New data architectures are improving ‘data shareability’ – and telecom operators are becoming smarter for it.

By Gavin Hayhurst, Head of Product Marketing, TEOCO

Years ago, when you had a question that couldn’t be answered by a friend or family member, you had to go to the library and look it up.  Want to know the population of New Zealand or why the sky is blue?  You’d better be ready to trek to your local library. It took a lot of time and effort to learn things back then – requiring card catalogs, encyclopedias, and lots of change for the copy machine.  Now, we just sit on our couch and ask Alexa or Siri.  But for many businesses, when it comes to accessing their own internal information, things are still back in the Dewey Decimal days.

While businesses may be awash with data, most of it lives in separate software systems designed to solve specific problems in specific departments. According to IDC, 16% of a knowledge worker’s time is spent searching for the information they need. That’s six hours of wasted time every week –over 300 hours in a year. And apparently, for those of us who have data that people want, we aren’t very good at sharing it. Knowledge hoarding or hiding, according to Harvard Business Review, is commonplace in organizations – especially if sharing puts demands on someone’s time.

What if information from these various software systems, in all its forms, could be automatically shared, analyzed, and accessed by everyone all the time – without having to log into each system individually or bug Joe in Network Engineering with more annoying questions? And what if we could then use this information without having to go through the manual copy/paste, shuffle, swivel chair, old way of doing things? What if it were just- easy?

For those of you who know something about data management, you might assume data lakes are the answer. Big pools of unstructured data swimming around just waiting to be useful. While still effective and commonly used, data lakes that aren’t managed properly can lead to high storage costs and lots of outdated, disorganized information – otherwise known as data swamps. And for those of us without a background in IT, they aren’t exactly user friendly.

Gartner has identified composable data architecture as one of the biggest trends in data and analytics for 2021.  Composable data is a way of architecting data so that it can be disseminated from different resources and sent via data feeds to remote machines or devices only when requested by the end-user. In other words, users shouldn’t worry about where data is and how to access it. And with composable data, information is not sitting idle, taking up valuable storage space and becoming outdated while it’s waiting to be accessed. And this can all be built with low-code or no-code tools, meaning that the information is easily accessible to the entire workforce, not just the data experts.

Composable data architectures are underpinned by a data fabric. Gartner defines this as ‘a design concept that serves as an integrated layer (fabric) of data and connecting processes.’ It provides seamless access across multiple clouds, datacenters or edge-based devices and systems. This fabric may include both raw and analyzed data sourced from disparate applications across the organization that is then used to discover “unique relationships and insights”. It improves business decision-making by providing a way for anyone in the company to access the information they need when they need it – and to comprehend that information more quickly.

At TEOCO, our customers are asking for ways to leverage the valuable analytics and other data that is provided by our machine-learning powered solutions.  For instance, Mentor is a software tool for mobile network operators that captures and analyzes call trace data for network optimization and troubleshooting. It provides valuable map-based information about the impact of subscriber demands on specific cell sites, with the ability to drill down into problem areas.

While Radio Access Network (RAN) optimization and troubleshooting is the goal of Mentor, many of our customers understand the broader value of sharing this data across the organization and amongst other internal software tools and systems.  This is valuable information that can be leveraged by all types of teams and organizations within the operator – not just the network planning engineers. Departments like Marketing can better understand subscriber behavior and travel patterns and leverage that information to focus their marketing efforts, and the C-Suite can combine Mentor data with marketing data, financials and forecasting models to determine the optimal network evolution strategy. To facilitate these types of use cases, we have developed a number of data feeds to provide easy, on-demand access to different types of data and analytics – from raw data files to highly curated, contextual, machine-learning based insights.  The goal is to provide easily shareable information, at a granularity that suits the user, through modern Kafka Stream APIs.

As author Louis L’Amour once said, “Knowledge is like money. To be of value, it must circulate.”  TEOCO has architected its RAN solutions to encourage collaboration, and we are committed to ensuring the insights generated can be of value to entire organizations. By accessing multiple data, analytics, and AI solutions to create a flexible, user-friendly experience, leaders will be able to connect data insights to business actions. To learn more about our Mentor Suite and how it could help you to better leverage your network data insights across the organization visit our website.