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Data Monetisation: Unlocking the Real Value of Business Information

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open-data-monetisation-donnees-publiquesBy Ayanda Dlamini, Business Development Manager, LGR Telecommunications


As mobility, big data and mobile broadband continue to grow in significance, they are changing the personal and enterprise computing landscape.  At the same time, data monetisation is emerging as a major topic of discussion, because each of these trends has potential to provide extraordinary value for businesses.  Smart businesses – large or small – are already doing it and making money. In South Africa, we are seeing growing interest in the potential for unlocking the real valuein our enterprise data. We’re becoming aware that we have this gold mine we haven’t tapped into well enough.

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Data monetisation means simply, gaining tangible value directly from the data an organisation has access to – either in analysed or raw form.  This value could be in identifying a potential new customer, learning of a cross-sell or up-sell opportunity, or perhaps identifying a chance to save on costs.  Businesses can transform information into income by predicting customer behaviour patterns and developing the best ways to satisfy customer needs.  In the telecommunications space, this could mean extracting more revenue per user as voice and SMS revenues drop. It could mean identifying customer churn before it happens, and retaining or attracting high value customers.

This can be done by examining your data to establish the probability of a specific reaction.  For example, as the owner of a takeaway food store, you may identify that 60 percent of the time when a customer buys a burger, they also purchase chips. This statistic can then be related back to service levels, such as linking the times you run out of chips or potatoes.  Then combine the two to rectify the issue and maintain higher levels of customer satisfaction and up-sell availability.

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Identifying particular customer triggers can also establish more defined sales cycles and drive revenue.  For example, mobile users who frequently make calls to friends in another network and also complain about their mobile services on social media can be identified by collating and analysing data from various sources. The operator can then offer suitable services and specials designed to retain the customer.

These concepts can be scaled out to any level.

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The true value of your customer data comes when you have access to third-party information to combine and cross-reference with your own, and enrich the information you already have.

Mobile phone carriers for instance, have unparalleled amounts of customer and network data, yet they’re still working out effective ways to use it for greater benefit and true revenue generation. There are many untapped opportunities for enterprises across industry verticals to collaborate and share data on a common platform in ways that benefit them all.

Selling that data is a possible starting point (compliant with current privacy laws of course).  For example, a telco may decide to make available to local retail businesses general demographic information such as age groups in a certain neighbourhood. This in turn allows local retailers to tailor their sales and marketing approach and potentially create new revenue streams based on that third-party data.


The telecommunications industry is a persistent example of where data with a high value to third parties exists and is continually updated.  While it usually comes at a price, mobile service providers have intimate knowledge of customers which is not readily available to other sectors such as retail, banking or health care.

The emergence of mobile location-based services continues to have a significant impact on advertising and marketing for these providers and their chosen partners because they have a clear image of the customer’s digital footprint.  For example, telecommunications services are being bundled with tailored online banking services in some countries.  Such partnerships allow each enterprise to constantly tap into the other’s behaviour as a secondary influencer of marketing goods and services and identifying new customers.  It’s an effective, clean way to gain a deeper understanding of the customer.

Even without the impact of data from a third party, working your own business’s data is a clear way to help define new revenue streams, identify broader sales opportunities, more effectively predict customer behaviour and drive customer satisfaction levels.  The analysis can be as simple or as complex as you allow, but some form of analysis is essential as we move further into a business environment where personal and business data are increasingly detailed.  In the face of a new Federal government, the instability of the international economy, and rising business operating costs, a clear and all-inclusive view of your customer will be a significant contributor to the next stage in your business operations.  The key to success is to work the data.  If you’re not, your competition is.



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