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Big data is driving networks back to the future

Paul Beacham and Simon Brisbourne

In business, on-going success is achieved through the ability to recognise change and work closely with partners to maximise the opportunities that change offers. Nowhere is this more evident than in wholesale networks.

While customers traditionally adopt BT broadband and Ethernet networks based on reliable performance, the strong relationships and underlying technology are increasingly helping the company look to the future, to develop services and support that can help customers change their businesses and cost structures dramatically.

These are the hidden benefits of working with BT, an undeniable USP when compared with our competitors. At the heart of this is support and network resilience. Enabling customers to monitor line performance is key. Their end user customers have their own demands on the network and services, so having a live insight into line diagnostics is important for our customers to manage their customer expectations and services. Customers know that if anything goes wrong we will quickly fix it.

Of course, being one step ahead is even better. That’s why we already have plans to collate and automatically analyse customer network usage data, to develop our own big data service which can offer a proactive, 360 view of network performance. This means potential problems can be identified before they happen and have an impact on customers.


This live monitoring will help customers improve identifying, tagging and reporting of faults and ultimately reduce fault volumes. This would of course reduce the need for on-site engineer visits, reducing costs and customer inconvenience. It’s a win-win and a good example of how we think, helping customers improve their business performance while increasing reliability and support.

It’s also important to work with and help customers through change. Currently BT and many of its customers are working towards migration from legacy networks to IP. For Broadband we continue to invite customers to work with us to help us improve the performance for all. There is a mutual benefit here, which is why BT is keen to work with customers on an individual basis, easing migration, whether it’s partial or full and ensuring customer satisfaction at every step.

Of course part of this service is choice and the ability for customers to self-serve from that range of capabilities. Our customer portals enables customers to choose what works best for them and order quickly. The key here is time to readiness. With our Ethernet portfolio customers are able to modify circuits – for example increasing bandwidths – within just 30 minutes directly themselves using our web portal. Additionally if we can help customers get up and running quicker then they can start earning revenue quicker off of new related services. With our Ethernet portfolio to strive to lead the market with some of the quickest provision lead times available. For example, we have just reduced our EFM access provision lead times by a whopping 40%, which will directly benefit our CP customers.

For volume customers we can also easily integrate our systems into theirs so they don’t have to adopt a different interface for ordering and management. This means improved and therefore increased synergies between BT and customers, driving further automation of ordering and delivery and therefore reduced costs and creating delivery efficiencies at the same time.

When we put everything together, the network quality, the big data, the increased cooperation, the reduced delivery timescales, the reduced costs and improved support, it also enables us to build a better picture. We know what customers want and what their customers need to grow their businesses. With this knowledge we are reacting, building more resilience and greater geographic coverage - strong, resilient access options to networks that are well serviced and helping reduce costs.

This is the future - a modern, forward thinking approach to technology and partnership, driven by big data and designed by intelligence. Is this hidden? Not intentionally. The focus is always on quality and quantity for our customers, it’s just maybe we don’t’ like to shout about it.

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