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NetCracker's Suite Spot

Carol Wilson

DUBLIN -- Management World 2012 -- The BSS/OSS pendulum is swinging again, moving away from "best of breed" and back toward "end-to-end."

At least, that's the view of Netcracker Technology Corp. VP of Strategy Sanjay Mewada, who's here talking about how the acquisition of Convergys Corp. (NYSE: CVG)'s Information Management business, completed just in time for the show, has enhanced his company's portfolio. (See NEC Completes Convergys Unit Acquisition.)

That $449 million buy adds billing and charging to NetCracker's arsenal, giving the company that (wait for it...) end-to-end capability to support real-time differentiation and prioritization of services, particularly over mobile networks. Mewada admits there is much work yet to be done. (See NetCracker Plays End-to-End Game.)

"We are a long way away from associating value with a given service on a dynamic basis," Mewada says. "But that is where we are headed. I need to know what traffic is and be able to prioritize and charge for it differently."

The combination of NetCracker's service layer OSS capability, the Convergys billing and rating functions and the policy enforcement capabilities of NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), NetCracker's parent company, position the company in the (here it is again) end-to-end space.

And there is a sense of market urgency around this capability. NetCracker could have chosen to use NEC's billing and charging capability, being deployed in Japan, comments Stephen Randall, director of product marketing for Convergys. By acquiring an outside company with an existing footprint in the space, NetCracker sped up its time to market on the combined solution and established its credibility more rapidly, he says.

That urgency is based on two key factors, says Mewada. First, the need to bring real-time rating and charging to the IP service world and second, taking that major step forward while also handling an exploding volume of traffic.

One of the capabilities Convergys will bring to the process is the ability to filter the vast quantity of traffic-related information to produce the relevant records needed to efficiently manage services, Randall says.

NetCracker is positioning itself to assist its service provider customers in determining how to replace their unlimited service plans with differentiated pricing schemes that consumers will adopt and regulators will accept. In some cases, service providers are developing their own plans to do this and looking for help in making those plans work while in other instances, they are asking for help developing a pricing scheme, Mewada says.

New markets, including M2M and cloud services, will only add to the pressure on service providers to provision application and value-based pricing in an efficient way that doesn't increase the cost of delivering those services, he says.

"We are seeing a technology step-change and a business model step-change," Mewada says. All of which adds up to the need for (last time, I promise) end-to-end BSS/OSS functions.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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