Study: Operators sitting on $235B 'treasure trove' of under-utilised data

NICE, France--Telecoms and media companies are sitting on what Microsoft describes as a potential "data dividend" worth $235 billion over a four-year period, if such companies were to make better and smarter use of the data they gather from and about customers on a daily basis.

According to a new study commissioned by Microsoft and carried out by IDC, this value could be realised if companies became "data smart" and performed some combination of four actions: bring together three to four discrete data sources; use modern analytics tools to glean insights from data; surface those insights in a consumable fashion to the right decision makers across the company; and ensure that insights from data are shared in a timely manner.

Rick Lievano, Worldwide Director of Industry Technology Strategy for the Microsoft Telecommunications Sector, has been speaking about the benefits of "big data analytics" at the TM Forum Live conference, and said more than any other industry, data lives at the heart of every telecoms organisation. "In recent years, that heartbeat has been pounding louder as the industry staggers under the weight of an ever-exploding volume, velocity and variety of data," Lievano wrote on a blog unveiling the study.

Speaking to FierceWireless:Europe, Lievano also highlighted how Microsoft is benefiting from its dual role as vendor and service provider in the provision of big data analytics.

"We are eating our own dog food," he said. "We bring learnings [from Skype, Bing etc] to the table...it gives us an edge."

Skype, for example, has recently carried out a big data project called Skype Insight and Action that enables the company to ask a question about its data using normal language and get a response.

"These tools have to be usable," said Lievano, who calls this aspect "data democratisation".

Microsoft is also keen to build up an ecosystem of partners for the collection and application of big data analytics. For example, at TM Forum Live, the company is sharing a stand with Redknee, a company that addresses real-time charging needs.

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