Databeacon Goes Back to the Future in San Francisco

Voted "the best place in San Francisco to people-watch" by local residents, San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 area offers visitors a chance to step back in time to the Gold Rush days when the city was a rough-and-tumble town and fortunes could be made or lost overnight. Street performers ply their trade in period costumes, theme restaurants flaunt the Tenderloin look, there's a Maritime Museum, and Alcatraz and Angel Island are just a short ride away. But there's more to Pier 39 than history cleaned up and brought to life - the future is being made here, too. Nestled amongst the cafes and bistros, in renovated lofts and converted warehouses, are some of California's most interesting high tech firms. And one of the most exciting of those is a two-year-old, 200-strong company called Telephia.

Telephia markets itself as the leading provider of mission-critical data and intelligence for the global wireless industry. In plain English, this means the company aims to become the A.C. Nielsen of the wireless world.

The company gathers information and provides insights on market share, quality of network service, new pricing plans and promotions, media spending and consumer behavior and attitudes. This information is then provided via a Web portal to Telephia customers - major wireless carriers and other wireless industry players who need reliable, accurate competitive intelligence to reduce churn, acquire new customers, make sound capital investments and successfully market their products and services. Telephia uses Databeacon to add value to its service offering by giving customers a powerful tool to analyze this data quickly, easily and in a way that is most meaningful to their individual needs.

"When we first started, we didn't have Databeacon," says Jane Meyer, Telephia's director of Web development. "We used a different platform that only offered a library of pre-generated static reports with almost no dynamic content. Realizing we needed to provide our customers with a better analysis tool, we focused on building a more robust and compelling way to deliver our data over the Web and offer clients a means of extracting exactly the information they need."

Meyer and her team knew what they wanted - a Web-based data analysis tool that was dynamic, interactive and could be used by just about anyone with little or no formal training. To help in the search, Meyer retained TIS Worldwide (now Starpoint Solutions). TIS gathered a range of potentially suitable applications and put them through a three-month evaluation process that Databeacon Senior Sales Manager Mike Halligan calls "boot camp for software."

"They were extremely thorough," says Halligan. "It was not an easy process. But at the end of it all, the TIS team determined that Databeacon was the only application capable of meeting all of Telephia's needs."

Jane Meyer agrees. "Before we began this process, I was speaking with David Rubenstein, one of our senior project managers. I remember, he said, "I wish we could deliver data that a customer could interact with, something that would allow them to drill-down and drill-up, and that wouldn't take a lot of time to learn." A few weeks later, when he first saw Databeacon, he said, 'Jane! That's it!'"

Since then, Telephia has made Databeacon an integral part of its product offering. After just three months of deployment, more than 50 percent of Telephia's hundreds of subscribers were using Databeacon rather than requesting a static report.

For Mike Halligan, the Telephia sale has been one of his most rewarding deals to date. "The nice thing about this sale was that we had two parties saying 'yes' to Databeacon," he says. "We had to prove ourselves to TIS, then we had to turn around and prove ourselves to Telephia."

And it has been even more rewarding for Jane Meyer. "I think it's great," she says. "I love it. More importantly, our customers love it. They're primarily analysts and spreadsheet jockeys - half an hour with Databeacon and they're up and running."

Telephia's sales reps love it, too. Many times, Databeacon's ability to extract precise answers to difficult questions has helped close the deal and turn prospects into subscribers. It's so convincing, in fact, that sales reps are now making a Databeacon demo a standard part of their sales presentation.

Fig. 1 Mobile Messaging Tracking

The next step, Meyer says, is to expand Telephia's range of data offerings. And even here, Databeacon has a part to play. Now that Telephia's customers are making more and better use of the data provided to them, they're beginning to ask for more types of information. "When they come and ask us for something, we evaluate it," Meyer says. "And if it looks like something we can sell, we determine how to source it. This is proving to be a huge opportunity for us."

About Telephia

Telephia is the global leader in performance information for the mobile industry. Telephia's portfolio of marketing and service quality information products helps mobile service operators, device manufacturers, infrastructure companies, and enterprises make better business decisions. Mobile companies use Telephia information products to track their position in the mobile marketplace; optimize investment decisions; and drive adoption and usage of their services and products. Established in 1998, Telephia has 170 employees and more than 50 customer relationships, including all major U.S. mobile service operators. Check

Chad Doucette gave permission to use this case study at DSSResources.COM onMonday, May 14, 2001. For more information check Posted June 17, 2001. Fig. 1 and About Telephia added November 2003.