Teradata Targets Telecoms

An upgraded Logical Data Model helps telecommunications companies unify customer data.

Teradata, which sells enterprise data warehousing systems, is rolling out Version 10.0 of its Communications Logical Data Model.

Jointly released June 3 with an Enterprise Data Warehouse Roadmap that graphically depicts new information available within a company's data stream, the Logical Data Model is designed to offer efficient and accurate processes for governing the flow of customer data.

"A majority of telecommunications provider applications still exist in silos, whether they manage the supply chain, retail operations, or the network," said Ernie Loomis, director of Logical Data Model communications for Teradata. "You have some information on customers and some on products, but there are many different kinds of data and it is not always consistent."

Loomis said the Logical Data Model enables telecommunications companies to store all information in one location one time, and support multiple user communities with the same data.

"We have placed a continuing emphasis on gaining a unified view of the customer," he said. "How telecommunications providers can contact a customer is increasingly growing: call center, Web, retail operations."

In particular, Loomis said telecommunications providers are increasingly performing retail operations. He gave the example of AT&T Mobility, which he said is one of the 10 biggest retailers in the United States, including its franchise retail outlets.

"Beyond store operations and POS [point of sale], we incorporate inventory management and purchasing functions, supported by financial planning and measurement," he said. "The biggest advantage is really that we provide a single view of the customer."

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According to Loomis, most telecom providers developed their IT enterprises by adding a new set of systems for each customer contact channel they opened, without linking new systems to existing systems.

"Customer contacts are not integrated," he said. "The Logical Data Model provides one record of all customer contacts."

Loomis said the Logical Data Model was initially released 11 years ago and has been upgraded every year, resulting in a comprehensive model that includes a modeling tool, 84 subject areas, 1,314 entities and 5,500 attributes.

"The Logical Data Model deals with the full range of the business," he said. "We work with our customers regularly to enhance it. We try to incorporate customer best practices and there are 75 licenses within the model. It's not an ivory tower approach based on how we think things ought to be, but reflects reality in the field."

Elisabeth Rainge, an analyst with IDC, said telecoms are seeking solutions that will allow them to better capture, store and analyze customer data.

"A common logical data model, optimized for the telecom industry, can help service providers overcome the all-too-common challenge of multiple silos of data," Rainge said.

Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.