While customer insight influences mobile operators' growth and investment strategy, existing subscriber data simply do not give them enough information to be able to analyse customer behaviour.
This is according to a new survey conducted by UK-based Loudhouse research on behalf of Nokia Siemens Networks, which included interviews with 100 senior executives working across a spectrum of mobile operators and mobile Internet portals.
More than half of the respondents (53%) stated that existing customer data infrastructure doesn't enable analysis of customer behavior while almost as many (46%) complain that data is not being analysed quickly enough.
In addition, only 14% of the respondents have visibility of customer churn rates on a real time basis.
With 87% 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. Indeed, Nokia Siemens Networks research forecasts that the amount of mobile data transmitted over mobile networks will increase 800%, to 13,5-million terabytes, over the next four years.
The growing pace and enthusiasm for mobile data is driving the need to increase the speed of creating and delivering mobile applications. 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 (50%), 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 4% of mobile operators are currently incentivizing their customers to allow their data to be shared with third party businesses. The comparable figure for mobile portals was 27%, highlighting their greater success in convincing customers to allow personal data sharing.
"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," says 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 realize 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."