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Data Monetization is the ‘Next Big Leap’ for Three UK

Gillian Tomlinson, Director of Data and Analytics at Three UK, outlines how the telco is partnering with its holding company on futuristic data monetization projects that will harness the power of 5G

Public attitudes towards the UK’s 5G rollout may be mixed. But for data and analytics leaders at British telecoms companies, the technology represents an opportunity to explore new data monetization opportunities.

As Three UK Director of Data and Analytics Gillian Tomlinson explains in this week’s Business of Data podcast, this is something Three built into its digital transformation plans years ago.

“[We decided] we had to move our network and our IT stack into the cloud as soon as possible,” she recalls. “We [needed] the processing power in the future. [We] needed to be able to support all that 5G brings. That was really the spur for us.”

In recent years, the company has partnered with cloud providers to ensure its data infrastructure would meet its changing needs as it scaled its ambitions and integrated analytics capabilities.

“The ultimate goal is, you’ve got to compete,” she says. “You’ve got to understand how you’re going to compete in future and how the nature of the industry’s competition is going to change because of digitization.”

Tomlinson argues that success in today’s business landscape requires perpetual digital transformation. Companies must constantly innovate to keep step with their competitors, who are also perpetually innovating.

“There’s no such thing as an end-goal anymore,” she notes. “You’ve got to be constantly improving, testing, proving, scaling up [and] looking for how you’re going to make that next big leap.”

Three UK’s Data Monetization Plans

Enterprises that are sitting on valuable troves of proprietary data are increasingly exploring data monetization opportunities.

While the regulatory protections in place to protect consumer privacy when sharing sensitive information are a challenge, these projects are seen as a logical ‘next step’ for those looking to drive revenue with data.

For Three UK, this means partnering with CK Delta, a holding company within CK Hutchison Group, to provide data support on experimental monetization projects and initiatives.

“We’re incredibly mindful of anonymized customer information being absolutely critical and the compliance requirements around GDPR,” she says. “But the information we sit on, specifically from a network perspective, is incredibly valuable.”

“Our ability to understand, let’s say, people’s movements and provide that in an anonymized way to the City of London is a valuable insight,” she continues. “It’s got a real monetary value attached to it.”

She adds: “More recently, we have also looked at a proof-of-concept that we’ve been working with around flying taxis.”

This kind of innovation may be out of reach for enterprises that are still laying the foundations for advanced analytics. But the promise of data monetization is a tantalising one we expect to see more and more companies exploring in future.

Key Takeaways

  • Enterprises are eyeing data monetization opportunities. Using data to create valuable new products is a logical next step for advanced data-using companies.
  • Data monetization depends on proprietary data. Companies that can curate their own unique and valuable datasets will be best positioned to succeed with data monetization.
  • Enterprises will struggle without the right ‘data foundations’. Data leaders should ensure their organizations have the right level of data maturity before pursuing these projects.