It would be tempting for a few people in Cambridge – the UK one – to be saying “I told you so,” about now. This is, however, unlikely, as the team at AsiaInfo Linkage are grown ups. They are also proven industry veterans and would not have taken on the job of bringing a significant Asian software company into Europe if they did not think they could do it. With their first win in the region, a BSS transformation for the Telenor Group, they have proved it.
It is tempting for software companies to get hold of a small project and rush to the presses to tell the world that they have a customer.
But this is not, by any definition, a small project.
It is a complete transformation of the BSS of Telenor’s Denmark operation. It is the first implementation of AsiaInfo Linkage’s proprietary billing solution in Europe. As lead contractor, they will provide on-going implementation, operational and maintenance support. The scale of the project is eye watering. “It is an IT project that supports a complete business transformation programme for Telenor,” says Alex Hawker, General Manager and VP for Europe. “We are replacing over 100 systems to support Telenor’s strategy of simplifying and transforming the customer experience. It is completely mobile data centric.” Interestingly, the systems that the company is replacing are ones that were leading edge solutions not that many years ago. Indeed, some of the team at AsiaInfo used to work for Geneva and Amdocs.
It is also important for some other reasons.
First, it flies a flag for chinese software companies – with proven capabilities – that are trying to get into European markets and are finding unreasonable reluctance. For this project, the evaluation process, according to Hawker, was “extremely rigorous and the procurement process was truly comprehensive. Obviously our customer references were very impressive.”
Second, it disproves our own (slightly generalized) theory, that the age of the total transformation is over. As Dr Andy Tiller, AsiaInfo’s VP of Corporate Marketing said recently, “there comes a point when the need for flexibility and responsiveness simply cannot be addressed by bolting things on to a legacy environment. At that point you have to seriously consider a complete overhaul.”
Thirdly, the win should be a wake up call to the analysts at Gartner who only last month placed AsiaInfo in their Magic Quadrant’s ‘niche player’ box. With this win, and with some visionary thinking around the potential of real-time self service, and how to measure it, perhaps our colleagues at Gartner should consider a swift update.
Lastly, given the second conclusion above, this will be a wake up call to several large software companies we could mention who have been in the total transformation game a while and are, perhaps, needing a little competition to sharpen up the game.
AsiaInfo should be proud – and should raise a glass.