Complexity can be one of the biggest barriers to success in a business. The consequences of unnecessary complexity can be seen across virtually every business process. One of the worst complexity offenders in large enterprises however is the telecoms environment.
Telecoms complexity is created by the culmination of three dimensions:
- the accelerating pace of telecoms innovations
- the lack of skill to keep up with the rate of innovation
- decreasing performance by only maintaining current technologies without implementing new innovations
Within the telecoms environment all three of these elements are increasing constantly, creating an ever more complex environment.
Companies are connecting increasing numbers of devices and networks, and collecting increasing amounts of data from these different components.
Within the telecoms environment there are two distinct forms of data. The primary data layer is all the data on the devices in the telecoms ecosystem, this may include emails, instant messages, company files, applications, information on various internal processes, and more.
The secondary data layer is concerned with the management and usage of the devices themselves. Secondary telecoms data can give a company a deeper view of their telecoms environment by allowing them to see a full breakdown of usage, voice and data packages, roaming, uptime, and more. This includes the tracking and management of the primary data usage on a device.
The problem however is that there is not a single source for a company’s secondary telecoms data. The telecoms within a large enterprise is generating a large amount of segmented data. A multitude of devices and networks are collecting, exchanging and storing different types of information and feeding it to different places. This data is also often difficult to collect, and service provider dependent. While some service providers may give access via and API, others will give very limited access to data, adding a further level of complexity.
This large stream of raw data makes managing the telecoms environment within a business extremely challenging. Therefore, it is increasingly difficult for businesses to provide the level of skill needed to manage, optimise and simplify the intricate telecoms system, and to implement new telecoms innovations.
Companies cannot however just sit back and do nothing. If they do not actively try to combat Telecoms Complexity by taking control of their secondary telecoms data, they will eventually reach a point where performance will start to decrease even with an increase in human input.
Therefore, allocating additional resources to ‘manage’ the complexity, if not properly implemented, can simply create additional components and relationships in the telecoms ecosystem, which will only serve to increase the complexity.
Complex environments are diverse, ambiguous, and unpredictable. Complexity in the telecoms environment can prevent different role-players from performing their core functions within the business. This decreases productivity and reduces efficiency, resulting in profitability declines, and a slow down on internal processes. It also causes unnecessary wastage, increases management costs, and impacts employee motivation.
In order to combat complexity, and regain control, organisations need a way to accurately collect and manage the secondary data being generated, thereby simplifying their telecoms environment.
Most important is that taking control of the secondary telecoms data within a company will greatly reduce wastage. This alone can have a significant impact on the company’s bottom line.
As technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, large companies are relying more and more on their telecoms and network operations to stay connected, and to stay relevant to the business market. Poorly managed telecoms ecosystems however, can cause a large amount of wastage in a large company.
According to a previous Nebula Report, “Wastage in South Africa’s Telecoms Sector”, and the average large business wastes up to 20% of their telecoms expenditure.
Spiralling bills and a lack of oversight can result in poor controls and general bad management of the telecoms life cycle in a business. This is only made worse as the technology becomes more complex; and trends such as growing usage of mobile broadband, telecommunications convergence, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) make reporting and managing even more difficult.
To avoid wastage in telecommunications spend, it is necessary for businesses to take a comprehensive approach to assessing and regulating the operational spend and reducing the complexity in the telecoms environment.
So why is wastage occurring? There are a number of things which could be regulated and optimised by utilizing big data sources more efficiently
Vendor and Technology complexity
Many big companies struggle to keep an eye on their telecoms spend simply because of its large and extremely complex nature. Telecoms spend often involves multiple suppliers and contracts, and the sheer volume of billing data in large organisations means that trying to reconcile them is often difficult without specialist help.
Spread of spend
The spread of spend is also a problem. Telecoms spend is usually spread across multiple departments which can often operate in different areas. Even though contracts may be centralised, purchasing and management is often performed at a regional, departmental or even individual level, making overall management more difficult.
Deploying the Wrong Technology
This can happen when a company does not have the adequate information to make a purchasing decision and therefore buys the wrong solution for their needs.
Inability to Monitor and Track
If a company is not able to effectively monitor and track what they are spending on their telecoms services, they are setting themselves up for over expenditure which could have been avoided. Being able to track usage, uptime, spend, etc. across employees or departments will allow for real time adjustments that ensure that budget is being spent optimally and allocated where it is needed.
Any infrastructure which has been implemented and is being billed for but is no longer in use over an extended period, has become obsolete or has been replaced, is redundant.
Errors in billing such as being billed for services which are no longer in use, charging more than the agreed upon contractual rates for particular services, or double billing can have a hugely negative impact on overall spend.
Making sure service providers actually deliver all that they promise. It is important to make sure you are getting the service for which you are paying and that service providers are held accountable when they do not deliver what they have promised.
Making sure employees are using the telecoms infrastructure effectively and are not abusing it. This can include tracking personal vs. business usage, sourcing the most optimal/cost efficient solutions for particular communication needs, and making sure services are not being used frivolously or unnecessarily.
If there is a disconnect internally between the different divisions such as finance, IT, etc. within the company, it can cause a lack of communication and conflict in terms of what they are trying to achieve. If different departments are motivated by different goals and rewards, this can cause a clash in how telecommunications expenses are handled.
3. Taking advantage of Secondary Big Data and IoT to prevent wastage
With each connected device capable of delivering such a large amount of data, companies need to be able to create a big data interface that allows them to track, collect, monitor, and analyse this the secondary data being produced by the telecoms environment.
Big Data analytics as a concept has been around for many years. It is only recently however that it has been possible to store and analyse data on any meaningful scale within large businesses. This is thanks to the advent of Cloud Computing, which provides businesses with near unlimited data storage which can be enabled and scaled quickly and easily. The IoT feeds into this system by providing a myriad of new data sources which can be stored and analysed.
This kind of IoT integration enables companies to get the most out of new technology by allowing for a high performance telecoms management solution. This allows companies to track and monitor the secondary data in their telecoms environment, creating a single view of usage across the business. This can simplify a company’s telecoms environment, thereby enabling higher levels of efficiency.
The value of the IoT is not only in gathering big data, but in using it to make better business decisions. If a company can collect and analyse the data being generated from their telecoms ecosystem effectively it will enable them to track expenses, monitor usage, reduce wastage, optimise performance, and reduce downtime. This can enable companies to make better financial forecasts and improve operational functioning across the enterprise.
Most importantly, implementing a High Performance Telecoms system can help achieve simplicity. This means streamlining operations with a system where processes can be integrated and automated. With a real-time, simplified view across mobile and fixed line services, Internet, and WAN, businesses are able to create an environment that allows for control, speed, and accuracy. It also allows for accurate data gathering across the telecoms ecosystems enabling enhanced analysis.
Look out for Part 3: How companies can leverage the power of secondary data through cloud and automation to simplify their telecoms environment and ensure that they run a High Performance Environment