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Vodafone optimizes the business value it extracts from its data with Google Cloud

April 6, 2022
Osman Peermamode

Head of Data and Analytics, Vodafone

Editor’s note:  Frustrated that its existing on-premises infrastructure was limiting the business intelligence it could derive from its data, Vodafone decided to switch to a more accessible, scalable cloud solution. Here, Osman Peermamode, Head of Data and Analytics at Vodafone, explains how the migration to Google Cloud is cost-effectively transforming its service offering to optimize its business value and provide enhanced solutions to its customers.

Most people know Vodafone as a mobile network operator. And, with more than 300 million customers worldwide, we’re indeed one of the largest mobile telecommunications companies in the world. But Vodafone is so much more than that. We provide broadband to more than 28 million people, TV to more than 22 million people, and more than 140 million IoT connections help businesses with their digital transformation. M-Pesa, our mobile money transfer service, is used by more than 50 million people across Africa.

All these services serve a common purpose. They create a sustainable digital future that’s accessible to all, built on next-generation connectivity powered by Vodafone. The customer experience sits at the heart of this vision, and data is the key to a lasting relationship with our customers. But data alone isn’t enough – it must also be securely processed and made available across the organization. That’s why, in 2019, we decided to team up with Google Cloud to unlock the true value in our data.

Democratizing Vodafone’s data with Nucleus

Of course, leveraging data isn’t new territory for Vodafone. We’ve long used data insights to improve our customer retention by optimizing packages and personalizing our offering to our users, for example. But before our move into the cloud, the data we collected was very fragmented and costly. Data sat in silos on our on-premises infrastructure, where it became quickly outdated, and multiple copies of data sets were just inefficient, they decreased our data’s quality and credibility. 

In comes Nucleus. Powered by Google Cloud products such as BigQuery, Dataproc, and Cloud Data Fusion, Nucleus is a unified data platform that integrates all of Vodafone’s data. Instead of reconciling between different data warehouses, as we did in the past, we have established a single source of truth, making data accessible across our organization. This supports fact-based decision-making and helps us to reduce costs, streamline operations, and deliver new services and products quickly across Vodafone’s international markets. 

Nucleus has three core components. First, there’s Neuron, which houses all the data – 70 petabytes and growing. Then there’s Dynamo, a pioneering hybrid cloud system that makes it easy for us to move data from all our on-premises repositories around the world to Google Cloud. It can process around 50 TB of data per day, that’s the equivalent of 25,000 hours of HD film. Finally, there’s Vodafone’s common data platform, which provides access to both raw and organized data for all areas of the business, enabling Vodafone to build capabilities once and then instantly deploy them across markets.

Raising the bar on customer service

With Nucleus and our ongoing partnership with Google Cloud, we’re transforming our approach to data. We’re better equipped to meet new regulatory requirements at a much lower cost, and we’ve unlocked new capabilities by generating high quality insights that inform the next generation of data and analytics products. What’s most exciting is that we’ve already identified more than 700 concrete use cases that take advantage of those data capabilities to make Vodafone more customer friendly, sustainable, and profitable.

Let’s take customer loyalty, the key to our success. By reducing our data ingestion for business intelligence from 36 hours to 25 minutes, Nucleus has already made us much more responsive to changes in customer behavior. If mobile users are paying unnecessary roaming costs, for example, we can identify the issue in almost real-time and save them money. We can also automatically spot when a customer needs a speed boost, or proactively contact customers who might be experiencing an issue with their connection. Overall, we’ve already raised the bar on customer service.

Unlocking value, boosting profitability

Satisfied customers are profitable customers. We can offer highly personalized content, apps, and rewards. We’re also better at detecting fraud in almost real-time.

The data insights we’ve generated with Google Cloud also help us to gain a more holistic understanding of our customers. We can tailor our services to each household and suggest new services. By using the data insights from Nucleus to improve our campaigns and customer management, we’re unlocking untapped value. 

Our new data platform also gives us a better overview of the profitability of our channels and retail stores. This helps us to weed out unnecessary spending and makes sure our retail offering is centered around the needs of our customers. By channelling our retail footprint in places where they’re most needed, we’ve been able to increase our store profitability in some markets.

Accelerating change with data-driven sustainability

A better grasp on our data also supports us on our mission to drive positive change for society and our planet. Google Cloud helps us to better monitor all our sustainability KPIs, from our reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to the share of energy we use from renewable sources. We’re also helping to solve global health issues, by supporting governments and aid organizations, for example, with secure, anonymous and aggregated mobile phone signal data to help tackle COVID-19. Now, we can provide even deeper insights to help curb the spread of disease.

These were just a few of the 700 use cases that are helping us to deliver exciting new products, reduce costs, and centralize our operations. With Nucleus, we’re building the foundation for a digital future, and we’re thrilled to be building it with Google Cloud. Carried out by around 1,000 in-house employees from both companies, it’s a true joint effort, inspired by our shared vision of digital technology that’s accessible to all. By tapping into the collective power of Vodafone and Google Cloud, we’re transforming our services for the people, organizations, and communities we serve.

Find out more about how Google Cloud is helping the telecommunications industry here.

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