Archive for January, 2010

Following their merger with fellow Israeli RA vendor ECtel, cVidya announced they would be

the leading global vendor in the Revenue Intelligence category, in terms of market share, revenues, installed base and product portfolio.

I blogged straight away about the difficulty of verifying cVidya’s claim, highlighting in particular that rivals WeDo and Subex might claim to be the top revenue earners in the sector. cVidya’s figures are not publicly reported, so that is where I thought the story would end. However, Israeli business news outfit Globes has once again let slip some useful information about Israel’s revenue assurance companies. In the Globes story about cVidya’s purchase of ECtel, they reported (more…)

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The leaner, meaner Subex has posted good results for Q3. A while ago, Subex press releases liked to talk about the top line, not the bottom line. Now the focus has reversed. The leaner Subex looks like its annual revenues will be much closer to USD100m than the USD120m+ that had been its forecast only a few years ago. But now that Subex has a much lower cost base, profits and EBITDA have rejuvenated. In Q3 Subex made a profit after tax of USD 8.7m over sales of USD 25.1m. With Subex’s management saying they have resolved their FCC overhang, they can look forward with increased confidence thanks to their strong fundamentals.

(more…)

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Mark Yelland joined me for talkRA podcast number 10. Mark has just co-written a new book with David Sherick, entitled “Revenue Assurance for Service Providers”. You can obtain the book from Amazon.com by following this link. The book is also available from Amazon.co.uk and Authors OnLine. We talked about Mark’s experience as a revenue assurance practitioner and how he has translated this into practical advice which is especially useful for the smaller operation that wants big RA results without necessarily needing to buy big RA systems. You can listen to the full hour-long conversation at talkRA.com, or by subscribing to the talkRA podcast through iTunes.

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Revenue assurance vendor cVidya has announced they have completed the purchase of fellow Israeli business ECtel. You can read the announcement here. The merged business will operate under the name of cVidya. One sign that the old ECtel brand will be rapidly killed off is that the old ECtel website has already been taken down.

In an interesting spin on the story, the announcement emailed to customers said that:

The acquisition of ECtel positions cVidya as the leading global vendor in the Revenue Intelligence category, in terms of market share, revenues, installed base and product portfolio.

That is a pretty mighty claim. How do they know? Comparing product portfolios is pretty subjective, especially when you are talking about an arbitrary ‘category’ of products like Revenue Intelligence – a phrase I have not seen used before. Comparing market share and revenues can be objective, but you need data to do the comparison. An RA firm should understand that more than most. One of the problems with comparing RA vendors is that about half of them are privately owned, meaning they make no public announcements about revenues. cVidya fits into that category, and the delisting and acquisition of ECtel means ECtel’s numbers will no longer be public either. The public has never seen reports of cVidya’s annual sales or earnings so we cannot verify their claim. Then again, cVidya has not seen the comparative numbers for other privately-owned vendors, making me wonder how they decided they are the biggest. Even sifting through the figures that are reportedly publicly is difficult. The information reported may be abbreviated because the business is part of a group, or the vendor may have other revenue streams that complicate a like-for-like comparison.

This is not the first time the RA industry has seen contentious assertions about who is biggest. I have written before about how Subex and WeDo had competing claims to be the biggest revenue earners in RA. I concluded that post by saying Subex’s RA revenues were higher, if you counted fraud management as part of RA. Following that post, WeDo dropped me a line to say I should have excluded FMS from RA and then they would have come out on top. With cVidya now saying they are biggest, it will be interesting to see the response from the guys in Lisbon and Bangalore…

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If there is any vendor in the revenue assurance space that can be presented as a national champion, it is WeDo. Two news releases help to confirm that. First, WeDo won an award for innovation from COTEC Portugal, an association set up under the patronage of Portugal’s President with a mission to promote innovation. Second, and more importantly, WeDo has sold its ‘business assurance’ software to the retail division of Sonae. The software will be used to handle internal quality control processes and cost control. This rather helps with WeDo’s strategy of diversifying away from being a supplier to telcos. Of course, it is worth pointing out that WeDo is owned by Sonae Group – so this sale is a case of keeping business within the family.

With other RA firms sometimes suffering because of intense competition from rivals both within their nation’s borders and from overseas, you could argue that WeDo’s owners are unique in having a long-term strategy to build a stable and diversified business. Selling RA software into other industries gives WeDo an advantage in terms of experience and credibility that competitors can only envy. Other nations gives awards to promote business, of course. But a real question for the RA community is whether Portugal’s route to building a national champion might be the best strategy of all.

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