Big Data = Big Business Opportunity

Do you like the term “Big Data”? It is actually a misnomer, because the data is not really “big.” Data is of course still the same size, but now there’s simply so much more of it. I guess “Massive Amounts of Data,” which could have been shortened to MAD, just wasn’t as catchy. Regardless of what we call it, Big Data represents a BIG business opportunity for service providers.

According to the Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) released last May, there will be 1.3 zettabytes of IP traffic by the end of 2016 (a zettabyte equals 1021 bytes – that’s 21 zeros!). And a recent TM Forum report, “Big Data: big volume, big payback and big challenge,” notes that data is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 29 percent over the past five years – and “is likely to continue to grow at a double-digit rate in the future.”

Big Data tilesThe first challenge resulting from this growth is the operational aspect: how can service providers manage all of this data? Where will they store it, how can they secure it and how will they back it up? The reality is that without a significant change in their approach to data and operations in general, service providers will realize that the economics of the business simply don’t add up.

Although the cost to store a gigabyte of data is declining, data usage is increasing to such a degree that the hardware spend required to keep up with that demand is actually continuing to rise. According to Barclay’s Capital, data stored by businesses is expected to increase by 42 percent in the five-year period finishing in 2014, which will cause storage spending by those organizations to increase by nine percent during that same period. So as service providers look at their operational environment, we can expect to see an increasing focus on architecture, and applications and systems that are “Big Data-aware.”

But this is far from the end game. After years of struggling to capture and manage growing data volumes, service providers across the globe are starting to realize that although Big Data is an operational challenge, it is also potentially a great business opportunity. 

We have already seen several examples in the service provider industry.

Telefónica UK recently launched Dynamic Insights, a global Big Data business unit. Smart Steps, Dynamic Insights’ new app, helps track crowd movements in specific areas, with the ability to query details such as gender, while blocking knowledge of specific users (to uphold privacy standards). This information has already been used to help determine optimal locations for retail stores.

Telenet in Belgium is using predictive analytics for a more targeted customer approach, by analyzing specific details about customers and providing the insight to sales personnel. Telenet used its large amount of historical customer data to turn its customer care call center into a key part of the company’s business. Sales following a customer call doubled within six months after applying these new methods.

Amazon is of course one of the pioneers in the broader business environment in terms of analyzing data and driving predictions, but Amazon CTO Werner Vogels notes that a holistic, total approach is necessary for success. “Big data is not only about analytics, it’s about the whole pipeline. So when you think about big data solutions, you have to think about all the different steps: collect, store, organize, analyze and share,” said Vogels.

Big Data is a chance for service providers to regain the lead in customer experience by building operations that are ready to capture data and adding analytics to offer proactive and contextual experiences. As they learn more about users’ behaviors and tendencies, service providers will be able to create new monetization opportunities while pleasing their end customers. And that will truly be something BIG.  

*Special thanks to Eric Danis for his editorial assistance.


  1. Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    This is amazing information about Big Data. Every problem opens up opportunity’s door. Today, businesses aren’t empowered enough to make a decision based on the analytics information. There is certainly a scope of doing better — apart from improving the volume processing — to create a reliable tool for decision-making.

  2. Jianrong yang
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I am interested in this topic.

  3. Divya
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Good to know about Big Data.

  4. Chandramohan Murkute
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Very good information indeed.
    As you correctly said Big Data is actually a Big opportunity for the inventors. Processing Big Data has been a challenge and Googles paper on ‘MapReduce’, Doug cutting’s ‘Hadoop’ and ‘Mahoot’ tries to solve the problem of processing big data.
    All the IT majors are comming up with clouds to store this huge data and to enable application to run in distrubuted environment to process this massive ammount of data, out of which Amazon stands out with the options of EC2, cloud-front etc.

  5. Shripal Jain
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    It really sounds interesting..

  6. Asher
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Very good post. I agree SP have a BIG opportunity in this domain but they are still limited to what they have stored on the end customer. Only a true 360 view of the user including all digital footprints (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Google, etc) can really provide an holistic view of what users do and think about, and that’s where the BIG opportunity is. There are privacy issues in stake, but once these would be resolved the path for monetizing BIG data would be cleared for such solutions. A successfull solution must be something that will benefit the users themselves as well as the SPs (win-win).

  7. Carrie Clark
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I am interested in Big Data – how to capture it and strategic analysis

  8. Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Very Nice Compilation…
    What I would like to see is, how Predictive analytics from big data is applied along with LTE(with ability of allocation of network dynamically) to create and offer valued offerings (created from idle capacities) to customers smartly.
    CSPs who are able to do soi will monetize the network more smartly…

  9. Erwann
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Great article Dana – leveraging Big Data to offer proactive and contextual experiences is the next big frontier!

  10. Arik
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    The opportunity for Amdocs of course seems obvious, however we must commit substantial efforts into strengthening our position across the value chain to where our strengths give us the advantage in providing BD related solutions.
    The focus from the last couple of years is welcome and hopefully we’ll continue to invest in these areas.

  11. fuzhi
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Good information, for Big Data the essence is not only the storage(like many company doing now), more important is how could the provider can discriminate the useful and valuable information/data(very small percent) from the gross of information/data. This is important for both the provider/company and the customer/individual.

  12. Sachin
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Well said and further to be taken forward for awareness . Ongoing sales speech in the industry had created lot of confusions about this buzz word . This article is a perfect response to it .
    Yes , big data is the same data but not explored earlier due to that time’s practical reasons .. many a times currently big data is sold as “web click” data .. it used to be called as click-stream data warehouse . It is an old win in new bottle created by appliance hardware folks. Only hadoop is the new concept which is sort of more-managed data mining , which these days are sold along with appliance . Gr8 article .

  13. Yatender Sharma
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    “Big Data” is a buzz word today and is the most talked about topic in IT / software circles.
    Although availability of “Big Data” has been into existence from beginning e.g Population data, employees records, CDRs in telecom etc. and different analysis have been done to use this data to make intelligent decisions e.g. city planning, welfare schemes to citizens, innovative telecom plans etc.
    So what makes the great emphasis on “Big Data” now a days when these things were existing for long time ?

    For me the difference comes in using the Big volume of data in such a way as to get help in monetizing it by designing product/services to target customers, to to predictive analysis and make better investment decisions, to study and tap customer behaviour etc.

    These things looks easy on paper to implement big data analytics, identify pattern in data, and do prediction.

    On the ground level there are inherent challeges also in big volume of data analysis e.g. sampliing error, outcome depending on various factors which might not be used in analysis, and identification of triggers affecting the pattern.

    So we have Opportunities and Challeges coming hand in hand, if we are able to overcome challeges, then we can harness enormous opportunites.

  14. Pradeep Agrawal
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    I am interested in Big Data Analysis.

  15. vikas borate
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Amazing article

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