AsiaInfo Linkage wins the heart of Telenor’s business

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.

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Alex Leslie
About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks Peter. I agree. In fact, I am now slightly embarrassed to have been flippant when lamenting the fate of US Cellular and another vendor we could mention when I said the age of the large transformation must be confined to history. Tomorrow’s piece is based on a presentation by Peter Cochrane, whose thesis is that only humans ‘optimise’ things, nature does not. I think decisions like the one that Telenor has made supports the thesis that we should learn from nature. And, no, no wine has been taken in the writing of said piece!

  2. I feel moved to join the chorus Alex. This is definitely not a small project. