Why is Amdocs Buying Actix?

Scratch beneath the marketing veneer: Actix is essentially a service assurance platform for mobile. Why would Amdocs buy-in to SA, a niche their OSS suite has historically had little success with?

At the start of September, Amdocs announced their intention to acquire Actix for $120m in cash.

In the press release Amdocs states that the acquisition, “…expands Amdocs’ customer experience portfolio further into the network domain to manage customer experience…”

I take that at face value. The current market means you can only sell OSS/BSS products if they are revenue generating. Cost-reduction and efficiency alone don’t cut it anymore. The actual business of selling stuff lies with BSS, so OSS products in the last few years have been promoted as improving ‘customer experience’, directly contributing to retaining happy customers, providing services that can be sold to said happy customers and indirectly leading them to tell their friends that they should buy your communication products too.

So in line with this industry Zeitgeist, Actix isn’t just a mobile service assurance tool; It is a “geo-located customer experience analytics”.

Again, I take this at face value. It’s not just marketing fluff. Actix developed a technical solution for analysing network data with the primary aim of identifying the impact on customers. That’s quite distinct from many traditional OSS products, Amdocs’ included, that started out as tools primarily to serve the network planners, operations and engineering boffins in doing their job.

Amdocs will be quite aware of the current OSS market, and will be feeling some pain as the business benefits of their traditional, technical, OSS products no longer resonate with most telcos: There’s too many hops, and too many other dependencies, to get from deploying a new inventory platform to actually understanding customers and positively affecting their services.

Acquiring Actix makes more sense now. It’s a technical product, Amdocs understands technology, and it also genuinely offers customer experience benefits out of the box, which Amdocs customers are asking for.

Actix may also add value to Amdocs’ existing OSS products.

The press release goes on to say:

“Amdocs will be expanding its CES (Customer Experience Systems) portfolio with geo-located network data that will drive a variety of optimization use cases.”

What might those use cases be? With Actix identifying at-risk services, Amdocs OSS swings in to action to resolve the issues, managing network plans and upgrades to build in additional coverage and capacity.

One other reason for the acquisition now is that this deal follows hot on the heels of the acquisition of Arieso by JDSU, back in March of this year. Actix and Arieso are leaders in this mobile service assurance and customer experience niche. While there are smaller players and more generic network data analytic options out there, Amdocs would have been motivated to buy-in to a proven, well productised solution.

You can find Amdocs’ statement on their intent to acquire Actix here: http://www.amdocs.com/News/Pages/amdocs-to-acquire-actix.aspx

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