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  • Making Big Data work for Energy & Utilities

    For banks and financial institutions managing data is almost second nature, enabling concrete decisions to be taken on the basis of anything from a single credit report to corporate investment records. The same is true for telco and utilities firms who might instead be looking at even larger datasets such as the detailed tracking of electrical and natural gas consumption on hourly basis.

    We start talking about Big Data, however, when these internal data channels become integral to new processes and products, perhaps involving external data sources, such as website scraping, social media or other public data. Over the last few years there has been a growing interest in how the likes of Amazon, Google et al leverage these vast seas of information and insight to the advantage of their core business.

    What to do with this all new data?

    While there are a great deal of systems available to gather this new data, the bigger question remains what to do with it once you have it. Those (by no means minor) issues of data security and privacy aside, we can be certain that data in itself or efficient data management are not the business case here. Especially when we move into the world of predictive and prescriptive analytics, the critical outcome remains the actionable knowledge that can be extracted from that data.

    We believe that once the hype has died down we will start to see more compelling usage case scenarios evolve and these are what energy & utilities companies should be looking for right now. In our article we propose some concrete steps to start doing exactly that, which means innovating processes in areas such as:

    • Marketing & Sales Analytics
    • Credit & Fraud Analytics
    • Corporate Function Analytics.

    Marketing & Sales Analytics

    The goals to start out with here might be related to building better customer relationships or reducing churn. To achieve this one needs to go beyond simply analyzing customer behavior and, instead, move towards a more sophisticated omnichannel management.

    Credit & Fraud Analytics

    In Credit & Fraud analysis, Big Data is an opportunity to systematically gain a wider set of information, perhaps from social media or other sources, which could improve decision making and credit management policies. There are countless strategies to adopt though all of them start with concrete goals in mind such as, for example, enabling more effective fraud protection.

    Corporate Function Analytics

    Sadly overlooked as innovation drivers, corporate functions instead can be excellent deliverers of value for the organization as a whole. With their daily bread being the core industry processes they have the potential to deliver massive benefits to each area of the company. Think monitoring employee satisfaction, understanding a priori when someone might leave the firm, or enabling IT departments to reduce hacking risks.

    How to put it into practice?

    For energy and utilities players, the bottom line is that, above all, the “old” way of dealing with data is not enough anymore. Tip number one, therefore, is get ready. Secondly, it doesn’t make sense to try to emulate Google, by contrast separating the quick wins from the longer-term goals, looking at getting actionable results from analyses is key. Finally, don’t get bogged down in the data swamp.

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  • CRIF innovates its IT development & operations with DevOps

    Often the success of a business project, or more in general of an innovative idea, is related to having solved a problem or responded to a need even before it becomes evident to the end-user.

    Behind the “right responses” provided to the market are fundamental research, improvement and technological innovation processes performed by the company, which are a decisive factor in their success.

    Being one step ahead and, above all, looking forward in terms of technological development is one of CRIF's qualities, particularly for IT Implementation as part of the CRIF Credit Solutions business line, which boasts a team of experts in application and management software development with state-of-the-art technology.

    On the subject of application automation, CRIF has identified a new objective, but above all a new solution: to further improve the way in which software applications are designed and implemented.

    The aim is to guarantee the end-user a greater understanding and ease-of-use of the product, as well as providing them with a qualitatively superior application thanks to the use of new IT approaches.

    In 2014, CRIF started to assess DevOps (Development + Operations) to take advantage of the available automation in IT as far as possible, and to reduce the workload related to the production of large volumes of applications, providing the market with clearer and quicker responses.

    "In essence, this involves taking advantage of the skills of systems analysts and developers within a single framework, which was created in CRIF as part of an internal project, to further optimize application deployment," explained Fausto Gentili, CRIF IT Operations Manager.

    The aim is therefore to increase communication and collaboration between Development and Operations, transforming their relationship from linear to circular, with continuous feedback and a constant eye towards the outside.

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  • Applying banks' methodologies for risk assessment in non-finance industries

    In the Energy & Utilities and Telecom & Media industries, market liberalization along with economic shifts have increased challenges, ranging from increased competition to margin squeezing, and calling attention to the need to improve the customer experience.

    Credit management, which in the past could be seen as a mere administrative activity, has in recent years finally been "elevated" to the agenda of the management board. As a result, Credit & Risk Management is viewed as key not only to improve recovery on receivables, but also to reduce costs and achieve compliance with budget targets, becoming a fundamental component of the company to defend margins.

