Kognitio has announced that British Telecom has renewed its DaaS contract. Kognitio will continue to support BT’s pricing division in the development of new service offerings for business customers, and is in the process of extending the current DaaS services to sales and marketing, customer service and compliance teams within BT. Over the last 12 years Kognitio has helped BT develop a number of highly successful service offerings such as BT One Plan Plus™, and with accuracy margins of two percent the DaaS service enables BT to precisely predict the impact of any new offerings on its own profitability, determine the savings that it can offer customers.
“BT has been a Kognitio DaaS customer for 12 years, and as a result has been able to lead the market in offering some really innovative calling plans such as free intra-business calling through BT One Plan Plus,” said Arthur Winn, head of business pricing at BT. “The complexities of business intelligence mean that specialist skills are essential to get the most out of our data. The same level of detail and response times in-house would require a second IT department dedicated purely to serving our needs. Kognitio’s 20 years of expertise in dealing with massive amounts of data with lightning speed and pinpoint accuracy means that we can ask any question, model any scenario and be confident that we understand the margins of any plan down to the last penny. We can outline to individual customers how we can save them money and we can ensure that we are able to offer the best value packages. This has become even more important in current economic conditions.”
BT has over 1 million business customers ranging from sole traders to multi-site organisations. For all of its accounts, no matter what their profile, BT needed to ensure it was giving them the best possible price plan. Prior to 1997, the pricing department either had to work out price plans themselves using spreadsheets, or employ the IT department to take time to arrange queries, neither of which was an ideal solution. Kognitio’s DaaS has helped BT implement a wide range of price plans for customers, all the way up to this year’s BT One Plan Plus™. With the current economy, customer churn needs to be kept at a minimum; DaaS allows the department to quickly and easily model margins and revenues for prospective price plans, whether in general or for individual customers. The sheer size of the data stored means that BT can rely on highly accurate predictions when submitting a business case, while the accuracy of information greatly reduces the risks associated with new business plans.
The DaaS solution consists of over 60 servers running in parallel supporting the BT environment. Within this environment, the full data of BT’s one million business customers - from call times to pricing - from the last 15 months is stored, along with more basic records going back 4 to 5 years. The parallel servers mean that queries are completed very quickly, ranging in time from less than a second for simple questions to a few hours for more complex, “what-if” questions. Kognitio maintains a core of specialist consultants who maintain the system and liaise with BT to provide prompt, expert service in response to any requests. Thanks to this system, BT has permanent access to all of its customer information, and can access and query it near-instantaneously, without the time and expense of having its own IT department develop the necessary skills and technologies.
The DaaS solution offers four key services, each of which benefits BT. These are:
- Passive reporting: Granular data such as number of minutes used, call plan, call times and so on are automatically recorded and updated for each of BT’s customers from the last 4 to 5 years. This gives a constantly live database that any BT employee can search for simple queries, such as when investigating popular call plans and looking to market new products.
- Active search: The system records the precise details of each of BT’s one million business customers, with data going back over the last 15 months. 20 of BT’s price plan designers have access to this data and can use it to discover customers’ current usage patterns. Designers might use this data to find out when businesses are making the most calls or how use has been affected by pricing changes, using this data to suggest new price plans and develop bespoke pricing for high-value customers.
- Speculative queries: The most powerful aspect of the DaaS solution is to allow BT to present “what if?” queries to Kognitio. By presenting consultants with a string of queries representing the impact of a prospective new price plan, BT can rely on a prediction of its results that will be effective to within two percent and delivered within a few hours, rather than the several days such a query would take in-house. A sample query string could investigate the impact of making Friday afternoon calls free and how more customers making Friday afternoon calls would affect revenue from other times.
- Pricing Edge: The most recent service is Pricing Edge, an application developed by Kognitio that allows BT to make complex queries without the input of a Kognitio engineer. As a result, BT does not even have to rely on Kognitio making speculative queries, but can run query strings entirely on its own. As a result, the process becomes even faster, with queries taking between minutes and a few hours, depending on complexity. For the most complex queries, BT still has access to Kognitio’s own expert consultants.
“In the current financial climate, retaining customers is vital for any business,” said Roger Llewellyn, CEO at Kognitio. “Reducing churn and continuing to attract new business through innovative offers is one way of keeping a business profitable and viable through tough times, and BT is proving itself an expert at this. Yet maintaining the vitality of a business also places strain on various departments and areas, such as IT needing to be free to work as efficiently as possible without feeling torn between different priorities. Outsourcing initiatives such as DaaS are key to reducing capital expenditure on IT in tough times, and to keeping the IT department focused on its core goals. In this light, it is fantastic to see trailblazers such as BT not only maintain their association with the technology, but also take advantage of advances such as Pricing Edge to stay ahead of the curve.”
Kognitio (kognitio.com) is an innovative, technology-rich company, providing leading-edge solutions to business problems that require the acquisition, rationalization and analysis of large or complex data. Kognitio's WX2 is the industry’s fastest and most scalable analytical database on the market, giving firms the ability to turn their raw data into valuable business insight fast, and empowering its customers to realize comprehensive answers to critical business questions.
Globally headquartered in Bracknell, UK, with North American headquarters in Chicago and offices in New York, Kognitio delivers competitive advantage to its clients across a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, financial services and utilities. More information is available by phone at 01344 300 770 and at Kognitio's website.