Big data can translate into big revenue

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Mining data to find revenue

Almost 20 years ago, I had a position in Competitive Intelligence at a telecom company. Great brand, competitive, focused on so many of the right things. We got weekly reports, saw our progress; knew our targets and; how each of the 4500 employees  was contributing.

It was a Monday morning. I parked at work, walked into the building and crossed paths with Sergei. We greeted each other with “Good morning, how are you?”s. Now Sergei is an interesting man. A PhD in Engineering from eastern Europe, a quiet, gentle, humble professional. We knew each other from a previous employer too.

A few minutes later, I am at my computer, reading the Monday Morning Stats report. It showed sales updates for the week, cumulative paying subscribers (including employees) by region etc. I saw the total subscriber number for our province and thought of Sergei … who managed our switch. I called his extension:

K:  “Sergei, how much work is involved in pulling a report from the switch on active phone numbers?”

S: “What kind of data would you like?”

K: “I would like to know exactly now many cell phones lines are active on our switch.”

S: “Yes, I can get that.”

K: “How much work is it”

S: “It’s no trouble”

The report was in my inbox that very shortly after.

The results were SHOCKING.

The national report showed our paying subscriber count was 25% less than the active phone on the switch. I interpreted this as leaving 25% of revenue on the table. In other words, 25% of people using or phones were not paying to use our network. The revenue gap would be staggering.

At that point my plan was to:

  • pull a billing report with the following fields:
    • name
    • phone number
    • address
    • billing plan name
    • amount of last bill
  • pull a switch report with all the active phone numbers
  • match the report and eliminate the numbers that showed up on both reports
  • that would leave us with the active numbers for which there was no account billing
  • then we could have worked through each active phone number and identify why they had no bill
  • have the call centre agents call each number and speak to the user
  • if the phone is not active, then it shows your switch is not pulling the report properly and you go talk to Sergei, give him the update.
  • if the phone is active then you tell the person on the other end that there has been a billing error and you will be activating them on a rate plan. They can choose their plan or cancel, but they don’t get to enjoy free telecom service.

One way you can use big data to get big results.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email with your question. I would love to hear from you.


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