Using analytics to drive telco customer engagement and market leadership

Client: Celcom Axiata
For this home-grown conglomerate, big data analytics (BDA) was the game-changer that transformed its business from its third place to becoming the leading Malaysian telecommunications player in terms of subscriber base.  In harnessing the power of BDA, now Celcom Axiata not only serves its customers better but it has also grown the company and enhanced the way it does its business.  Its strategic use of analytics not only improved operations but has also catalysed a remarkable reorientation in its management and technical capabilities.  It’s now on a growth trajectory to achieve its objective to become Malaysia’s top mobile operator by revenue.


Client Profile:
It was one of the first local companies to obtain a cellular phone license and to successfully introduce mobile telephony services.  By subscriber market share, it’s the largest mobile communications provider in the country.  Celcom Axiata is now Malaysia’s leading mobile broadband service provider and it is rapidly growing its services in mobile broadband, content and value-added services (VAS), enterprise solutions, bulk wholesale services, digital services and machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions.

Celcom is part of an extensive regional network focused on high-growth, low penetration emerging markets under the Axiata Group which has more than 215 million mobile subscribers in Asia and offers mobile services to 1.6 billion people in 10 countries.

With CEO Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly at the helm and with the support of IBM Global Business Services, Celcom has forged a game-changing path to boost its business.  An enterprise-wide analytics platform was built to become the foundation for contextual marketing, creating a key strategy towards competitive advantage.

Despite its legacy as a former government monopoly back in 2005, Celcom was lagging in the marketplace.  There were inadequate investments in technology and it was hampered by bureaucracy.  This was especially challenging when the company competed against newer and aggressive companies in an increasingly saturated market.  Celcom had gone from being number one to number three in the market.

In response, Celcom established a three-stage transformation plan beginning with a revamp of its sources of revenue.  Celcom knew that with market penetration of over 130 percent, competition would only intensify.  The business could only grow at the expense of competitors and enhancing customer retention.

Celcom placed customer experience centre-stage and by personalising customer experience via a powerful foundation of analytics and contextual marketing that would extend into virtually every part of its operations.  To do this, Celcom worked with IBM Global Business Services on the data foundation that would become a broader analytics strategy.  The IBM team was deeply engaged with nearly every department within the company to develop an overarching analytics framework.

Celcom leveraged on IBM’s Advanced Analytics Platform which provides a comprehensive set of analytics capabilities and tools to tap into all relevant data.  It also securely ran analytics throughout the company to gain fresh insights in real time.  With its unique combination of emerging analytics technologies, IBM enabled Celcom to extend and transform that way it utilises its vast amount of valuable data to enable new services, drive customer engagement, lower operational costs, achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction and create new business models.

Celcom has created an enterprise-wide analytics platform that has become the foundation for contextual marketing.  By combining insight for real-time data on customer consumption, the company is able to deliver highly targeted promotions when customers are most ready to purchase.  For example, Celcom can identify prepaid customers with low weekend usage and encourage them to reload on weekends to get bonus airtime.


The benefits that were obtained from Celcom Axiata’s partnership with IBM from its BDA solution were multi-faceted.  There was 90% reduction in the time spent on analytics as well as 98% engagement rating among the front-liners or customer-facing employees.  There was also 70% increase in the company’s campaign performance which drove up its return on investment.  There was 80% reduction in the company’s new campaign launch time – all of which brought about improved customer loyalty with increased effectiveness in cross-selling and increased average revenue per user.

The BDA solution adopted by Celcom Axiata also helped the company achieve its business objectives:

  • Increased market share in a competitive and saturated Malaysian market.
  • Improved net adds share in the wireless market through innovative product bundling, creative sales and marketing strategies.
  • Obtained customer and operational insights from enterprise-level business intelligence to retain existing customers.
  • Improved operating margins by driving sales productivity and efficiency; also improved upsell and reduced customer churn with increased sales and customer retention.

Moving Forward:
As Celcom sought to incorporate more analytics into its decision making, it began by staffing a team of experienced analysts for its marketing activities.  In order to ensure  that analytics wasn’t confined solely to its team of analysts, the company assembled a multidisciplinary team from different lines of business and tasked it with bridging the gap between the company’s internal analytics advocates on the business side and its IT divisions.

The management is now looking at how to drive the analytic-based approach across all its business, including micro-market segmentation, micro-market quality management of the network so that for the first time they can see what is really going on across all of its operations.

Celcom is on its growth trajectory to achieve its objective to become Malaysia’s top mobile operator by revenue.  This is evidenced by its enhanced marketing efficacy due to the use of analytics. Conversion rates have increased nearly threefold for specific campaigns, while cross-selling has also improved.  This has increased significantly its revenue per customer.  Furthermore, customer retention has also been boosted.  CEO, Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, highlighted that Celcom has demonstrated how analytics and personalised marketing has the ability of transforming all aspects of a company’s business performance including its people.

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