Wind Tre: Calling on Google Cloud for a data pipeline that supports a more personalized service

About Wind Tre

Wind Tre is an Italian telecommunications operator that offers integrated mobile, landline, and internet services for 30 million customers. It’s one of the key players in the Italian market, with a revenue of €5.6 billion in 2018.

Industries: Telecommunications
Location: Italy

Wind Tre chose Google Cloud to offer its customers a more personalized service through a ready-to-go data pipeline that handles billions of events daily with BigQuery and real-time analytics.

Google Cloud results

  • Handles large volumes of data from multiple sources to create a reliable warehouse for teams across the company
  • Enables advanced real-time analytics supporting a more personalized service that reacts to network events
  • Provides insights into data patterns with BigQuery, making it easier to create targeted campaigns and reduce churn

30 billion events processed daily

To stand out in a competitive market, two heads are sometimes better than one. In 2016, two of Italy’s major telecommunications players united to become one company: Wind Telecomunicazioni and 3 Italy formed Wind Tre, which is now one of the top three providers of mobile and fixed telephony in Italy. As well as bringing together people, processes, and technology from each company, Wind Tre is using the merger to develop better ways of serving its 30 million customers.

“People increasingly want a personalized experience from their telecommunications provider,” explains Robert Visser, CIO at Wind Tre. “Before, the approach was one-size-fits-all, so I was hired to help Wind Tre make the jump into the digital era.” To create a more personalized approach, Wind Tre is expanding the ways that customers access its services, providing the option of using online solutions instead of visiting physical stores.

“For our backend infrastructure, we want to leverage the engineering and innovation capabilities of our providers. The solution needs to be ready to use and offer great performance so we can focus our development efforts on our frontend, customer-facing applications.”

Robert Visser, CIO, Wind Tre

A highly effective, real-time data pipeline is key to building these new solutions. So as part of more than 40 digital transformation projects overseen by Robert and his team, Wind Tre needed a way to manage the increased volume of data it was dealing with after the merger. Following a proof of concept looking at performance, flexibility, capacity for future-proofing, and cost, Wind Tre chose Google Cloud as the right provider for its data pipeline.

“For our backend infrastructure, we want to leverage the engineering and innovation capabilities of our providers,” explains Robert. “The solution needs to be ready to use and offer great performance so we can focus our development efforts on our frontend, customer-facing applications.”

Choosing a data pipeline that’s ready to go

Following the merger, Wind Tre wanted to start using the large volumes of data at its disposal to inform decisions and respond to customer requirements as quickly as possible. However, bringing together two companies with different processes and repositories meant that data sources weren’t standardized. “The same data was replicated in different places, so we often came across discrepancies and struggled to compare like with like,” says Robert. The pipeline needed to be able to house a large volume of data from multiple sources and enable real-time processing where necessary.

By choosing Google Cloud, Wind Tre was able to put a solution in place very quickly. “As soon as we signed the contract with Google Cloud, the data pipeline was ready to use,” says Robert. “We didn’t have to undertake any preparatory projects, we could load our data into BigQuery straight away. That meant we took a big leap forward in a short amount of time.”

“By accessing the data analysis capabilities of BigQuery, we’re able to see patterns in our data that were previously invisible to us. That means we can tailor our campaigns and services to fit our customers’ expectations and needs.”

Robert Visser, CIO, Wind Tre

Wind Tre now uses Pub/Sub and Dataflow to handle its data ingestion and streaming and Google BigQuery as a data warehouse to consolidate information from all its internal and external channels. “The pipeline handles around 30 billion events a day,” says Robert. “That includes customer data, network data, and enterprise resource planning data, for mobile, fixed, and network customers.” Wind Tre also uses Datalab to prototype advanced analytics capabilities and Cloud Bigtable for fast key value retrieval.

“By accessing the data analysis capabilities of BigQuery, we’re able to see patterns in our data that were previously invisible to us,” says Robert. “That means we can tailor our campaigns and services to fit our customers’ expectations and needs. For example, we now have the insights needed to tailor campaigns for the different requirements of customers in the north and south of the country. We’re also better at predicting customer churn, which enables us to target customers who are likely to switch networks, and to stay ahead of changes in the market.”

Processing in real time for better customer service

Real-time data processing and analytics on customer usage also helps Wind Tre to identify and offer customers the right solution at the right time. For example, if a customer is reaching the end of their bundle, the system will automatically flag that customer and send them an upgrade offer. “Because that process has to happen when the customer needs it, we can’t rely on batch processing to deliver our services,” says Robert. “Since moving to Google Cloud, we’re able to do a lot more real-time processing.”

Wind Tre’s personalized service is backed by a data opt-in policy that aims to put the customer in control. “We’ve designed our policy to be both compliant and transparent to meet the data privacy expectations of Italian customers,” says Robert. “Data security was one of the reasons we chose Google Cloud, because it could support us in being GDPR-compliant from the start.”

Improving campaigns and attracting more talent

Previously, data infrastructure was a drain on time for Wind Tre’s developers. “We had to worry about availability, backup, data recovery, and so on,” says Robert. “Now, we’re fully focused on retrieving and checking the data, listening closely to the needs of our teams, and building the best possible models. It means we are working in a more value-driven way.”

“Although Wind Tre only recently implemented Google Cloud, we’ve already seen significant benefits: both in terms of our campaigns and being able to analyze our data in ways that were simply not possible before. In one solution, we have all the tools we need.”

Carlo Migliorini, Head of Data Engineering, Wind Tre

By reducing churn and focusing on current customers, Wind Tre has stabilized its customer base, which has had a positive impact on its margins. “Rather than constantly trying to capture new customers, we’re able to focus on keeping our current customers happy,” says Robert. “From a financial perspective, we’re looking for predictability, and our new data pipeline has definitely helped in that respect.”

Wind Tre is now planning to expand its data science team and grow its knowledge and capabilities to make the most of the tools Google Cloud offers. “Data scientists are in great demand at the moment, so it’s an advantage for us to be working with Google Cloud, one of the most innovative platforms out there,” says Robert.

“Although Wind Tre only recently implemented Google Cloud, we’ve already seen significant benefits: both in terms of our campaigns and being able to analyze our data in ways that were simply not possible before,” says Carlo Migliorini, Head of Data Engineering at Wind Tre. “In one solution, we have all the tools we need.”

About Wind Tre

Wind Tre is an Italian telecommunications operator that offers integrated mobile, landline, and internet services for 30 million customers. It’s one of the key players in the Italian market, with a revenue of €5.6 billion in 2018.

Industries: Telecommunications
Location: Italy