By: David Norris, Practice Leader - Analytics, Bloor Research
Published: 9th August 2012
Copyright Bloor Research © 2012
To be competitive it is essential that business is able to make better informed decisions, and that they strive to constantly improve productivity. Technology enables us to bring together vast quantities of data, and nowhere is that truer that in a Telco, where the data about customers, networks, calls, markets, competitors, channels, indeed every aspect of a complex operation is a possible source. The issue is that to answer even relatively basic questions like "who are my best customers" and "where are they based", can involve complex operations just to bring the data together, and then, when it is analysed, too many tools fail to present answers that are readily digested by those who need to make critical decisions. That then requires layers of people to be put in place to interpret technical answers, and convert the data being provided into information more readily understood, all of which adds to cost and introduces delay and does nothing to improve productivity.
What is required is a tool capable of handling big data, in all of its diversity and scale, and that is capable of undertaking sophisticated and multivariate analysis but which then presents the results in visual format so that it can be readily assimilated by a business focussed audience. This is where Alteryx is positioning its Alteryx Strategic Analytics: Communications Edition, the first of their vertical market offerings.
I have written about Alteryx before, and have been very impressed by what they have to offer. They are entering a market that is dominated by established players such as SAS and IBM with SPSS, both of which are very capable offerings. Anyone wishing to compete has to be able to match them on basic number crunching capability, offer that at a competitive price point, and add additional capability to the mix without adding to the complexity. The two big things that Alteryx brings is the inclusion of the spatial element into the Big Data number crunching, and the use of visualisation as the best means of representing the results, aiming to make it easier to see what is being presented for the lay users.
With the Communications Edition they are bringing that capability to market in a way that, out of the box, gives a wireline, wireless, or cable service provider the vast majority of what it needs to tackle the most important questions like where should I site a store, where should I bolster my network, what are the issues that lead to my valuable customers looking to churn; questions that are key to running a service provider and which we have been trying to address for years. Whilst we can often get many answers to these questions, we are very often unsuccessful in presenting that insight in ways that are readily actioned by business managers who are not comfortable with the presentation of statistical information.
What the Communications Edition offers is industry-specific content from leading provider, GeoResults (at present this is for North America), including a lot of third party data about networks, service areas, household spending, office locations, etc. Unique analytics tools have been added to process data from network planning tools and drive test post-processing. Preconfigured analytic apps offer out of the box solutions for the things that service providers use data analysis tools to do, such as market size valuations and prioritisation, service availability analysis, and demographic coverage analysis.
Having all of this capability in one place, delivered in a tool that is highly visual in the way that it represents its result sets, can have a very significant positive impact on the productivity of a service provider. Using traditional tools, the only way to stay competitive is to employ ever increasing numbers of highly paid data specialists, who may believe themselves to be productive, but the cost of employing them makes their contribution increasingly marginal. By comparison, Alteryx is offering a solution that delivers a whole lot more without having to pay out ever increasing sums for manpower. This continues the trend of Alteryx offerings that impress me, making them a serious threat to the established players, and will force everyone to raise their game and make analytics ever more accessible.
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