This article looks at the market forces that are motivating local and long distance providers, cellular companies and other communications firms to strongly consider data warehousing as a way to achieve competitive advantage. It also examines how generic business intelligence requirements are uniquely shaped by telecom-specific needs. It also discusses the challenges faced by many service providers as they attempt to implement business intelligence applications and reviews new approaches to data warehousing that have proven successful in yielding tangible business benefits.

The breakup of AT&T signaled the beginning of rapid and fundamental changes in the telecom marketplace. Today, the FCC continues to play an active role in deregulating the telecom marketplace by trying to stimulate competition. As a result, communications companies of all stripes are aggressively seeking ways to protect their existing markets while preparing to enter new ones. The ultimate goal is to become a "full service provider," offering business and residential customers a comprehensive, highly customized set of products and services that will ensure customer loyalty while providing new opportunities to generate revenue. For the executives running these companies, this creates a whole new set of business intelligence requirements.

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