This week, Sigma Systems stumped up an undisclosed sum to acquire Tribold, provider of product lifecycle management software to the telco industry.
The press release issued this week leads on the benefits of being able to offer an “idea-to-install process, from the point of creating and deploying new products and services, to creating and configuring the customer’s order, through to delivering the order with installation and activation.”
Tribold have been on OSS Line’s radar for a number of years, emerging as a promising start-up back in 2003 offering Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software (later re-branded as Enterprise Product Management), offering a centralised product catalog and related integration and process management capabilities.
Tribold’s emergence was at a time when the Big OSS companies were also starting to invest in developing product catalogs to provide a more business-centric interface to the well established, technical focused, fulfilment, provisioning and inventory platforms.
There was much hope that product catalogs would bridge the gap between OSS and BSS, providing a simpler way for CSPs to bundle, sell and provision services based on the components available in the OSS and ultimately the underlying network. However this vision was rarely realised, largely due to the all too familiar complexity of integrating systems in telcos, and ownership issues for a solution that typically sat between two very different departments responsible for OSS and BSS.
Modest success was to be found by specialist Tribold who are able to offer a usable, stand-alone solution for documenting and managing product definitions. With Big OSS solutions being too tightly coupled to one OSS vendor’s software and the complex underlying fulfilment integration, Tribold’s more generic solution has been able to dominate the PLM niche in the telco market.
According to the PR, Sigma’s vision for Tribold is to achieve what the Big OSS companies did not: a joined up product life cycle across BSS and OSS boundaries. This may be achievable with Tribold, being the most mature and invested PLM software in the market, but technical and organisation challenges still remain.