The other day I was asked an intriguing question by Dan Baker of B/OSS World and the RA Roundtable: what if a large telco was organized into a thousand business units? Dan was pondering the unique management strategy of Zhang Ruimin, boss of the $20 billion Haier Group. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it might address lots of the inherent weaknesses of telcos. To find out more about Zhang Ruimin’s approach to management, and my thoughts on what impact they would have in telecoms, look here.
Archive for July, 2011
Look here for an interesting interview of Simon Collins and Sergio Silvestre by Alex Leslie. The WeDo duo talked about the fraud and RA challenges posed by machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and near field communications (NFC). Their main thrust was that businesses will need to think differently in order to manage the risks, as was highlighted by Collins with this story:
Recently I wrote about how peer-to-peer internet currency Bitcoin could emerge as a long-term threat to mobile banking and money transfer services. Since then I found this article in Time magazine which asks if Bitcoin might eventually rival the US Dollar and other government-backed currencies! The arguments are intriguing, though far from conclusive. Howver, it is worth taking a look at some of the well-informed comments from Time readers. There are people with both the tech saavy and the economic nous to see the benefits of such an independent P2P currency – and why it is a threat to various business models, including some of those being touted by telcos. For example:
They say that the best kind of advertising is a personal recommendation from a friend. If these comments represent a large enough group of genuine advocates, then Bitcoin really could become a serious rival to other kinds of money transfer… thanks to the pervasiveness of the internet.
It is pure speculation, but a run of peculiar events suggests that cVidya, the Israeli revenue assurance vendor, is up to something. Maybe they are tarting themselves up for an IPO or trade sale, or maybe their top team is in a state of flux. Take a look at some of the signals, and decide for yourself.
None of this proves anything, but I think most neutral observers would agree there is something unusual with how cVidya is presenting themselves these days. Since cVidya acquired ECtel and delisted them from the stock market, we have no public numbers in order to analyse their performance. This means cVidya-watchers are heavily reliant on reading the subtext of cVidya’s press coverage and sniffing little bits of news wherever they can. Looking at the old numbers still in the public domain, we can see that cVidya’s January 2010 acquisition of ECtel saw them obtain ECtel’s strong balance sheet, but also ECtel’s burn rate, which was enough to consume all their assets within a few years. Now we can only guess at the current cashflows and balance sheet of the combined entity, though we do know the universal truth that no business can keep on losing money forever. It would be easy, but wrong, to add 2 (changes to finance and marketing management) to 2 (few sales announcements, with even fewer details) and come up with 5. On the other hand, sometimes saying nothing is worse than only giving upbeat messages which do not explain how and why a business is changing. Quietly losing a CFO, highlighting sales whilst being secretive about specifics, changes at the top of their North American office immediately after they report a batch of sales in that region… what cVidya is not saying is much more interesting than what they are saying.