Guavus – Using analytics to achieve the impossible dream of making cuts without detrimental impact.
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I have been following Guavus for a number of years, because they were amongst the first analytics firms to stop focusing on selling capability and to focus on product capability tailored to address specific challenges. They have grown, and are now attracting attention from other vendors who make direct comparisons and who claim to be just as solution focused. But competition is always healthy so I was interested to see how they were responding to the challenge.
Guavus has been doing well and are in a cash positive position, but they have sought further finance to enable them to expand into markets such as EMEA (to date they have been based in North America and Asia Pacific), and to undertake further R&D. They continue to be proven at some of the world’s largest communications companies, showing that they can collect and manage data at great scale, and then apply analytics that extract meaningful and actionable insights. They are also starting to make big strides in improving the depth of their penetration in their major accounts, so that rather than just being the tool of a few specialists, they are being used in support of hundreds, and increasingly thousands of users within those accounts. They are therefore achieving the goal of all BI and analytics providers, of being truly pervasive, and supporting all those who need to make critical decisions with the insight to make better and quicker decisions at time-sensitive moments.
The world of telecommunications is evolving very rapidly, and this is transforming the requirements for not just analytics, but for the analytics capability attached to key technical components. Mediation devices are the elements that capture details of the traffic passing through a network, and feed it into the back office systems. In the past this was really little more than capturing calls and their key elements such as time of day, calling number, called number, duration etc. to support billing; but as telecommunications switched from voice to data, content and its management becomes critical, so mediation has had to be transformed to help manage complex multi-variable issues. The tying together of highly capital-intensive equipment, passing billions of data rich records each and every day, contextualising that data to provide information that informs critical decisions is key to Guavus’ unique value.
With Telecommunications their data has in reality always been what is now called big data, it has volume, it has variety and it has velocity. Guavus is turning the challenge of those attributes into strength and exploiting what that data represents. As networks have grown larger and more complex, the approach that has been adopted to manage that complexity is by breaking workflows down into smaller units where the span of information is more manageable, and people can comprehend and act relatively promptly to what is going on in an informed fashion. Unfortunately when an end-to-end business process is to break the business down into smaller more manageable units, whilst individual steps can be run effectively, all too often the holistic picture can get lost. One of the things that often does get missed is how the customer actually sees the outcome. What Guavus is focusing on is taking the mass of data, across the various nodes of an activity chain, and analysing the outcomes in terms of the impact on customer experience.
Whilst from a technical and local level some things may appear to be obvious candidates for further investment, or for ring fencing in the event of cuts being called for, what Guavus is finding is that often those planned investments actually have very marginal impact on the customer experience and perceived value, and therefore longevity of tenure from the customer. Just as investments can return a lot less than expected, it is also possible to reduce the level of service being provided without degrading the customer experience as perceived by the vast majority of consumers. What a tool like Guavus enables the business to do is to take data from multiple sampling points, join them up and analyse them, providing an answer in terms of what is likely to be the impact on the behaviour (be that a positive outcome as in increase loyalty and spend, a negative as in churn, or a neutral response) of the end customer. The value of these insights is not just for operational management, but by also adding real value in Service Assurance, Marketing, and Customer Care.
Guavus is increasingly able to take masses of volatile data, give it context and identify what is significant from the customer perspective and what is not. They can create ad-hoc customer segments and track them against control groups to see impacts. All of which is reducing the time wasted by looking at the wrong things, and helping to focus on what really matters. They make it possible to identify what is a pain point and what is not from a customer perspective and to also identify where in a complex system arising issues are significant, and require urgent action and which issues are less of a priority. This level of insight can, and is revolutionizing how Guavus’ customers are seeing things, enabling them to save money whilst not only maintaining, but also actually improving the customer experience.