Advanced Info Service (AIS) has succeeded in spreading the use of data analytics among its staff, creating a data-savvy culture in the group with the ultimate goal of transforming the telecom operator to a “best-in-class data-driven organisation”.
Issara Dejakaisaya, AIS head of Solutions Business Unit, told The Nation that the project helped boost the company’s competitiveness.
Data analytics is the science of extracting 'insights' from raw data sets with the aid of special software and tools, providing core information to companies in their decision-making process.
AIS currently has a workforce of more than 13,000. The company started the project in 2016 with the formation of the New Analytics Transformation & Data Science Unit to spearhead its development, said Gwynpong Chatranon, manager of the unit.
Setup of the Analytics Centre of Excellence followed in the same year, tasked with developing a series of intensive training courses in collaboration with the company's partners in the technology and academic circles. The programme was designed to groom AIS staff for the positions of data analysts, data engineers, and data scientists.
The courses took off last year and had already trained about 500 employees, who in turn passed on their new-found knowledge to colleagues. It boosted the number of staff skilled in using data analytics tools to at least 1,200, up from just a few at the beginning. Of the 1,200, most are data analysts, followed by data scientists and data engineers.
Issara said data analytics science was not something new to the company, saying it has been in use at a special unit formed in support of the company's operations.
However, the company saw the need to promote the skills among its staff at all levels through training.
In addition to the courses, there are several activities held at an regular intervals to sustain the culture across the group, including the annual 'AIS Analytics Day', which challenges contestants to draw insights through data analysis. The event started last year. Another is the 'AIS Data Viz', first held early this year, where staff from what Gwynpong calls the AIS data analytics community share knowledge and experience in applying data analysis in their work.The event is held every three months.
Issara credited the success to the support of company executives and staff's enthusiasm for knowledge.
“Employees share a common view that the project would benefit them and the company as a whole,” he said. The project's success did not lie in the number of participants, but whether the knowledge were an essential part of their work, he added.
Many employees have successfully applied their analytical skills to the benefits of the company, from improving its network operations, proactively reducing the rate of customers exiting the network, to boosting sales and customer satisfaction.
For instance, they would now call up customers at particular times to offer a new package to boost the chance of being accepted.
Gwynpong said despite AIS having achieved the goal of becoming a data-driven organisation in a year, many things left to be done for it to become “the best-in-class data-driven organisation”.
Next year, the centre of excellence will focus on providing advanced data analytics courses to those who want to upgrade their skills.
“Turning AIS into the top data-driven organisation is not a job you can finish in one day, it’s a journey, ” Gwynpong said.