Light Reading

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        ADD A COMMENT
bobmachin
50%
50%
bobmachin,
User Rank: Moderator
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
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Goes Mobile With vEPC

7|2|15   |   1:12   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Gabriel Brown discusses results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade that shows a clear commitment by mobile operators to move quickly to virtual EPC deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Business Sense of SDN

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Results of a Brocade-sponsored survey show that CSPs have a clear sense of SDN use cases but are wrestling with the business case. Sterling Perrin of Heavy Reading looks behind the numbers.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think

7|2|15   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Forget the usual ten-year cycle for new technologies – NFV will be a core part of CSP networks in five years, based on results of a Brocade-sponsored survey, says Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Gains Traction With CSPs

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro of Heavy Reading analyzes results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade showing that CSPs are getting serious about making the transition to the New IP era.
LRTV Custom TV
It's (Real) Time for Analytics

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges looks at how CSPs say they plan to use analytics to deploy new services in real time as part of The New IP, based on results of a survey sponsored by Brocade.
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (7) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (1) comment


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Director Opens Up on Women in Tech

6|25|15   |   3:25   |   (0) comments


Heather Kirksey, the director of the OPNFV, gets real about the gender disparity in open source and standards and discusses how we can change both the conversation and the gender dynamics.
LRTV Custom TV
Symantec's Service Provider Security Strategy

6|24|15   |   7:06   |   (0) comments


Didi Dayton explores Symantec's emerging enterprise security strategies for service providers. Highlights include 'killing the password,' self-defense, advanced analytics and adaptive response in a service provider architecture.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Staying Productive With My Office-in-a-Bag
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/25/2015
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
What's in Your Office-in-a-Bag?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones