ECI Ups Its Services Game
The services are: Network Design (focused on minimizing disruptive migrations as well as optimizing design); Network Audit (to analyze and track changes in network elements and topology); and Traffic Analysis and Optimization (network monitoring).
This isn't the Israeli vendor's first foray into the services sector, as the company has already announced some engagements. (See ECI Wins Managed Services Deal and ECI Wins in Togo.)
ECI knows that, in a market dominated by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Nokia Networks (with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. trying to make ground on the leading trio), its team of hundreds can't compete with the global resources and thousands of services professionals the major vendors boast. (See Huawei Plays Managed Service Catchup, The Substance of 'Hollow Operators', Services Save Ericsson in Q2, Services Now 45% of NSN Revenues, and Vendors Scrap Over Managed Services Deals.)
However, it believes it can carve out some new business and make itself more indispensible to its customers with the kinds of services that help reduce operational costs and complexities for carriers that don't have large support teams or, in some cases, a great deal of experience.
So these services are targeted at carriers looking for a quick, low entry-cost solution to their network operational issues.
For large operators with planning departments, or government agencies that like to keep their day-to-day operations strictly in-house, ECI has developed a set of OSS tools: the Network Design Platform (supporting multiple technologies from any vendor, and with open APIs for customization, ECI claims); LightPlan (for WDM network planning, simulation, and documentation); and Site Planner (configuration and documentation for all ECI products).
ECI believes current market conditions are creating demand for such services and OSS tools.
"More than ever before, carriers are looking to their vendors for professional expertise, especially for the transition to next-generation networks and for optimizing their existing networks," says Oded Harniv, ECI's associate vice president of Software Solutions. "The downturn has [squeezed] capex, but demand for bandwidth keeps increasing, so operators need to get more from their resources."
One such operator is Vodafone India , which wanted to increase the efficiency and capacity of its TDM infrastructure, cut its operating costs, and defer some capex ahead of a network migration program, while adding millions of new customers each month -- the operator signed up nearly 2.2 million users in August to take its total to more than 80 million. (See Tata Takes Summer Subs Lead.)
ECI used its Network Design Platform as part of a network analysis and consultancy project for the operator that identified network bottlenecks and several ways to employ existing resources more efficiently.
Vodafone Essar (previously Hutchison Essar), it should be noted, has deployed a lot of ECI transport equipment, making the Israeli vendor an almost natural choice for the exercise. (See Hutchison Essar Picks ECI.)
Deals with non-ECI customers, though, will likely be a great deal harder to come by, as, apart from the large equipment vendors, ECI is also up against telecom software big hitters like Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), and systems integrators such as Accenture and IBM Global Services .
Having such services and software tools, though, is likely to make ECI more "sticky" as a vendor partner, and boost its potential revenues from its infrastructure customer base.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading