While some of the largest players such as IBM and Accenture have provided a service delivery platform or two (IBM for Sprint and India’s Bharti Airtel, Accenture for Turkcell), a strike force of small independent software vendors (ISVs) has been crafting and deploying SDPs for broadband operators. And some of IBM and Accenture’s fellow heavyweights not only have taken notice but have taken out their checkbooks to bring some of that upstart-developed goodness home for the holidays.
In an earlier entry on service delivery platforms (SDPs) I did my best to put the spurs to service providers to crack down on systems integrators running the same horses from their stable of software steeds in every race. On the one hand, you can’t blame the SIs for doing what works. If they have a few long-running, you-wash-my-hand-and-I-wash-yours relationships and the service providers are willing to bet on whatever they bring to post, it saves them from actually auditioning new vendors to jockey for position with the usual suspects.
On the other hand, these comfy feet-in-stirrups arrangements take service providers into an entirely different realm where they continue paying more than they should for “icebergs”: Software products that look manageable on the surface but cost $5 or more in integration for every upfront software license dollar, whose integration headaches and hidden costs can sink your next B/OSS project.
As reported in Billing & OSS World by Editor in Chief Tim McElligott, NEC is acquiring NetCracker for about $300 million. And as Tim said, “Given the fate of mid-tier independent software vendors over the last three years – those at the $100 million mark or more – it was a matter of when, not if” Waltham, Mass.-based NetCracker would be acquired. Another great friend and colleague in this business, Elisabeth Rainge, program director of network software at IDC, accurately assessed the deal as having far more to do with the alliance between Alcatel-Lucent and the Cramer division of Amdocs or ALU’s acquisition of Motive than it does the acquisitions of similarly sized competitors such as Granite Systems by Telcordia, MetaSolv by Oracle or Syndesis by Subex.
Absolutely. This deal is another example of a company that has made its mark mainly through equipment and services acquiring a B/OSS leader to stop missing out on major network equipment contracts because it brings no OSS to the table.