The marketing team then analyzes how customers respond to these campaigns to project financial returns and fine-tune the offers. To do that, it feeds data into the Hana real-time data analytics appliance from SAP, which uses in-memory computing to perform rapid analytics on large data sets. This allows statistics modelers and business analysts to query the data and -- if they find something unexpected -- query further, without involving IT.
"You don't have to pre-think what types of analytics you're going to do or pre-build the aggregation tables that you build with traditional BI solutions," Bessho says. Plus, the data can be loaded more quickly into the appliance than it can with traditional analytics platforms, and the queries run 55 times faster than with a traditional database. That speed encourages analysts to explore creatively, she says.
"A lot of the benefit is finding the unknown," Bessho says. "They get a surprising result, and they want to drill down into the data in ways they never anticipated. So it's important that the tool is responsive and cuts through rows of data quickly."
Analysts can now determine the types of campaigns that work best for various customer groups. "We now know how to go to different customers with [different] offers," Bessho says. For instance, one way to segment customers is by how close they are to the end of their contracts. Knowing this -- as well as what type of plans they have, what their credit scores are, and where they live -- T-Mobile can, for example, send phone upgrade offers to long-term customers and offers for different rate plans to newer ones.
These offers can go out via text message, email, the call center or physical stores. "When the customer is on the phone or walks in the store, we get more fresh data about them to help reps select the best offer at that specific time," Bessho says. "We can take advantage of historical data, as well as dynamic data, to create personalized, focused offers based on customer trends and behaviors."
T-Mobile also uses tools from Business Objects to produce dashboards and detailed operational reports for marketing leaders. It will soon launch a mobile business-intelligence capability so marketing execs can view the current performance of marketing campaigns on their tablets.