For the last few years, Amdocs has been introducing modules, or “packs,” to customers. These are packaged applications that are equipped with features that address a specific task or functional area and are designed for fast implementation. This strategy was on display last week when Amdocs rolled out its E-Billing Start Pack.
Targeting service providers, it is a self-service application with streamlined billing functionality.
“We have realized over the last couple of years that there is a big demand for prepackaged applications that promisefaster implementation times,” Dana Porter, vice president of strategy at Amdocs, told CRM Buyer in an exclusive interview.
More such packs are on the way, she promised. That’s one of a handful of steps the company is taking in its approach to the market as economic headwinds intensify.
CRM Buyer: How is Amdocs weathering the economic downturn?
The market is certainly challenging, but we’re encouraged by the long-term outlook. We are in a relatively good position as we offer both products and services — including managed services — that are focused on helping service providers lower their costs. We are also seeing continual investment in both developed and emerging markets in such technologies as application stores and digital commerce, although at a relatively slower pace today.
We feel Amdocs is well positioned in the market, but we are not immune to the macroeconomic challenges. It is our view that Amdocs has every opportunity to emerge from this crisis with a stronger franchise and competitive position, even though it will certainly be choppy along the way. Looking back in history, that’s precisely what happened over the course of the 2001, 2003 downturn when Amdocs’ strong recurring base of business proved more resilient than the pack. In the meantime, we continue to invest in the growth drivers and a product portfolio that will strengthen our market-leading position as the economy recovers.
CRM Buyer: What are some of the cost-cutting measures you’ve taken?
We’ve taken the lessons that we’ve learned from working with our customers and applied those best practices to our own business. We are scrutinizing costs, evaluating methodologies, and centralizing processes across the organization with a focus on profitability. One example is a unique methodology we deploy in our project delivery — Theory of Constraints — which enables the execution of projects in less time with fewer resources.
CRM Buyer: How can your products help your customers’ bottom lines in the near term?
Amdocs has developed a list of areas service providers should be looking at for greater efficiency and increased business performance. This list is a good start for customers and is geared towards immediately lowering costs now and ensuring leadership when the economy turns around. They include investigating outsourcing and managed services opportunities; BSS (business support systems) and data consolidation; upgrading OSS (operations support systems) in order to reduce operational costs; and leveraging new and current assets to generate new revenue streams efficiently — such as monetizing the long tail and opening up to partners.
CRM Buyer: What are some of the bright spots for your company right now?
There’s a lot to be excited about, [such as our] managed services. We are already working with many service providers in this model, such as AT&T, Bell Canada, Metro PCS and others. Emerging markets are also of interest — we recently announced contracts with service providers in Latin America, CIS and Asia Pacific. We also continue to see investments in the OSS space. Cable and Satellite presents an important opportunity as well, as we have large multiyear contracts in place with Rogers Communications and Comcast in North America. In addition, we see lots of excitement around enabling the digital lifestyle with new technologies such as the Amdocs App Store.
CRM Buyer: How will your company look a year from now?
I think we will have made greater inroads in our managed services efforts as well as the emerging markets — those are two big pushes for us right now. Also, we are increasing our focus on the digital lifestyle and developing applications to address that space.
CRM Buyer: Could you elaborate a bit more on these directions? What was the reasoning behind these offerings and how does it apply to your overall portfolio?
We identified managed services as a growing demand in the industry for some time, but clearly it will be a significant driver as the economic downturn starts to hit even more companies. Our experience and product development history makes us a natural provider for this service as well. The digital lifestyle area — mobile commerce and so on — is also very important, given the growth in this area. We have developed and are working on several packs in this space aimed at monetization.
CRM Buyer: In what other areas will you be focusing product development efforts?
Emerging markets is another place we want to increase our revenues. These are markets that are moving from the customer acquisition phase to the customer retention phase and need appropriate technology to help with that transition.
As an implementer of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), I’m encouraged to see them mentioning the methodology as strategic initiative. It’s a powerful tool to deliver more projects in less time. It deserves wider acknowledgment.