Business Intelligence on a Phone Bill

I often tell my trainees that BI can be done on pretty much anything. A common example of this is the Phone Bill or the Bank statement. Your phone bill or statement can give an idea of not just your spending habits or preferences but even your routine and much more. I recently decided to create a cube of my phone bill mainly to create a list of customers I work with as well as the kind of usage I have.

The data warehouse has the following Facts and Dimensions which should be fairly obvious considering how well known the process is.

The results were shocking as well as expected. I call my best friend on Fridays between 7-9 PM J and never before 12 noon. I call my spouse during lunch time and when I leave the office. I talk to Customer care more than I talk to my friends. I have talked to 70 different people in the last 2 months about work. My GPRS works 24/7 but the usage during day time is almost double of what it is during night time. The end of the month is usually the time when I get the most calls.

Naturally this is a very small analysis done over 2 hours (most of which was spent extracting the data from a PDF document). But the power of BI is obvious even at such a cursory glance. Imagine if I could map my incoming calls as well and then correlate it with the bills of those in my contacts to create a network of contacts and call patterns as well as usage patterns, Oh wait I guess that’s what all the apps on my phone are already doing!!

It’s easy to find out who a person’s friends are simply by going over the number of times they call that person weighted by the time of day as well as the day itself (festivals vs working vs weekend) and the duration of time they spend taking to that person ( shockingly the more you know the person the less time/more frequency you spend talking to them unless it’s a girlfriend in which case the laws of physics breakdown). With Apps such as true caller etc. you can get really intrusive. Things starting to get Scaryyyy now???

The surprise is it’s been this way for at least 4 years now thanks to iPhone and Android apps. I bet your missing your feature phone now that your smartphone is smarter than you thought.

Side note to Airtel, I could really enrich my data if my bill was provided in excel format and had location tags as well as url info for gprs data.