The Indispensable Future of Network Mediation
Nov 19, 2015
By Tim McElligott
First came instinct, then superstition: two serviceable, but non-optimal drivers of decision making. Then came big data. No, not thee Big Data. But somewhere along the line the census was born and with it the world of statistics and analysis. The Greeks used the census 3600 years ago. The census even got a nod in the Bible and was the impetus for the Book of Numbers. A copy of a Chinese census from 2 CE still survives.
However, we will give credit to the Romans for their use of attributes about 2000 years ago. Humans being a bloodthirsty species, it was only natural that the fist attribute applied to the census would be one that identified all males eligible for military conscription. From there, many attributes were added to what were early, static versions of the data store. You could say modern electronic data meditation evolved from yesterday’s census takers.
Network mediation is distinguished by its increasingly vital role for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) in collecting, filtering, correlating, and sometimes enriching the data it collects. Today, CSPs could not survive without it. As we move into a future where the only certainties are an indispensable reliance on data and the exponential growth in the volume of that data, mediation platforms must continue to scale and strive for real-time delivery of their payload.
In a recent report: Network Mediation: A Platform for the Future, Stratecast examines the market demands that mediation suppliers must address in order to help CSPs leverage network data rather than being overwhelmed by its rushing hordes.
As big as Big Data has grown in the communications industry and beyond, it has become increasingly clear that even the Big Data systems designed to store and manipulate huge stores of data are better served by the winnowing prowess of a unified network mediation platform that can provide intelligent filtering and enrichment. And CSPs are better served by leveraging the purpose-built analytics and data integration that mediation can enable in order to address real-time issues.
Mediation alone cannot address all network issues—in real time or otherwise. That is why the role of mediation is expanding, point solutions are becoming platforms, and ecosystems are developing around these mediation platforms.
Stratecast believes that the biggest innovation in our networking universe has been the ability to collect, analyze and apply rules to data, in timeframes narrow enough to render the exercise meaningful and beneficial. The better and faster that CSPs can accomplish this feat, the more valuable the data becomes.
Since data is the key to so many CSP initiative, such as: improving the customer experience, creating innovative and targeted services, tightening the network planning process, and enabling automation, then having a unified mediation platform that gets data collection off on the right foot is essential. There is another initiative that a mediation platform can help facilitate. It crosses all the other initiatives mentioned above. The various departments and business units within a CSP organization need to be working from the same playbook. They all need access to data. They all need it in a hurry. However, they may require the data to be in different formats or with their enrichments specific to their needs. This process begins with mediation.
Multi-purpose mediation platforms, rather than single point solutions, will rule the day as mediation takes on more responsibility for upfront decision-making that determines which data is useful and necessary, for which processes.
As a platform for the future, network mediation holds real promise. However, if it fulfills that promise, mediation will look far different than it does today—as different as the ancient Romans look from today’s most famous census taker. Mediation will become an integration layer for all the various silos of the operations and monetization stack, including billing, policy control, charging, fraud, revenue assurance, analytics, and business intelligence.
This May marks my 22th year with Frost & Sullivan. Being part of a fast-growing company and dynamic industry, an entrepreneurial culture, and a fun environment is invigorating and worth every moment. My professional and volunteer experience includes business and strategy planning, product and vertical market analysis, growth consulting, event planning and execution, sales and marketing, web design, and most importantly, creating and inspiring teams to be best in class. Consulting projects have ranged from strategy development to white papers to end user analyses. My focus now is to guide visionary CXOs and IT leaders through the next era of digital transformation with the help of a IT experts and analysts across all industries. Prior to joining Frost and Sullivan, I worked for Smith Barney for 5 years in its accounting division handling incentive compensation plans. In this position I was responsible, from an accounting and payroll perspective, for the capital accumulation and deferred compensation plans of top management and account executives. Thereafter, I worked as an account executive at Edward Jones, a brokerage company for approximately one year. In these positions, I learned much about the operations of a financial company, financial instruments, and sales techniques.