Guavus: transforming the business model for communication service providers

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There has been a torrent of publicity given to Big Data over the last several years, most of which has focussed on its scale and the technology, but personally the scale is not that exciting. Telcos have done big for years, and technology is just tin and wire; it’s business benefit that gets me interested. I became aware of Guavus because when they spoke about the analytics capability they emphasised that they were interested not in the usual speculative, but in highly structured readily monetised approaches to using their technology. They are now expanding their vision of what can be achieved and are describing something I find truly exciting. It’s a platform with the capability to scale, handle massive diversity, but still be focussed on clearly understood and definable business problems that can be seen time and again in every Telco.

Guavus is a company still very much in its infancy, but which has a clear focus, the communications service provider, and a very tangible focus, readily-realisable tangible benefit. They have reached nearly 500 employees, they have their R&D based in India, but commercially are centred in California and have international reach with offices in Montreal, Singapore, and in the UK. It is focussed on the telecoms market, and has already got 4 of the top 6 mobile operators in North America amongst its users. They have forged key partnerships with Cisco, Juniper and Teradata. Whilst others offer capability and vague promises about generic benefits, Guavus has very clear, concise messages backed up by use cases that illustrate the value as well as the approach.

As the traditional markets of voice and messaging peak, as the markets become saturated on the demand side and the supply side suffers from over provision, it looks increasingly to be a commodity market place. Telcos continue to be cash rich with solid revenues and an influx of cash each bill run, but the margins are becoming paper thin. To improve margin the service providers have to get out of the commodity side of network provision and seek new revenue streams, hence the importance of quad play, (Fixed line, mobile, broadband and television), look to share their network costs with over the top providers (your network with their content), and through areas like mobile advertising (Weve in the UK).

Guavus is creating a platform designed to meet that challenge, with the ability to provide flexible, responsive solutions, in a distributed but robust fashion, able to handle exponential data growth, overcome siloed data stores, address the need for ever decreasing latency, and meet the need for meeting the challenge of geographic dispersal. Guavus is focussing on leveraging the mass of operational data that holds the key to the things that really impact the customer experience. So network failures are analysed in terms not just of the operational impact and the cost to recover, but also their impact on the customer base, in terms of the life time value of the impacted customers and the best offers to make to those customers to negate the negative impact. Their approach is highly structured, the responses they are looking to deploy are very deterministic. There is nothing vague about what they propose, they are looking for key triggers. Having found them they deploy structured responses designed to do just enough to satisfy the customer, by checking outcomes to ensure that they achieve the goal of stopping negative impact on tenure and profitable behaviour. Because it is very tightly coupled from input, to analysis, to response, to monitor, to refine, to cease many of their applications do not feature a GUI, they are designed to be embedded within the workflows of existing operational systems, automatically generating the value-adding enhancements.

What big data has done has been to make it economic to analyse the vast array of sensors of the operational side of the business, but those sensors will report on both false positives and also on non-customer experience impacting events. The Guavus model of applying key data from the business operations side of the house to the data from the operational side breaks down one of the most fundamental barriers within a service provider and provides the opportunity to positively impact the customer service. That data can be made available very close to real time within the operational side of the business, which makes it impossible to intervene at the times when the customer is most receptive to a well-crafted recovery from failure. This ability to respond rapidly and positively to key operational issues has a real impact on the customer experience, and is far more likely to have a lasting impact on customer satisfaction scores than any advertising campaign or redesigned web page.

Guavus platform integrates Hadoop, finely sliced batch processing, real time streaming analytics, the benefits of columnar databases (which are seen by most as the ideal form of data warehousing storage for analytics), with comprehensive connectors and APIs. The platform can be embedded into the very core of the service provider’s nexus of applications, breaking down the silos, and adding integrated analytics to enhance the way the telco operates. This really is a platform to watch.