Light Reading
The Service Provider IT (SPIT) giant, long labeled as a 'services' company, looks like it finally has some product DNA in its corporate chromosones

Amdocs Ain't What It Used to Be

Ray Le Maistre
2/5/2013
50%
50%

Amdocs Ltd. has been an influential and powerful player in the back-offices of communications service providers (CSPs) for decades, helping operators build and maintain their billing and customer care systems.

But for many of those years it was labeled (in a pejorative way by its rivals) as a company that marketed products but delivered expensive services (consultancy, integration, bespoke software builds) that would stretch an implementation timetable into years. "Amdocs has no real products," its critics would say (though they often neglected to add how much business that approach generated…).

Now, though, such criticisms carry less weight. And not just because Amdocs has spent the past 10 years expanding its product portfolio with a series of acquisitions, which has included (but which is not limited to):

2003 -- Xacct: Amdocs Buys Xacct (At Last)
2005 -- DST Systems: Amdocs Buys Into Cable
2006 -- Qpass: Amdocs Buys Into Content Delivery
2006 -- Cramer Systems: Amdocs Snaps Up Cramer
2007 -- SigValue Technologies: Amdocs Continues Spending Spree
2008 -- JacobsRimmel: Amdocs Provisions $45M for JacobsRimell
2009 -- jNetX: Amdocs Rallies, Fills SDP Hole
2011 -- Bridgewater Systems: Amdocs to Buy Bridgewater for $215M

Having more products isn't enough -- actually integrating them and developing a Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) software system that ties them together is something else. And developing tools that enable customers to build their own applications is a step further again.

But it's that level of integration, and the capability to enable application creation, that can be found in CES 9, the latest software suite release from Amdocs.

The company has gone to town with its press release pitch -- it's extensive, to say the least, and full of buzzwords and phrases. At the first read, I expected "espresso-making function" to crop up as one of the bullet points, because everything else of use to a CSP's operations and marketing teams appeared to be in there.

You can see all the details by reading the press release: Amdocs Releases CES 9. (We're still waiting for the first telecom tech company to include a caffeine-related application in a new release, but we live in hope.)

But there are a number of key elements worth highlighting that, for different reasons, point toward a shift in corporate mindset.

Three developments of note
First, there's the integration between various Amdocs elements. Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Ari Banerjee, who is well versed on Amdocs and its portfolio, notes that the vendor has "done a lot of plumbing and created a lot of ready-made connections between different elements."

This is evident in the Omni Convergent Charging part of CES 9, which combines the company's "real-time charging, policy control, enterprise product catalog and service platform." Banerjee notes that this is the first time the Bridgewater policy management capabilities have been truly integrated with other Amdocs elements.

Then there's the Business Building Blocks element, which, according to Amdocs, offers "pre-integrated and pre-tested software functionality designed to support specific business needs and reduce time to market." Of course this only works if you are building applications with the Amdocs building blocks -- it doesn't cater for stitching in third-party code -- but this is empowering the customer, enabling CSPs to develop new capabilities themselves. That's a major change in thinking for Amdocs.

And then there's Proactive Care, a new customer care module that enables greater efficiency and availability of relevant information for customer care staff and the customers themselves. This is based on the analysis and processing of real-time information (it comes with the Big Data tag, of course) and it utilizes analytics capabilities that Amdocs has developed in-house. Banerjee believes it incorporates a "very good concept" in terms of customer care and notes that it "isn't slideware -- this is already functional and being used."

Amdocs is being a bit coy on naming names. Eric Carrasquilla, general manager of the customer management division at Amdocs, told Light Reading that CES 9 has been tried and tested by: a cable operator in Europe, which piloted the Multichannel Self Service capabilities; a mobile operator in North America (Proactive Care); and two fixed-plus-mobile operators in North America (Multichannel Self Service and Proactive Care).

Fiscal muscle
What hasn't changed so much is the financial clout of Amdocs. It has just reported quarterly revenues of $826 million and net income of $99 million for the three months to the end of 2012.

The company is something of a money machine. In its full fiscal year ending September 2012, it generated revenues of $3.25 billion and a net profit of $391.4 million.

But Amdocs knows it can't sit pretty on that business. It faces tough competition from the likes of Oracle Corp., NetCracker Technology Corp. and CSG Systems International Inc. for major billing deals, has a new international rival in the form of aggressive Chinese vendor AsiaInfo-Linkage Inc., and is challenged in multiple niche areas by a host of specialist vendors with real-time policy and charging, rating, mediation, customer experience management (CEM) and many other SPIT applications. (See NEC to Buy Convergys Unit for $449M.)

That's one reason why Amdocs is looking to do lots of things differently, including working with Microsoft Corp. (instead of Oracle) as an IT platform and database partner. (See Why Amdocs Is 'Seeing' Microsoft.)

Of course, Amdocs is still a company that relies on services for that financial strength: In that full fiscal year, only 4 percent of its sales came from product licenses, while the remainder was generated by services, and that ratio is hardly going to alter dramatically overnight.

But its DNA has changed -- it's now a company that is developing product solutions for customers. And that's not the way it used to be.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading and Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
bobmachin
50%
50%
bobmachin,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/14/2013 | 8:27:06 AM
re: Amdocs Ain't What It Used to Be
Did Amdocs happen to mention their own Net Promoter Score?
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/5/2013 | 9:33:58 PM
re: Amdocs Ain't What It Used to Be
Amdocs held some briefings about CES 9 recently, including one in NYC last week I had a chance to check out. The briefing covered a lot of groundm and like a lot of BSS/OSS products, demos with examples of what those products -áactually *do* in the real world sometimes offer a better sense of how those products can help out service operators.

One demo showed how CES 9 would proactively tell a mobile customer (via a pop up on the -áphone or tablet screen)-á that their video streaming minutes for the month was about to hit the ceiling, and that they were in line for a -á50 percent discount for an additional 50 minutes for $2.50 and have it charged to a credit card or the service provider bill. The idea behind this real-time interaction/proactive self-service -áwas to anticipate things like byte caps and help customers make changes on the fly versus having to wait for the next billing cycle.-á I imagine that sort of proactive care will come in very handy as more ISPs roll out metered and/or consumption-capped data policies.

Amdocs execs also spent some time talking about how these -átypes of proactive features and personalized self-service apps can help to boost a provider's so-called Net Promoter Score, which is a customer loyalty metric, while also boosting revenues (Amdocs told us that the service provider average is 22, noting that Apple's is somewhere in the mid-70s. If a company is really bad, they can have a negative NPS). -áAnyway, NPS improvements apparently can also improve how much money is rolling in the door.-á Amdocs said that a 4 point increase in NPS equals a 1 percent increase in revenue. -áJB
Ray Le Maistre
50%
50%
Ray Le Maistre,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/5/2013 | 9:24:16 PM
re: Amdocs Ain't What It Used to Be
Now watch Amdocs announce tomorrow that it is acquiring a major IT integration and consultancy firm... :-)
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (1) comment


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
LRTV Documentaries
2020 Vision: A First View

12|9|14   |   02:25   |   (3) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Iceland, unique Heavy Reading research shows that comms service providers are optimistic about the next five or so years.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
Cisco Makes Big Analytics Push
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/11/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Upcoming Webinars
Webinar Archive