Matti Aksela is the vice president of Analytics at Comptel, a company that recently acquired Xtract, which provides Advanced Analytics solutions powered by Social Intelligence. In this interview Matti talks about the processes involved at Comptel that drive insights from mobile network data and how this affects consumer experience.
Sramana Mitra: Matti, let’s start by introducing Comptel. Tell us what Comptel does, the scale of the company, and what your business is.
Matti Aksela: Comptel is based in Finland and was established in 1986. Comptel has a tradition of being focused in the OSS/BSS space in terms of solutions like mediation for mobile operators and also provisioning and activation. I’d say we are a reasonably large player in those fields, especially taking into account that we are a Finland-based company. We are a bit under 700 people right now, but our solutions possess approximately 20% of the world’s CDRs on the mediation side, and about a billion subscribers get their services provisioned by Comptel software.
SM: What is the business model of how you go to market?
MA: Traditionally it has been focused on licensed software for mobile operators. But one of the biggest changes for Comptel was a change in the leadership. Our new CEO is Juhani Hintikka. So Comptel started establishing a strategy of event analysis and action. Mediation is the way of processing huge amounts of events in the telco space, processing a very large amount of data. Comptel also had to innovate the other end of the spectrum – taking action on the network. In that sense there is a little bit missing from this point of view, which is providing more value from this data – which is what big data is mostly about. So Comptel completed that circle in the analytics part by acquiring a smaller Finnish company called Xtract about one year ago. That was also when I joined the company – as part of the acquisition of Xtract. Xtract is an analytics focused company working in the mobile operator space as well and finding solutions around machine learning and providing that in a use case driven manner to mobile operators and other customers. By acquiring the knowledge, technology and skills of Xtract, the Comptel group as a whole was able to reach this objective.
SM: So, essentially the big data story that Comptel is part of is around predictive analytics in the mobile operator space?
MA: In a sense, yes. There is a lot of data in the mobile operator network. Comptel has been collecting that data for 30 years already. But really being able to provide value and predictive analytics solutions on top of that data is what came to play after the acquisition of Xtract.