Progress of the Data-Driven Telco

Analytics, AI and automation (A3) have been integrated into the top-level vision of the telcos for the last 5 years which is beneficial for maintaining focus, on what is, a very complex area.

The “data driven” refrain is somewhat overused but does provide a banner under which the Chief Data Officer (CDO) and other teams throughout the telco can remind the organization of the importance of the work that they are doing.  There will continue to be a steady stream of requirements from across the organization – as new technologies become available and areas such as automation progress in their sophistication.  As well as a rise in needs from outside the organization as telcos begin to play in multiple new ecosystem.

The diagram shows topics discussed in recent interviews – and expected future focus areas.


  • Most telcos have now had experience in selecting the right internal use case and have a view of the best near-term return on investment for A3
  • The area of trust and governance has required a lot of bandwidth from telco data teams in the last few years
  • AI everywhere” is used as a catch-all term for the addition of machine learning (ML) into all parts of the organization and has been a much discussed but not always immediately deliverable
  • There is beginning to be serious discussion around telco data and its place in external data ecosystems
  • The phrase “joined up” organizational culture was used in the diagram to describe the moves that a data team need to make in order to ensure that they have the influence that they need across the organization
  • Telcos have had a rolling program in place for upskilling data analysts, scientists and engineers for the last few years, to improve data literacy for all
  • The agile culture has been a popular IT concept for some time and, in future, there is most likely a need to develop an increasing focus on delivering more complex automations (an automation culture)
  • Useable data – The availability of suitable quality data that allows the delivery of proposed A3 projects without technical or geographical siloes. Alongside quality, the data should not generate any ethnical, legal or regulatory issues. This requires strong data quality programs and good governance
  • The term “data federation” is used on the diagram to describe the continued need for new technologies and processes to bring data together for internal use cases – and increasingly to be made available to external third parties
  • Data tools for all – Increased use of data in teams across the telco will need to be underpinned by tools that help users access and find insight from data. Also, increased intelligence in tools for the data science team to allow them more time to support other users.