NTT DOCOMO is the largest telecom company in Japan. It provides innovative, convenient, and secure mobile services that enable customers to realize smarter lives. More than 73 million customers in Japan connect through its advanced wireless networks, including a nationwide LTE network and one of the world’s most progressive LTE Advanced networks. In addition to a wide range of communications-related services, DOCOMO offers value-added Smart Life offerings, including those under its +d initiative. These include the d POINT CLUB customer loyalty point program and d Payment, which enables customers to shop online and make electronic payments using their mobile devices.
All of these services create tremendous amounts of data, providing an opportunity of the company to extract insights that drive business value. To accomplish this goal, the company uses Amazon QuickSight and AWS data technologies to help better understand customers and support sales teams.
Many products, one data team
The company’s data team manages the marketing platform, which includes capturing, analyzing, and reporting on data for DOCOMO Smart Life businesses. For data collection and aggregation, it uses Amazon Redshift as a data warehouse. Amazon Redshift is ideal for storing and querying large amounts of structured data with high performance and reliability.
“With millions of connected customers, we need a highly capable data platform,” says Issei Nishimura, Manager, Marketing Platform Planning Department at DOCOMO. “AWS delivers the right levels of performance.”
In addition to regular reporting from the data warehouse, the company’s business leadership is interested in real-time key performance indicators (KPIs). For d Payment, these include metrics such as active users on a monthly and daily basis. Based on these analyses, leadership can decide how to improve the usage or the sales of each service.
Helping business users access analytics
However, when non-technical decision-makers requested self-service access, the data team had no easy way to provide it—until it decided to adopt QuickSight. QuickSight is a fast, cloud-powered business intelligence service that was easy to deploy and required no on-premises infrastructure.
“Because of native integration with existing AWS services, especially Amazon Redshift, we were able to roll out Amazon QuickSight quickly and easily,” Nishimura says. “In fact, it only took one day to build our first QuickSight dashboards.”
The automated data pipeline starts with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to perform extract, transform, and load (ETL) on data, which is then pushed to Amazon Redshift. Amazon SageMaker aggregates and exports it to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), from which QuickSight accesses data for dashboards.
The following is a sample dashboard from NTT DOCOMO. For every marketing campaign, NTT DOCOMO analyzes the number of new unique users of d Payment relative to the number of registrations to the campaign. This allows them to understand how much effect the campaign had on each user category.
With pay-per-session pricing, the company can provide ad hoc data access for line of business decision-makers without capital investment and at low total cost. At the same time, QuickSight can scale to support as many users as needed.
The dashboards can be accessed from any device, providing convenience to the product management teams. It’s easy and intuitive enough for non-technical users—there’s no need for them to write SQL or scripts.
Faster insights to compete in an accelerated marketplace
Previously, it would take a few days to meet requests for ad hoc reports. Now, when people want to check a KPI, they can do it instantly.
“Our team can focus on managing the data warehouse and the regular reporting cadence because the volume of out-of-band requests has been reduced,” Nishimura says.
The solution has had immediate benefits for d Payment sales representatives, who work closely with retailers that use the payment service. These sales representatives want to be able to present relevant KPIs and demographics to the retailers to show trends and improve the services. With QuickSight, the sales team can generate appealing, up-to-date visualizations of the relevant information. They no longer have to spend time building graphics because the QuickSight visualizations are ready to use right away.
DOCOMO is a data-driven company, using insights to continuously improve its services. AWS enables them to run an enterprise data warehouse that ingests millions of data points with unlimited scale—and provides services such as QuickSight that give non-technical users rapid access to the real-time information they need.
“With these solutions, DOCOMO is breaking down barriers to enable greater use of analytics across the organization,” Nishimura says.
About the Authors
Daiki Itoh is a Business Development Manager for Amazon QuickSight in Japan.
Chirag Dhull is a Principal Product Marketing Manager for Amazon QuickSight.