Light Reading

Leading Lights Finalists 2014: Outstanding OSS/BSS Vendor

Ray Le Maistre

To recognize the critical role that operational and business support system companies play in this industry of ours, Light Reading this year introduced the Outstanding OSS/BSS Vendor category to its annual awards program, the Leading Lights. (See Leading Lights 2014: The Finalists.)

The category was created to recognize the back-office software systems vendor that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, helps set the industry trends, makes investors proud, and makes employees happy.

The submissions were more than impressive. Here are the seven companies that made the shortlist (in alphabetical order), and the key reasons why they made the cut:

Amdocs Inc.
It's hard not to say that Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), which won the Leading Lights award for Company of the Year (Public) in 2013, has gone from strength to strength in the past year. It has consistently reported record quarterly revenues and has been expanding and enhancing its service provider IT (SPIT) capabilities with the development of its CES suite, which incorporates OSS, BSS and policy management capabilities for all types of services. (See Amdocs Launches Updated CES Suite, Amdocs Reports Record Revenues in Fiscal Q2, and Amdocs Reports Fiscal Q1 .)

The most significant development of the past year -- which for the purposes of the Leading Lights means April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014 -- has been the acquisition of Actix and Celcite. From those deals Amdocs created its Network Solutions unit and then launched its Self Optimizing Networks (SON) software platform just ahead of Mobile World Congress. (See Amdocs Shines SON Acquisitions on RAN, Amdocs to Acquire Celcite, and Amdocs Dives Into Mobile SPIT Pool.)

"This network play puts us on the best path to capture the network optimization opportunity, and tap into new growth markets," noted Amdocs in its submission.

AsiaInfo-Linkage Inc.
Having built itself a significant BSS business with China's three main operators, AsiaInfo Inc. (Nasdaq: ASIA) has for the past few years been working to establish itself on the international stage, taking on rivals such as Amdocs and Oracle with its Veris BSS suite, which can be deployed as a multi-tenant cloud system. In November 2013, a year after setting up commercial operations in Europe, it announced a deal with Telenor Denmark, where it is replacing more than a hundred existing systems with its Veris package. That transformation project is ongoing, and, if successful, could lead to further engagements with Telenor in Europe. (See AsiaInfo Scores Tier 1 Win in Europe and AsiaInfo Takes On BSS Giants in Europe.)

AsiaInfo-Linkage, which became a private company earlier this year, appeared somewhat ambitious with its plans to take on the established BSS giants in Europe, but the move appears to be paying off. (See AsiaInfo-Linkage Goes Private.)

Digital Route AB
DigitalRoute AB is the kind of company that many service provider IT specialists would like to be: It has been focused on delivering core back-office capabilities for years, enhancing its offering to reflect customer requirements, and building a solid and profitable business along the way. The core product in this case is MediationZone, a component-based system that provides process modelling and network configuration capabilities that help operators reduce their costs and improve time-to-market. It is deployed in more than 300 back offices globally.

Whereas mediation systems are traditionally designed for, and used, to process billing data, Digital Route's system can be used to process data for multiple use cases, a capability that looks increasingly important as service providers wake up to the potential of analytics. "Giving service providers the ability to understand and act on key information at network-, customer- and even session levels to increase performance and reduce churn has delivered added value in real-time," noted Digital Route in its submission.

Courtesy of its recent acquisition strategy, which has seen the Swedish giant buy Telcordia and ConceptWave during the past few years, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is now one of the biggest OSS/BSS vendors in the industry, and is ranked the number-one player in many service provider IT sectors, such as real-time charging and traditional network management systems. (See Ericsson Buys More OSS Smarts.)

As a result, "Ericsson considers OSS a key differentiator for the company," and has been using its many assets to create new offerings, such as Service Agility (OSS, BSS, APIs) system that has attracted major operator attention. (See CenturyLink Drives a Nail Into Osmine’s Coffin.)

Matrixx Software Inc.
Matrixx Software Inc. is a relative newcomer to the BSS sector, having been formed six years ago. While that means it has its work cut out to compete with entrenched vendors, it has also been able to take an "entirely different approach both architecturally and functionally to build something that would be fit-for-purpose for where communications service providers are going, rather than where they have been."

The company currently supports online charging, policy management, and pricing analytics on its real-time transaction processing platform, but can develop and add new capabilities to meet customer and market demand. Despite its newcomer status, Matrixx has secured a major European customer in Swisscom and has several more as yet unidentified customers going live in 2014. "Swisscom sees us as a partner that is helping it transform its business as it innovates in new ways, to expand and monetize mobile broadband services and move its business to real-time," noted the company in its submission.

Redknee Inc.
Canadian BSS vendor Redknee Inc. (Toronto/London AIM: RKN) has transformed itself during the past year following the acquisition of Nokia Siemens Networks' BSS unit, which became part of Redknee in late March 2013. The past year has been the integration period, which can make or break an acquisition. (See Redknee Seals NSN Deal.) By all measures it has been a success in this case, with Redknee holding on to the NSN team and customers and transforming itself into one of the major players of the BSS sector, generating revenues of $72.4 million in the three months to the end of March 2014, compared with $11.8 million a year earlier.

The company's main offer is a real-time converged billing and customer care solution that addresses billing, charging with integrated policy, promotions, analytics and business intelligence and CRM, all from a single platform, which can be delivered in a cloud model, as software-as-a-service, or as an on-premises solution. Scalability is a key factor for Redknee: It says its system is supporting real-time charging for more than 100 million customers at one Tier 1 operator customer in Asia-Pacific.

The company now has more than 200 service provider customers and is adding to that number each quarter, as well as looking towards different industry verticals to grow its business. (See Redknee Lands BSS Deal with Telekom Austria.)

Tail-f Systems AB
Swedish upstart Tail-f Systems has long been telling the market that there's a different way to approach network management, pitching its Network Control System (NCS) as something that can "replace the bloated Service Provisioning & Activation layer in the OSS with more agile Network Service Orchestration. The concept behind network service orchestration is to decouple network services from specific network components, while automatically configuring the network according to the service specifications." In the past year the market has started to listen, as Tail-f's proposition fits neatly with the new way of thinking that has emerged as network operators consider their SDN and NFV strategies.

The Tail-f proposition is that its system can be easily deployed in multi-vendor environments, speeding up the process of launching new services and improving operational efficiencies, all without vendor lock-in. That proposition has won support from some of the largest Tier 1 operators in the world, including AT&T. Tail-f believes that the support from the US giant "is a great validation that networking is heading into a model-driven future. The ability to express the syntax, structure and semantics of network equipment and services in a data modeling language and separate them from the run-time platform opens up for radical change." (See AT&T's Cloud Future Takes Shape and Deutsche Telekom: A Software-Defined Operator.)

The Leading Lights winners and 2014 Hall of Fame inductees will be unveiled at the Leading Lights awards dinner, to be held the evening of Tuesday, June 17 at Chicago's Adler Planetarium. (For more details, see Bumper Year for the Leading Lights Awards.)

Stick around on Wednesday for the second day of Light Reading's Big Telecom Event, taking place at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers on June 17-18. (Details and the agenda are on our show site, Big Telecom Event.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (9) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.