In the previous post, we examined the common drivers for enterprise information projects. Additionally, distinct industries have particular business challenges whose solutions can be impeded by the absence of a sound information management strategy and program plan. The business objectives within any industry remain aligned with the same core dimensions of value (namely increasing revenues, decreasing operational costs, managing risk, and enhancing profitable customer experiences).
Reviewing some examples of discrete challenges facing different verticals allows you to see how the business drivers can be specifically linked to establishing best practices for information management. Naturally, all of these industries differ in terms of the types of business applications relying on good data management practices. And they all share key dependencies: predictability of data availability, data accessibility, timeliness and currency, and importantly, consistency from a structural and semantic perspective.
The telecommunications industry is no stranger to the need for information management. These companies have a long history of collecting massive amounts of transaction data associated with call detail records to both execute functionally (ensuring high quality communications connectivity) as well as operationally (managing accounts, issuing statements, and collecting payments).
Yet the industry continues to adapt in ways that seem to expand beyond its original focus, including providing a wider range of services such as wireless, television, internet, among others. The amount of information now available collides with the key drivers facing the industry, including:
- Coordination across provided services – Providing the perception of a unified provision of services requires the ability to unify customer/product information across all areas of the business.
- Improved marketing of bundled services – Telecommunications marketing becomes more complex as the array of services and potential product bundles widens. Again, visibility into customer account information, relationships among customers, and customer profiles and preferences will enable more productive marketing campaigns.
- Compliance with regional and local taxation – A variety of governmental taxes, fees, and other charges must be applied according to geography, and this demands accuracy in account and invoicing data.
- Enhanced customer experience management – Customer profitability analysis helps drive VIP levels of service to the best customers, which again requires accuracy of insight into the customer/product mix.
- Fraud analysis – The growing range of provided services creates new opportunities for abuse and fraud, especially in the context of revenue leakage, which requires governed management of enterprise data for rapid and accurate analyses.
Energy and utilities
The combination of deregulation, eco-awareness, and technical improvements in data collection and monitoring via smart meters is driving monumental changes in the energy and utilities industries requiring improved information management capabilities. Some specific drivers include:
- Data volumes from smart metering – The trend of installing smart meters heralds a new age in data management for energy utilities, as both the volume and the speed of data generation will explode. The combination of size and velocity of this data will drive a reengineering of the enterprise data management infrastructure.
- Increased needs for monitoring energy grids – With increased violent weather patterns, there is a dramatic increase in events leading to widespread outages. Proactive monitoring of the energy grid for sentinel patterns indicating imminent outages can help utilities more effectively allocate resources for remediation efforts.
- Sensor monitoring pipeline networks – As more cross-continental pipeline projects appear imminent, there is a corresponding need for the information management components to monitor and analyze data streaming from thousands more (or perhaps orders of magnitude more) sensors strategically placed along the entire length of the pipeline network.
- Eco-awareness and corresponding analytics – Energy companies, in reaction to increased eco-awareness, have begun to provide analytical feedback to customers in terms of absolute and relative energy consumption. This requires data accessibility and the ability to deliver reports to extra-enterprise data users.
These are just two industries where business needs are dictating information management adoption. In the next post, we will look at other industries and how the modern organization can cope with the growing needs of information management.