By Larry Foster
To succeed as a telecom manager or communications department member of your organization, you’ve got to make the right moves to guide the organization’s decisions. That requires more than simply trusting your gut. Rather, you must have the right wisdom, vision and the know-how to get the information you need in time to make a difference.
Thanks to the continued explosion in computing capabilities, business intelligence (BI) has boomed in recent years. However, the traditional method of implementing a BI program driven by feeding periodic snapshots of data into an all-encompassing data warehouse can prove to be ineffective for many modern applications.
The technology is now mainstream to embed powerful BI capabilities directly into an enterprise application. An exciting aspect of this transformation is that analytic capabilities have moved into the hands of those that can act on it. As a result, organizations have far better tools for further improving business processes, reducing costs and servicing their internal customers.
However, myopically relying on technology alone without ensuring business processes and data models are aligned around your BI program will inadvertently create more costly operational problems than it solves.
If you are incorporating new analytics approaches into your Telecom Expense Management (TEM) applications, below are 4 critical decision points to consider – prior to rolling out your strategy:
- Decide Which BI Approach is Right For You: As discussed in part one of this analytic series, BI and reporting take a number of different forms in the communications management space. Review each one carefully, and decide which approach is best for your organization.
Note: Calero recommends a Guided Analytics approach in which you won’t be forced into a scenario where you have a tool, but no internal support to make it useful.
- Decide Where You Want to Focus Your Team: A little self-reflection is important in this second step. Do you want your end users to be consumers of the data, or do you have the types of expertise required to create data models and complex reports (or both)?
Note: The skill-set is very different between the two disciplines, and you’ll want to review your current bench strength and have a vision as to how you want to shape your team for the future.
- Decide Where You Want to Focus Your TEM Vendor: One common question we hear is: What part of analytics should be done in-house versus by an enterprise solution provider? Going back to the second point, what do you want your vendor to be focused on versus your team? Some vendors build their entire Analytics solution around providing access to data and tools, leaving the customer to be responsible for all aspects of developing their analytics (e.g. the car dealer sells you the parts, and you build the car.)
Note: The approach that Calero sees as working the best is for end-users to focus on the analysis, leaving the guided report design to the vendor. The driving factor here is that a good TEM vendor will have expertise in the form of a BI development team and in-house data scientists. Basically, the car dealer sells you a complete car, and it’s ready to drive off the lot.
- Decide Which TEM Vendor Aligns to Your Strategy: Each vendor in the TEM space has some form of business intelligence and/or reporting offering. Really drill into each of their capabilities.
Note: Some questions to ask: Do they have pre-designed reports? Do you have to build them yourself? Are the data models already created? Are they being widely used by other customers?
In the end, with BI tools embedded into enterprise solutions, it is critical for ICT executives to be thoughtful about their overarching strategy before diving in head-first. The points above will help you determine how you organize your practice, the team and the focus areas for each.