UPDATED: Mewada clarifies NetCracker’s BSS assets
NEC-owned NetCracker will have a stronger OSS-BSS suite that can meet the changing demands of telco operators as a result of its $449 million acquisition of Convergys’ BSS business, according to CEO Andrew Feinberg and Sanjay Mewada, VP of Strategy.
Mewada said that operators are moving to demand end-to-end OSS-BSS provision on to meet their needs around customer experience management, transaction management and the ongoing challenge of monetising data traffic. Allied to that is the need to take cost out of the operation and management of BSS.
“The cost of operating and managing traditional BSS is too high,” Mewada said.
To that end, the combination of Convergys’ Information Management (IM) business with its capabilities in rating and billing, CRM and product control management with NetCracker’s OSS capabilities would position NetCracker as the largest centre of telecoms software expertise in the world, Mewada said.
The combined company would have annual revenues of $2.5 billion and a staff of 12,000, the executive added.
Although NetCracker portrayed the acquisition as very much complementary from a product and technology point of view, in fact the company was already positioning itself as an end-to-end telecoms software provider. Its website carries product and solution lines covering billing, mediation, rating, charging and product management – all areas it said it is bringing in in a complementary fashion with the Convergys acquisition.
So either the company was previously over-stating its case as an end to end provider, or else it has some significant product alignment and integration to carry out post-acquisition.
One line of argument might be that most of NetCracker’s BSS capabilities grew out of NEC’s very close carrier relationships in Japan. NetCracker’s original aim was to use its global footprint to extend the reach of existing NEC software products. It now looks as if it has switched tack to buying-in that BSS expertise, instead of porting the NEC Japan-based products to a global customer base.
Although there was no representation from Convergys on a press call held by NetCracker, Feinberg said that Convergys offloaded its IM business as it wanted to focus on its CM (Customer Management) business, and could not “truly support the IM business to way someone like NetCracker could”.
Convergys’ IM business generated an operating income of $37.2 million on revenues of $328.8 million in 2011, Feinberg said. The acquisition is set to close in the second calendar quarter of 2012.
UPDATE from Sanjay Mewada, VP Strategy at NetCracker. We put some of the above points to Sanjay. This is his reply:
“Prima facie it may look like there is overlap between what we have and what we have acquired. But on closer examination you will find that Convergys IM business fills some key gaps in our portfolio.
“The BSS continuum stretches from post-paid to pre-paid to converged to real-time charging. On the policy side, the capabilities range from policy optimisation, management to enforcement. Mediation can be active or passive. There are of course the domains of content, partner management and transaction enablement. No single supplier today can claim to have all of these capabilities, with a score of A+ for every domain.
“For example, NEC is a supplier of BSS systems to most Japanese carriers. The Japanese market, specifically for mobile commerce and mobile transaction has no equal (in terms of sophistication, scale and size). However, these solutions are not as well known outside of Japan and would require additional investments to make them end-to-end and comprehensive in all the domains of BSS (mentioned earlier). Convergys fills some of these gaps very well, bringing a strong post-and pre-paid capability and when combined with real time charging creates a complete BSS portfolio. Most importantly, the IM acquisition gives us immediate access to 150+ customers (outside of the Japanese market), and we offer them a complete end-to-end solution.
“Last but not the least is the overnight addition of 2400 skilled BSS staff which is very valuable, as it hard to find skilled experts in domains such as BSS and OSS.
“One important thing we try to keep in mind is that markets are dynamic, and therefore require keeping a close eye on their evolution. We will continue to use a combination of organic and inorganic investment to deliver the most optimum set of capabilities to our customers — whether it be products or services.”