The Telco Training Academy

   

Data Sourcing

Any system built in today's complex environment will have a heavy dependence on data pulled from other sources. To begin with, no telco BSS system can function without a healthy infusion of billing data. And most systems require information from activation, provisioning, sales, call center, network management, and other systems as well. Most project managers fail to realize just exactly how big of a job the identification, extraction, transformation, storage, and loading actually is.

 

Data Sourcing ... the Hidden Cost

 

Finding the data you need to run your system, and loading it into that system is often the biggest single job that you have to deal with in new systems construction. It is estimated that data sourcing accounts for anywhere from 30% (for transaction oriented systems) to 70% (for data warehouse and data mining applications) of the cost of new systems development.

From an outsider's perspective such estimates might seem ridiculous. How could simply finding and copying data be such a big expense? The answer lies in the fact that telecommunications systems tend to be old, complicated, and poorly maintained. While much of the needed information MIGHT be found in those systems, it takes a lot of work to find it, verify its usefulness, and actually pull it into the system.

 

Data Sourcing Steps

The deceptively complicated process of data sourcing can best be understood when it is broken down into its component parts or phases. Each plays a critical role in the success of the overall operation and must be executed well be efficient and effective. These phases include:

  • Data Needs Specification
    Figure out what data you need.

  • Data Systems Sourcing
    Determine where the data you need might be found.

  • Data Source Verification
    Substantiate where the data will come from.

  • Data Preparation Requirements
    Define the criteria to be met to convert the data into the form required by the new system.

  • Extraction, Transformation, and Loading (ETL)
    Pull the data from the source system, performing any quality, timing, or conversion operations against it, and load it into the new systems.

  • Load Process Formalization
    Create formal jobs and processes for the continual loading of the data.

  • Data Transformation Integrity Checking
    Institute policies, procedures, and systems to monitor and assure the ongoing quality and integrity of the data being loaded.

Only a person with much experience in loading many different systems over a long period of time can anticipate the problems inherent in the data sourcing process and help you prevent or minimize the worst of them.

 

Telco Specific Sourcing

Data sourcing in the telecommunications world is especially complex and difficult to manage for several reasons:

  • Telcos deal with incredibly high volumes of data.

  • Telcos deal with exceptionally complicated systems.

  • Telco environments typically are a combination of several generations of diverse systems that are far from well understood or integrated.

It takes a considerable amount of experience dealing with telco systems to anticipate the problems inherent in a telco data sourcing operation. There are the Billing, CDR, IVR, CTA, and dozens of other systems and technologies, each generating its own unique record layouts and engendering its own special problems. Our decades of experience working with telco data sourcing can provide you with the edge you need.

 

Getting the help you need ... on your own terms!

Many consulting organizations try to include as many full time consultants as possible to solve your problems. We take a decidedly different approach. Our goal is to provide you with only the help you need, nothing more. For that reason, our consulting arrangements can be put together on a very limited basis.

You can count on us to help you with your data sourcing needs via:

 

  • Short term telephone consultations

  • Internet and email based exchange and support

  • Short term training or review offerings

  • Longer term retained services offerings (we are available as you need us, on short notice)

  • Project or goal based offerings

 

Call us When, or Before, You Are in Trouble

In an ideal world, you would call and ask for our help as soon as you get involved in a data modeling situation that you are not sure about. What will probably happen, however, is that you get deeply involved in a project before you realize that you are now in trouble and in over your head.

  • Early systems planning stage

  • Proposal and requirements development

  • Early in development

  • Late in development

We have the ability to help you with your data sourcing needs.

 

Data Sourcing Offerings

Our offerings in the data sourcing area include:

  • New systems data sourcing identification and verification

  • Creation of data sourcing methodology (standards and procedures)

  • Troubled data sourcing project audit and adjustment

  • Institution of formal data sourcing procedures

  • Data sourcing team skills and methods development and support

 

Data Sourcing Value Propositions

Our value propositions to in the data sourcing area include:

  • Reducing the risk of data sourcing operations

  • Getting best estimates of effort levels involved

  • Increasing effectiveness of data sourcing activities

  • Instituting best practices in data sourcing for your organization

  • Reducing the stress and strain on management and employees

  • Improving the quality of data sourcing activities

  • Speeding and streamlining data sourcing operations