Comptel Acquires Xtract

More evidence that OSS/BSS vendors and their customers are starting to really appreciate data analytics.

Comptel has announced its acquisition of Xtract (here), supplier of analytics products for telco (and retail/banking too).

The price paid by Comptel is modest to say the least: 3.1 million Euros paid, for Xtract's last year revenues of 2.4 million Euros. So not even a 1.5x multiplier. Either Xtract are motivated sellers, or it suggests that much of the analytics success is services-driven, rather than being off-the-shelf product sales; services companies usually achieve lower exit multipliers than product companies.

The deal is good news. Innovative OSS/BSS vendors are recognising that they can offer smarter solutions with analytics.

Most OSS/BSS products that grew out of the telco boom of the 90s/00s are process-oriented. They sit on a wealth of valuable data, using it to execute jobs, rules and tasks to do something useful (provision a DSL line, calculate a bill, etc). But all that data is ripe for analytics, either to perform additional tasks (like Xtract's customer churn prediction and service upsell suggestions) or to do existing tasks an order of magnitude better (like Aria Networks re-optimising the network for greater service resilience).

This is where the big OSS/BSS vendors are going to be differentiating their product range. Analytics is a natural bolt-on to existing OSS/BSS data sources, making it an attractive up-sell opportunity for vendors and a low-risk project for customers.  We can expect to see more acquisitions and product development in this space over then next couple of years.


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