Love at first sight in the big data world? Well, it’s about time somebody had a new angle on this oft-discussed subject. Seriously though, where I’m going with this is simple: big data can be a high maintenance, sluggish beast that causes a lot of headaches when customer details are out of sync. It needs a life-partner to shine.
So adopting the role of matchmaker (I should stick to being a CTO, right?), where do we find big data’s soul mate? I suggest mediation. The concept of the clunky big data behemoth isn’t too far removed from mediation’s own existing, but equally erroneous, preconception—a vehicle for nothing more than shuttling customer usage upstream to billing. In reality, both perceptions are outdated. At the nexus of advances in network technology and the pressure from the explosion in data usage from smartphones, service providers (SPs) need to take a close look at business support systems (BSS) and determine how to make mediation work for profitability, instead of getting bogged down in a big data battle. One is the key to unleashing the potential of the other.
Once off the menu, many major carriers are offering unlimited versions of data plans to mobile customers to better compete for subscribers, or stem the flow of customers leaving for a more attractively priced plan elsewhere. This strain on the infrastructure in pursuit of profits perpetuates increased data consumption. In other words, clearing the highways to allow for speeding motorists opens up the roads for more cars, increases the risk for collisions, and bypasses any tolls for reinvestment in the infrastructure.
In order for SPs to tackle this flow of information, they can leverage mediation for several advantages:
- Head off problems before customer experience suffers.
- Avoid bill shock for users.
- Get a head start so their systems can cope.
To take the problem by the horns, mediation can manage usage when any trouble arises. In the event a probe uncovers too many people watching streaming video over wireless, which causes service to suffer, a mediation platform could return customer experience to normal by implementing a policy that limits users weekly in their wireless viewing bandwidth. Controlling these problems immediately via mediation will take BSS to the next level and will control usage.
A recent Mobile Workforce Report from iPass Inc. revealed 43 percent of mobile workers have experienced a high data roaming bill in the past year. When batch processing of records isn’t enough, predefined limits to usage could switch over to real-time processing with the help of convergent mediation, and then switch off once payment is complete. If a mobile user has access to account information that is accurately synced to billing records, that user can conversely plan his usage in advance or curtail excess usage to avoid bill shock.
One function of mediation products is their ability to process records from multiple networks ahead of time. Billing, rating and usage management systems can cope further down the line, which enables SPs to separate service from delivery.
SPs implement new services that all should be linked to revenue management, service assurance architectures and any business intelligence without detriment to service. If SPs synced these services rather than choosing to use many different platforms, they could avoid increased capital and operational expenditures. Mediation is the key to seamless transition and implementation between these services. It also ensures supporting systems can communicate with efficiency. When leveraging mediation platforms, organizations can optimize customer experiences and segment service offerings on top of managing the explosion in data. Organizations can effectively drive profitability rather than endure unsustainable operations.
Mediation platforms are transforming from stagnant or limited in their role to a strategic source of control at the junction of the BSS, operations support system (OSS) and network. Mediation products are cleaning and logging records to reel in data flow that might otherwise render systems broken. They are also providing new capabilities towards strengthening the customer experience, which thereby increase profits from greater customer retention stemming from customer satisfaction.