professor Russell Ackoff defined the path of delivering business wisdom through the information value chain [data => information => knowledge => wisdom):
To ensure Event Data driven decision making, CSPs require a standardisation of the enterprise reporting framework and the delivery of reporting of uniform business KPIs across all stakeholders.
To achieve this goal:
Therefore, CSPs need to adapt a smart information delivery model. Specifically: a Telecommunications specific Data Warehouse (DWH) model that is aligned to TM Forum’s SID, and establishes the different level of analysis capability to deliver business values based upon Professor Russell Ackoff definition of delivering business wisdom. These different levels of analysis are:
Everything that has been highlighted throughout this article defines the ideal Event Data Lake Platform requirements that enables and implements the end-to-end digitised business processes directly related to its associated Event Data.
The ideal Event Data Lake Platform must derive its functionality from the above classifications as part of a digital integration value proposition and be summarised as follows:
Based on Neural Technologies’ experiences we recommend that the digital integration steps & the Event Data Lake Platform capabilities as highlighted in this article is the most efficient and effective approach to overcoming the challenges most CSPs meet in their individual digital transformation journey. With this approach Neural Technologies are confident that the failure rate of digital transformation projects will decrease, and our collective goal of an open digital world will become a reality.
As featured in TM Forum’s Digital Transformation Tracker 3 http://inform-digital.tmforum.org/digital-transformation-tracker-3#!/neural-technologies