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Ufone Uses Advanced Analytics to Study and Capitalize on Customer Behavior

Faisal Khaliq, CIO with Ufone - Photo by Sam Phelp

To that end, Ufone has deployed an IBM Power* 795 server running AIX* to host several key applications, including IBM InfoSphere* Streams, the IBM Unica* Campaign Management solution and various IBM WebSphere* middleware tools. IBM Power Systems* technology was the ideal choice given the tremendous growth the telecom companies in Pakistan are experiencing, from “a million subscribers 10 years ago to the 120 million we have today,” Khaliq notes.

This is especially true now that Ufone is dealing with big data and advanced analytics to bolster its marketing efforts. As Khaliq explains, “We needed a very robust, powerful and high-performing platform that could handle all of the data we were expecting to be dealing with, especially because we would be working with it in near-real time based on customer behavior.”

“Once you know the likes and dislikes of a particular customer segment, you can quickly home in on the best offerings to present to them.”
—Faisal Khaliq, Ufone CIO

Most often, this involves engaging customers who don’t take full advantage of Ufone’s services or those perceived as likely to leave the network. Based on call detail records (CDRs), the company might bundle services or offer different call plans that appeal to individual preferences (e.g., people who send 10 text messages in 10 minutes or those who use their phone only once or twice per billing period).

When customers receive these offers via voice or text, they can either choose to respond or not. In either case, that information is captured, logged and attached to individual customer records. That granular data is then used to further potential campaign efforts providing Ufone the capability to respond rapidly to customer actions and preferences.

“We might notice that someone is likely to opt in for more data, so we’d send a text that might say, ‘You’re a great customer and we have a fantastic offer that will allow you to enjoy all-you-can-eat data for the next few days.’ Then, if someone likes the offer, they might respond with a positive text. If they don’t like it, they can respond with a negative text. We can then see how many people opted in or out and tailor future marketing initiatives based on the results,” he says.

A Deeper Look

Prior to adopting InfoSphere Streams and Unica technology, Ufone had been using a data-warehousing solution from a third party that ran its models and output the data in a list format. That CDR-based information, which might be three hours old, would be sent to the company’s customer-care department, which would then execute campaigns either internally via the marketing department or with the assistance of outside contractors.

This siloed approach to its marketing efforts left rifts in an overall, enterprise view of what was working and what wasn’t. “Customer care was doing something, marketing was doing something else and third parties might be doing yet another thing,” Khaliq recalls. “As a result, we didn’t have an across-the-board view of how many customers were being targeted and how many were being targeted multiple times.”

This somewhat fragmented approach to marketing left little room for further analysis regarding the success of the campaigns. For example, it couldn’t determine on an individual level who opted in or out of marketing offers, leaving the company with little knowledge of how effective a particular campaign was and if it resulted in any new business.

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.

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