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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | September 20, 2017

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Vodafone bills out to Amdocs

Outsource Magazine

Vodafone Netherlands has signed a five-year managed services agreement with Amdocs with the CRM firm assuming responsibility for Vodafone Netherlands wholesale and retail billing, provisioning and partner settlement operations.

Vodafone Netherlands says this will allow it to increase its focus on addressing customer needs and on service innovation, while achieving operational cost efficiencies. Amdocs will help Vodafone Netherlands execute its integrated customer management strategy which the telco argues will help it deliver “superior customer service, reaptime-to-market and flexibility advantages for launching new, innovative services and improve the customer experience”.

Amdocs will provide ongoing operations support, application development and maintenance, and helpdesk and trouble ticketing services, all under a clear structured service level agreement (SLA). Amdocs will also provide consulting and training services to support the rollout. This agreement follows successful implementations of Amdocs Billing, Amdocs Partner Manager and Amdocs Document Designer at Vodafone Netherlands and will call for an even closer business collaboration between the  two companies.

Guy Laurence, chief executive officer at Vodafone Netherlands, explained: “Amdocs also has been driving some of the largest and most complex business transformations in the communications industry for nearly a quarter of a century. This current managed services contract allows us to leverage that experience. This contract is also a natural evolution of our successful eight-year relationship with Amdocs and reaffirms the company as one of our most strategic and trusted business partners.”

Analysts said that while the deal itself is relatively small in value, its longer term significance shouldn’t be underestimated. “This agreement certainly opens up a new era in the Vodafone – Amdocs relationship,” said Ovum’s Jean Charles-Doineau. “The markets have been buzzing for quite a while about Vodafone planning a large IT outsourcing program. Smaller operations incontinental Europe have often been used by the Vodafone group as aspring-board for new ways of operating, and new supplier relationships.

“Vodafone Netherlands moving into a BSS-operations externalised company- after moving into a network operations externalised company (it has been outsourcing network operations to Ericsson in the beginning of the year) – certainly shows what could be the new Vodafone operationalcompanies business model going forward.

“This business model, on condition that the Netherlands example shows positive results, would ultimately rely on a complete virtualization of the networking and BSS environments thanks to managed services. The role of Vodafone’s local operational companies would in that case consist in local and contextualized marketing and commercialoperations. Though this operational model has been debated for a while, though some of its benefits sound clear, we believe Vodafone and Hutchison are probably today the two companies which have been really trying to turn it into action. It will be very interesting to see the benefits of these moves going forward – and we will be watching this.

“Finally,at a market level, this agreement is one of the first of its kind.Though in the US, a natural evolution of the BSS vendor and service-provider relationship has pushed vendors into outsourcing and managed services for a while, it has been completely different in Europe. Most of the service providers operating in EMEA have seen billing as a strategic investment over time, and have really invested in billing operations. On the mobile side, this has led service providers to develop complex billing systems, partly relying on networkIN technologies for the delivery of prepaid services. And on the fixed side, this has led carriers to invest in their own systems – up to apoint where they can hardly transform them. The advent of self-provisioning, convergent offerings, unlimited tariff plans pushes fixed and mobile carriers into a new area, which has strong implications on the BSS side.

“Next-generation billing systems need to be agile, unified, and need to have low operating costs.Managing this transformation is a huge issue, which northern American carriers have been facing already for quite a while because of the consolidation happening there in the market. Their preferred answer has been “managed services and transformational outsourcing”. It seems that the dominant mobile European carrier could share these views.”

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