The majority of businesses worldwide – regardless of the sector in which they operate – rely on data in some capacity to make sound business decisions. Whether it’s to scale and drive growth,increase operational efficiency, reduce overheads, or something else entirely, quality data helps businesses trust in the decisions they are making. In fact, 44% of businesses state that most of their business decisions are driven by data.
But not all data is equal. Bad data, i.e. data that is inaccurate, unstructured or out of date, is just plain bad for business – whereas quality data is where the opportunities lie. To get from the former to the latter, organizations need effective data management.
The importance of data management is taken up a level when it comes to companies in the telecommunications space. Operators rely heavily on data management to run their businesses efficiently and effectively. From billing and revenue assurance to audits and regulatory compliance, having accurate, organized, and timely data is essential for telecom organizations to maintain profitability, customer satisfaction, and regulatory standards.
Poor data management can have severe consequences for telecom operators, such as significant financial losses and tarnished reputations.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the key areas in which telco companies are currently experiencing revenue leakage due to ineffective data management practices, and what can be done to rectify these issues.
Revenue and billing assurance
Revenue assurance is the process of ensuring that companies are accurately and consistently billing their customers and receiving the correct amount of revenue. For a lot of telco businesses, poor data management can lead to errors in billing, resulting in undercharging or overcharging customers. This can also impact the customer experience, but more about that later. A recent case study found that just through underbilling alone, one telco company experienced revenue leakage of just over 3% of total revenue. That is a significant amount of money that could have been used to add more value to the business such as hiring more people or investing in new technology.
Inaccurate billing can lead to disputes with customers, causing a decrease in customer satisfaction and potentially leading to a loss of customers. This is a serious issue for telco companies, as the industry has a negative reputation for customer satisfaction, therefore providing a positive customer experience is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in the industry. Ultimately, this often results in lost revenue for the company as customers churn to competitors that prioritize the customer experience. In addition to lost revenue, billing errors can also lead to regulatory issues for businesses, which then run the risk of inviting lawsuits. This is a costly and often time-consuming process that can greatly impact a company’s bottom line.
So, what can telco companies do to improve revenue and billing assurance? Invest in an effective data management solution.
Take Vodafone Iceland for example, the operator used a data management solution with continuous monitoring functionality to positively impact revenue and billing assurance. By implementing a data management solution, the operator was able to reduce revenue leakage by identifying and correcting errors in billing before they reached the customer, which in turn also increased customer satisfaction.
Another key takeaway from this particular case study was that the solution improved the overall quality of data. Continuous monitoring ensured no more bad customer data was flowing between internal systems (which resulted in incorrect and missing billings). Instead, continuous monitoring enabled a clear and concise view of complex customer data and alerted data owners to any data errors. Vodafone Iceland experienced a 74% drop in billing data processing errors within a 12-month period. This facilitates a reduced billing period, which leads to a faster and more efficient billing process and ultimately, increased revenue for the company.
Telecom companies are subject to various audits to ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards. Data breaches are just one reason why audits are so critical for this industry in particular, due to the sensitive nature of the data that telco companies hold on their customers.
The cost of data breaches is currently at an all-time high, averaging USD$4.35 million, and that figure is thought to be significantly higher for telco companies. And this is why audits are so important, they are an essential tool that helps to prevent data breaches and ensure compliance with national and international regulations.
However, audits are often unplanned so, organizations must be ready to provide up-to-date data on demand. Ineffective data management can make the whole auditing process increasingly challenging, time-consuming, and prone to human error. This then leads to higher costs for the business and the risk of non-compliance if they can’t deliver the required data within the given timeframe. Inaccurate or disorganized data can also make it difficult for telecom companies to identify and address any issues that may arise during the audit process.
Having a quality data management solution in place takes a lot of the pressure off telco companies when they have to provide data for auditing purposes. One such solution is exMon, a platform that offers continuous monitoring and real-time data insights. With exMon, companies can easily access and provide data for audits on-demand, making the process more efficient, less time-consuming, and ultimately, less daunting.
One of the key benefits of continuous monitoring is that it provides real-time insights into the state of data and its performance, making it easier for companies to identify and address any issues that may arise during the audit process. By constantly monitoring data for any potential issues, it is making it easier for companies to identify and address problems before they can escalate into major issues. This helps to reduce the risk of non-compliance and the cost associated with audits.
The consequences of poor data management for telecom companies go beyond just billing and audit issues. Incorrect, disorganized, or unstructured data can also lead to financial losses in other areas, such as inventory and supply chain management. Lack of effective data management practices makes it hard for telecom companies to accurately track and manage their inventory and supply chain, leading to inefficiencies and financial losses. Whereas poor inventory data management can lead to stock-outs and overstocking, resulting in lost sales and increased carrying costs.
According to a report by Gartner, poor data quality can cost organizations an average of $15 million per year due to poor decision-making, lost productivity, and wasted resources. It also states that businesses will spend an average of $1.3 billion on data management and governance initiatives over the next two years. Lack of data quality is the cause of most data management and governance initiatives failing to deliver the desired results. This is a significant amount of money that could have been used to improve the business, invest in new technology or hire more people.
Making decisions based on that bad data inevitably leads to financial losses due to failed projects or initiatives as the data wasn’t sound. When the data is inaccurate, outdated, or unorganized, it makes it difficult for companies to make informed decisions, leading to costly mistakes and missed opportunities. A data management solution addresses this issue by ensuring all data is correct, up-to-date, and organized. The right solution can send email alerts to users when something isn’t right with data sets, allowing for any issues to be addressed quickly, thus reducing the risk of financial losses.
It’s not just monetary losses that telecoms businesses need to keep an eye on as a result of poor data management. Neglecting data management can also harm the reputation of telco companies. Customers expect accuracy and reliability from their telecom providers, and errors or inconsistencies in billing or other areas can lead to a loss of trust. A recent study found that poor data quality is the leading cause of poor customer experience, with 81% of respondents citing data quality as a major issue.
As mentioned earlier, if a company fails to properly secure customer data, it may be vulnerable to data breaches, which can result in the loss or theft of sensitive information such as financial or personal details. This often leads to negative media attention and damages the company’s reputation, as customers may lose trust in the company’s ability to protect their data. According to a report by PwC, 85% of consumers will not do business with a company if they have concerns about its cyber security practices. If a telecommunications company is not transparent about how it uses and manages customer data, it may face criticism and reputational damage due to concerns about privacy. This is exactly why data privacy is a growing concern among customers, and companies that do not take it seriously may face backlash and a loss of trust.
A tarnished reputation can be difficult to recover from and can lead to a decline in customer loyalty and revenue, which greatly impacts the bottom line and overall business profitability. The damage to a company’s reputation can last for years and can be costly to repair. But it’s not all doom and gloom. This is where a quality data management solution can prevent reputational damage by increasing the accuracy and reliability of data, securing customer data to prevent breaches, ensuring transparency and compliance with data privacy regulations, and improving overall customer experience by providing accurate and reliable information.
Telecom companies cannot afford to overlook the importance of data management when it comes to revenue leakage. The media and governing bodies have already made examples of various telecom companies that have experienced data breaches and other cybersecurity threats. But it’s not just about who finds out if your company is doing things by the book. The right data management solution can take your standard telecom operator to the next level, supporting enhanced customer experiences, increased bottom lines, world-class reputations, and regulatory compliance.
If you’re a telecoms operator looking for a data management solution that will help you to plug the leaks, then reach out to one of our experts to book a solution demo and learn more about our product portfolio.
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