BACKGROUND: Telefonica Larga Distancia (TLD) of Puerto Rico is a young telecommunications company which currently provides long distance, international and wireless telephony services on the island of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. TLD competes locally with MCI and AT&T, as well as with the incumbent operating company.

PLATFORMS: WhiteCross Data Exploration Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Business managers were unable to analyze customer-oriented activity at the call detail level to fully understand how to manage and grow existing product and services offerings, and how to formulate compelling new offerings to stimulate growth in new and existing customers. TLD's internal users were dependent upon the MIS department to develop and implement standard reports and ad hoc analyses. They relied upon paper-based reports for much of the data to perform analyses. The backlog in MIS, coupled with the manual nature of transcribing data from reports to spreadsheets, severely limited the amount of analysis that could be done and restricted the amount of data used to small samples. To grow our business, we knew we had to implement a new analytical system.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The ability to analyze call detail records (CDR) was very important to our business users. Rather than relying on sampling and other data manipulation techniques, we wanted to query all of the detail data. In adding a new mobile PCS offering to our business, we gained technology which enables us to easily extract and transfer CDR records from our billing system directly into our WhiteCross Data Exploration Server (WX/DES). Our users wanted the ability to ask any question about any theory or intuition that they have about our customers, products, services or pricing. Our users have been trained to access the WX/DES and the CDR information contained within it, using third-party query tools, to formulate and execute their own analyses. We were able to move to a flexible analysis and reporting system with end-user desktop access to any data that exists within, or can be derived from, the CDR data. End users can generate results in seconds or minutes instead of the multiple hours or days as in the past. Also, our analysis cycle has moved from weekly and monthly to daily. As market conditions change, we can interrogate the data and clarify what response we might make or plan our own proactive activities.

STRENGTHS: In MIS we are most pleased with the reliability and performance of the WX/DES. Since installation a few months ago, we have had no downtime and expect that situation to continue, with the exception of planned maintenance. Our user community is most excited about the ability to query the complete CDR database. They can ask question after question, refining their ideas for products and services without support from outside personnel. We have been using a basic query tool in the first stages of analysis and plan to migrate to a robust OLAP tool in the near future. We intend to use multiple products to access the WX/DES and have found no issues with support for those tools. The speed at which even the most complex queries return results has pleased our users. The output from the WX/DES in Excel spreadsheet format makes it possible to distribute information quickly and easily.

WEAKNESSES: Being in Puerto Rico, we have our support sourced from the United States. While communication improvements have helped and remote monitoring and management is available, we still need on-site support at times.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We needed to leapfrog from our paper-based systems to the next generation of analysis systems. The WX/DES and support from WhiteCross staff has enabled us to do just that.

DELIVERABLES: Our users execute ad hoc analyses ­ some of which become routine reports and others that provide one-time insights into market opportunities. The physical deliverables are mostly spreadsheets; the most important deliverable is in the knowledge we gain in managing the business from the actual data.

VENDOR SUPPORT: WhiteCross has been very responsive and helpful before, during and after the sale. The best part of working with WhiteCross is the level of competency shown by its field staff.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete, up to date and easy to use.

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