Optical/IP Networks

Report: OSS Minnows Have Muscle

Big global technology brands aren't as powerful in the telecom software market as they are in the hardware and general IT sectors, according to a new market perception survey conducted by Heavy Reading (see HR: OSS Markets Lack Clear Leaders).

The 2005 OSS Market Perception Study shows that well known IT players such as Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) are struggling to gain recognition in their respective telecom software sectors, while much smaller, more specialized firms such as Azure Solutions Inc., Dorado Software Inc., NetCracker Technology Corp., Quallaby Corp., and Rodopi Billing Software are relatively well known in their target markets.

In addition, big telecom industry names that scored high ratings in the previous OSS market perception report in Fall 2003, such as Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), didn't do as well in the overall ratings this time around (see Report: OSS Brands Lack Impact).

"These results confirm earlier Heavy Reading conclusions that service providers are actively searching out best-of-breed OSS products, rather than relying on incumbent vendors alone," states the report.

Despite this, only two of the 13 categories were topped by privately held companies, with Narus Inc. heading up the mediation systems table, and Cramer Systems Ltd. taking top spot in the resource and inventory management sector.

In fact, the inventory management sector, widely regarded by many as one of the key OSS battlegrounds as carriers prepare a shift to next-generation networks, was dominated by privately held firms. Behind Cramer came Granite Systems, which is now part of Telcordia Technologies Inc., with NetCracker in third place (see Telcordia Shells Out at Last and HQ Sale Funds Telcordia Deal).

All three of those brands showed a dramatic rise up the inventory chart this time around: Cramer, the only company in the category to be recognized by more than 50 percent of the respondents, leapt from sixth spot last time; Granite rose from fifth; and NetCracker, which saw its brand recognition rating increase by 10 percent to 29.6 percent, powered up the chart from eighth place in the Fall 2003 survey.

The company that tops the overall rankings this time is Micromuse Inc. (Nasdaq: MUSE), a big improvement on its fifth place last time around. In fact, Micromuse is the only company to be ranked as the leading supplier in more than one of the product categories included in the report.

Other companies that crept up the overall rankings table are Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), and MetaSolv Software Inc. (Nasdaq: MSLV).

The survey's respondents rated equipment sellers on these five leadership criteria: name recognition; price; product performance; product quality and reliability; and service and support. The study covers 190 vendors, including 86 public companies and 104 private companies.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

For more on this topic, check out the Heavy Reading report: 2005 OSS Market Perception Study

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