Communications Networks: An Untapped Pool of Data to Optimize Business Performance

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Click to learn more about author Rob Chen.

We are operating in a data-driven world where leveraging the insights from a growing pool of data sources is driving improvements in business processes, costs and customer experiences. For many organizations, however, there is still a hidden, untapped stream of valuable business data from communication networks and unified communications (UC) systems to be leveraged – if you know where to look.

Digging a little deeper, communications networks today generate a plethora of valuable data that can be used to monitor and optimize business performance. As an example, by implementing comprehensive real-time monitoring capabilities into voice call quality and reliability, for instance, companies can ensure that everyone tapping into the network experiences reliable quality across a wide range of end-user communications applications and services.

As voice over internet protocol (VoIP) has overtaken the enterprise to displace traditional TDM (land-line based) telco systems, this shift in infrastructure has provided the foundation for an ever-growing number of businesses to tap into new types of data in meaningful ways.

What Type of Data?

Before VoIP, we were hamstrung by the limited amount of voice data available and constrained in our ability to monitor performance or quality based on what data was available. Thanks to the digital voice era and the availability of technologies like session initiation protocol (SIP) for connectivity, voice or messaging channels can now serve as another digital data asset. So, while many are looking at tapping into other pools of data within the organization to improve customer service, experience, and expectations, don’t overlook the abundance of data that can be pulled into other systems, and analyzed and monitored in real-time to improve overall processes.

In businesses with high-volumes of call traffic – no matter if you’re a sales team, a contact center or a large enterprise – we can define and utilize standard call metrics to provide insights around call completion statistics, average hold times, audio quality via mean opinion scores (MOS) and more.

Another area to explore is more contextual to business process, analyzing the origination and termination data, which can be insightful when run in conjunction with business functions like sales and marketing. Use cases include having the ability to use unique numbers for tracking campaigns, leads, and keywords from all different mediums of marketing. Understanding where calls are coming from, which campaigns or keywords are getting the most activity, length of calls and rates of conversion can provide the added context when layered against sales, marketing or other business campaigns or objectives and the return on investment that the business receives from each effort.

Putting the Data to Work

Putting the data into action starts by analyzing the overall statistics and then cross-referencing against geographic areas, departments, and even down to aggregated segments of employees if needed. The data gleaned can help improve overall efficiency and effectiveness and improve customer experience (CX).

The insights from the data can then be used to augment business processes. Combined with the new capabilities in today’s CPaaS (communications platform as a service) offerings, an organization can now easily add new phone numbers or expand network capacity (via SIP, for instance) on the fly to meet peak demands, whether this is due to fast growth or to handle an uptick in call volume due to market or seasonal impacts.

The data can also be fed into analytics engines or other systems such as workforce management systems. Many organizations are using natural language processing (NLP) to analyze voice recordings and feeding this data into analytics engines. Adding network information can add valuable insights by correlating network data and voice data. For instance, adding call quality against sentiment analysis of recordings and transcriptions can help businesses correlate customer satisfaction scores to call quality. This can help flag issues ahead of time and provide additional insights to help improve business operations from forecasting demand to optimizing human intervention.

How to Access the Data?

Work with your communications service provider as a key first step to better understand what data is available. They may have best practices on how best to leverage this data for your specific industry or ideas for how to help you accomplish your goals.

You can also build systems internally that tie in all the various data points, but today’s modern service providers set themselves apart from the competition by having all this data available from pre-built reports as well as APIs. In fact, many have additional value-added reporting, analytics, and workflows that will help your data work harder for you, and not make you work hard for the data.

Conclusion

Data is helping change how businesses improve their overall processes. While many look for customer interaction data from traditional customer relationship management systems (CRMs), there is a rich source of data that can be leveraged from the foundational communications network every business runs on. These datasets are no longer just for the IT department, but can be leveraged to improve overall processes and, in turn, improve customer satisfaction and your bottom line.

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