The Intelligence Playbook for Communications Service Providers

Here’s how a smart data strategy, AI, and intelligent analytics help providers deliver fast, flexible, and frictionless customer experiences.


Communications service providers are facing the ultimate paradox: Connecting with customers in real time and creating unified customer journeys are among their top priorities and their top challenges.

Why? Data silos were caused by mergers, acquisitions, and a culture that prioritized internal competition. In fact, nearly all (89%) IT leaders say data silos inhibit digital transformation initiatives. And that’s held service providers back from connecting the dots at the same time they are working to become more customer-centric.

This is a hurdle providers must overcome because accessing locked-away data is the key to delivering the convenient, consistent, and customized experiences that customers expect. In fact, those that pivot to a customer-centric, data-driven approach can perform better on key business metrics like revenue growth, customer retention, and profitability.

How can communications service providers build a cohesive data strategy that unites the organization, anticipates customer needs, and keeps them one step ahead of the competition? This playbook has everything you need to unlock, understand, and take action on your data.


Chapter 1: Unlock Your Data

A typical customer transaction crosses 35 technology systems and only one-third of that data is integrated. Employees toggling between systems or not having access to certain data leads to disconnected customer experiences. The most common scenario is subscribers having to repeat personal information when they call with a question about their service.

How can communications service providers unlock the critical insights across the organization that will improve the customer experience, no matter where or how they interact?


What does a “complete view of the customer” really mean? It includes every customer interaction and preference that relates to a company — calls, page views, campaign interactions, event attendance, buying power, tech use, and more. Basically, anything and everything that helps to better serve, identify, and predict customer needs.

Service providers can connect siloed data and siloed teams in order to achieve that 360-degree customer view by replatforming in the cloud. This requires a business support systems (BSS) layer that integrates existing digital marketing, commerce, and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms in order to:

  • Consolidate the number of tools to avoid toggling between platforms
  • Empower employees to deliver the right experiences at the right time by utilizing AI to anticipate the next-best actions
  • Make relevant customer data easily accessible across the organization

With an agile, cloud-based solution, providers reduce the technical debt that results in rework and increased costs. That’s why research suggests 70% of communications service providers are considering public cloud deployments for their BSS transformations.


Increase automation, decrease churn and boost efficiency

Discover how automation and other tools can improve productivity and service — and fend off new competitors.

Traditionally, organizations integrate data using custom point-to-point code, but custom code is the enemy of speed and agility. It breaks easily and creates bottlenecks because there are few within the organization who can apply and update it.

An application programming interface (API) strategy helps providers build reusable integration assets that ultimately save time and money in the long run. The APIs act as building blocks, wrapping various components, such as inventory data or order status, so they are easily discovered, understood, consumed, and secured. Different teams easily access data and digital capabilities, while IT manages and secures the data at scale. This gives companies even more agility because they can connect different applications together without having to write custom APIs. In fact, 74% of IT leaders say APIs improve productivity.

But exposing the network to third-party developers requires secure API integration. Use of industry standards such as TM Forum Open APIs is critical — yet most CSPs still use homegrown, proprietary APIs, which can slow down agility and hinder future innovation in rapidly changing markets. Industry standard APIs are available through an enterprise product catalog and exposed, or sold in a consumption model, to an ecosystem of developers to explore and create apps.

74% of IT leaders said APIs improve productivity.
2023 Connectivity Benchmark Report” MuleSoft Research, 2023

An effective API management platform helps communications service providers by:

  • Improving operational efficiency and enabling new market opportunities powered at web speed instead of brittle point-to-point approaches
  • Unlocking data and processes from operations and BSS to create consistent customer experiences across channels
  • Accelerating new product and channel development by empowering external ecosystems (for example, the network of producers, consumers, products, and services in a marketplace)



To successfully enable a lean tech stack using an API strategy, providers must bring employees together. The key is to encourage every department to share, collaborate, and deliver integrated experiences down to the most junior employees. How?

  • Share goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) with peers outside your team — even those that don’t normally work together
  • Explore ways to help each other by fostering cross-functional collaboration; Slack can be used as the interface that brings together different departments that would otherwise be working in silos and in different systems into one centralized location to collaborate and quickly resolve the issue
  • Make data actionable by understanding what customers need, when they need it, and why

However, when it comes to meeting customer expectations, the buck doesn’t stop at the technology. Once service providers have the right infrastructure, they need to rethink how they organize, access, and make use of their data. More on that in the next section.


Next: Chapter 2: Understand Your Data

Make sense of your data with easy-to-use tools.

See how to:

  • Use data visualization to surface trends
  • Enable sales and service departments to maximize productivity
  • Apply artificial intelligence to understand next best actions

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