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  • A practical approach to Big Data Analytics

    Among the noise about Big Data, are there concrete results to be found?

    While it’s clear that Telco and Media firms have incredible depths of data at their fingertips, such as the detailed tracking of traffic on an hourly basis for users’ devices, some digital giants such as Google and Amazon are taking this to whole new levels, generating products driven purely by the insight and information gleaned from what they learn from their users. Digital environments are growing too with users creating their own data and this certainly offers businesses an unprecedented chance to learn from their customers.

    However, at the same time, it would be unrealistic to expect most (or any) firms to follow in the footsteps of the Googles of this world; what’s needed is a roadmap to getting started on the big data journey, in a way that builds on genuine business cases and practical applications to improve realtime results.

    What can we do with Big Data in the real world?

    What one needs to bear in mind is that collecting and analyzing huge reams of data is not, in itself, an answer to business needs. The critical outcome must remain actionable knowledge – this is especially true of predictive and prescriptive analytics. After the hype is over solid business cases will emerge and these are what Telcos should seek out, for instance in such areas as:

    • Marketing & Sales Analytics
    • Operation & Fraud Analytics
    • Corporate Functions Analytics.

    Marketing & Sales Analytics

    This is where Big Data can be revolutionary, becoming real enablers of an omnichannel environment. There is potential to create hyper profiles of customers aimed at reducing churn, developing relationships, identifying next best offers as well as creating upselling and retention initiatives tailored to customer expectations – with measurable results.

    Credit & Risk Analytics

    Rather than being a reactionary area, Big Data can transform credit management and collection by offering greater insights, for instance gained through social media or web channels about events that could impact creditworthiness.

    Corporate Function Analytics

    Imagine being able to deploy a set of metrics which could tell you in advance whether employees are happy at work; or correlate event information from various system and app layers to achieve better IT incident prevention – these become real possibilities when data is properly managed.

    How to get started?

    For telco and media players, the bottom line is that, first of all, the “old” way of dealing with data is not enough anymore. However, rather than get bogged down in the data swamp while “shooting for the moon”, there are very concrete steps to take. Identifying actionable items, separating the quick wins from the longer-term objectives and applying a solid, realistic strategy is, we feel, the very best way forward.

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  • CRIF innovates its IT development & operations with DevOps

    Often the success of a business project, or more in general of an innovative idea, is related to having solved a problem or responded to a need even before it becomes evident to the end-user.

    Behind the “right responses” provided to the market are fundamental research, improvement and technological innovation processes performed by the company, which are a decisive factor in their success.

    Being one step ahead and, above all, looking forward in terms of technological development is one of CRIF's qualities, particularly for IT Implementation as part of the CRIF Credit Solutions business line, which boasts a team of experts in application and management software development with state-of-the-art technology.

    On the subject of application automation, CRIF has identified a new objective, but above all a new solution: to further improve the way in which software applications are designed and implemented.

    The aim is to guarantee the end-user a greater understanding and ease-of-use of the product, as well as providing them with a qualitatively superior application thanks to the use of new IT approaches.

    In 2014, CRIF started to assess DevOps (Development + Operations) to take advantage of the available automation in IT as far as possible, and to reduce the workload related to the production of large volumes of applications, providing the market with clearer and quicker responses.

    "In essence, this involves taking advantage of the skills of systems analysts and developers within a single framework, which was created in CRIF as part of an internal project, to further optimize application deployment," explained Fausto Gentili, CRIF IT Operations Manager.

    The aim is therefore to increase communication and collaboration between Development and Operations, transforming their relationship from linear to circular, with continuous feedback and a constant eye towards the outside.

    Read More
  • Applying banks' methodologies for risk assessment in non-finance industries

    In the Energy & Utilities and Telecom & Media industries, market liberalization along with economic shifts have increased challenges, ranging from increased competition to margin squeezing, and calling attention to the need to improve the customer experience.

    Credit management, which in the past could be seen as a mere administrative activity, has in recent years finally been "elevated" to the agenda of the management board. As a result, Credit & Risk Management is viewed as key not only to improve recovery on receivables, but also to reduce costs and achieve compliance with budget targets, becoming a fundamental component of the company to defend margins.

    Read More
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