Innovation, Career Paths

Leveraging analytics to advance our networks

Published 25 Apr 2019 by Lynn Loi

“Singapore is where I am, and I wanted to join a MNC headquartered in Singapore to have both a regional and global view while grounding my career in Singapore,” – Marcus Su, Planning Manager, Networks Analytics Enablement.

When I first sat down with Marcus for this interview, I was surprised to learn that he graduated with a bachelors degree in Computer Science, which made him somewhat different from the typical planning manager’s profile in Networks who would usually has a background in electrical engineering.

Marcus’ journey is an example of how our first degree is just the starting point to provide a foot in the door.

In over 5 years with the Networks team, Marcus shared that he had worked on the lifecycle management of various technical products from location-based services to mobile TV streaming and even mobile advertising systems.

These experiences helped him bridge from the world of computer science into the telecommunications industry, and it was a steep learning curve that he enjoyed.

His role today in Networks Analytics Enablement

Now in his current role as a Planning Manager with the Networks Analytics Enablement team, he found himself in a good position to have both the background in computer science and telco experience to understand the implications from both the Telco domain context and technology perspectives.

“Networks Analytics is an emerging and dynamic field, I like that there's a lot to learn and experiment, and I can use my background in computer science to have meaningful conversations around how we’re leveraging big data technology.”

“With our strong collaboration with Optus, we’ve been able to align on the technological approach as we explore this new field, and it helps to have both virtual and in-person knowledge sharing and learning sessions that enable us to align on the strategic direction for Big Data and Networks standardization of technology.”

Leverage Transferrable Skills in His New Role

In his role, Marcus uses his project management skills honed across all of his past roles to develop use cases. For example, when he needs to deliver a new use case, he would need to work on the planning for the design and architecture needed to acquire data, and propose how the team would be able to execute on it. He would also have to seek needs from his end-users, and translate it into technical terms.

For him, what's interesting about doing such work is the challenge of orchestrating and balancing different considerations in order to deliver a successful use case.

3 Steps to Develop a Successful Use Case

Firstly, he would need to consider the business context and logic as the conversations are highly contextualised given that network planning is a niche skill in the industry. This poses a challenge when business user are still in the exploration stage of figuring out what they want.

So an important skill he has had to learn is to steer them to ask the right question that analytics could potentially help with.

Secondly, he needs to understand the data that we have, and how it can be used depending on customer consent and governance guidelines. He would work on some initial visualisation using Tableau using cleaned data to provide high level insights, and think of questions that he would want to probe further with the support of the data scientists.

Lastly, he also has to serves as the bridge between them and the telecommunications experts and data science team in order to define the key question that can be answered to support the use case.

“With data engineering, because I have a technical background and understanding, I find it easier to work out a win-win situation. I can explain to users in layman terms, and that helps with building good relationships, so people see value in working together as a larger team.”

“I’m glad that Singtel has been a nurturing place for me to grow my career where I’ve had the support from mentors and the team to grow in this new field of Networks Analytics, as well as strong management support to use analytics to improve the planning and operations of our extensive networks infrastructure and systems.”

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