Data Will Make the World Go Round in ’13

You don’t have to be much of a fortune-teller to predict that data and video traffic is going to continue to skyrocket during the next 12 months. Much harder to predict are the implications of this phenomenal growth for service providers and what they should be doing to get the most out of this opportunity, but I’ll try:

• First, we’re going to see service providers move away from worrying about just the operational challenge of managing big data and moving toward the business opportunity that big data brings. The most crucial differentiator in the service provider’s armory against over-the-top competitors is the subscriber experience. By capturing more customer data and then using analytics to off er proactive and contextual experiences, service providers will be able to offer more enhanced services relevant to the individual subscriber.

• Service providers are going to make omni-channel self-service a top priority for 2013. For example, if I want to change my high-speed Internet package, I want to be able to do the research on my PC at the office, save a draft order in my shopping cart and think about it on the way home — making changes to the order on my smartphone — then make my purchase from my tablet later in the evening. If for, some reason, the system fails and the subscriber still has to call, the agent will have the details of the customer’s latest actions on their screen, saving time for the consumer and the provider.

• Cross-screen viewing and the resulting network traffic is going to continue to expand at a dizzying rate, so service providers need to harness this data, monetizing the demand for new services while optimizing the network and information- technology assets. In 2013, service providers will introduce new, value-based pricing models as a way to overcome capacity challenges and provide subscribers with faster speeds. Better business support systems, with policy control and real-time charging, will be key to this trend.

• There will be greater penetration of new verticals, such as the connected home and health-monitoring solutions (which are often enabled by new cloud technologies). In fact, we predict partnerships will be formed between former competitors. As a recent Amdocs survey showed, service providers, over-the-top video providers and device manufacturers all see the importance of forming strategic partnerships to achieve business growth. This, however, will demand open and effective partner management systems for revenue sharing, easy onboarding of new partners, high quality of service and a winning customer experience that is only possible with integrated IT systems that effectively leverage customer data.

For service providers, data is most certainly making the world go round and driving the operational and business trends in 2013.

Michal Harris is director of market insight and strategy at cable billing-services provider Amdocs.