CATEGORY: Business Intelligence

REVIEWER: Terri Kowalchuk, director of business intelligence for T-Mobile USA.

BACKGROUND: Based in Bellevue, Washington, T-Mobile USA (formerly VoiceStream Wireless) is one of the fastest-growing nationwide wireless service providers, offering all digital voice, messaging and high-speed wireless data services to more than 10 million customers. A cornerstone of the company's strong consumer appeal has been its "Get More" business strategy to provide customers with the best overall value in their wireless service so they can enjoy the benefits of mobile communications to "Get More from Life." T-Mobile has more than 20,000 employees across the country dedicated to delivering on its "Get More" promise to provide customers with more minutes, more features and more service.

PLATFORMS: Clients: desktop Windows 2000 PCs. Server: eight-processor HP N-class N400 9000/800 running HP- UX 11i. Databases: Oracle, SQL Server and Teradata.

PROBLEM SOLVED: T-Mobile purchased Quadstone to enable business and marketing teams to better understand their customer base, improve customer service and increase brand loyalty. The primary mechanism for this was through the customer segmentation strategy –­ the aim of which was to increase customer satisfaction of our most profitable and loyal customers and direct our other customers toward profitability.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: In supporting this customer segmentation strategy, our marketing analysts used the Quadstone System to build an integrated customer view from a number of our source systems; they then used this to develop a set of four key models of customer behavior. Quadstone is extremely visual and extremely fast in its analysis. This enabled us to engage cross-functional teams in initial discovery phases of the project, including understanding the data or identifying anomalies and sharing a common and agreed-upon definition of the value measure. It also allowed us to take an incremental approach to the project –­ analyzing only what was relevant given the time constraints and maintaining enthusiasm and involvement through the feeling of accomplishment from quick wins. The segmentation results from Quadstone are now in use within our marketing and customer care systems, helping to improve customer satisfaction.

STRENGTHS: Because of its ability to connect to all of our key source systems, Quadstone was able to create a view of our customers that we had never seen before, providing an extremely rich base for any analysis and allowing us to evaluate data sources which have turned out to be particularly useful within our segmentations. Additionally, the speed with which the software builds models and returns queries allows our analysts to work with other business units and our front-line staff to develop a better understanding of our customers' profiles.

WEAKNESSES: Currently we deploy the results from Quadstone directly within our campaign management and customer care systems. Other results, such as the graphical reports or fast-count summaries, can only be distributed on an ad hoc basis. The main weakness for us is the current lack of integration with our Business Objects reporting tool –­ which we use for report generation, formatting and distribution.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We ran a pilot project with Quadstone more than one year ago to look at churn. Not only was the product able to model and analyze data from all 10 million of our customers; but also it enabled us to reach a better understanding of the drivers of churn and, in particular, the value certain data brought us. Quadstone was also easy to install, quick to learn, easy for the analysts, yet sophisticated enough for statistical modelers. The product's speed to market also influenced our choice.

DELIVERABLES: All of the analysis in Quadstone is based on the results of a monthly data build that Quadstone built for us. This combines all of the key data we have about a customer in a single Quadstone data set in a form immediately ready for analysis. The key segmentation results for all our customers are generated by Quadstone and fed into our campaign management system (for targeting direct mail campaigns) and our billing system (for our customer care treatments). Reports consisting of both numbers and Quadstone graphics are shared within the team and automated data audits are produced on the back of our monthly Quadstone data build.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We have had excellent support from Quadstone in all aspects of our implementation. They have provided us with services to deliver our monthly data build, working closely with us to develop our first set of predictive models and providing training to a number of our analytical teams. The best part of working with the vendor has been the quality of the Quadstone staff ­– they provide quick response to our questions and are extremely knowledgeable about their product and how it can be used to solve our problems.

DOCUMENTATION: We're relatively happy with the online documentation.

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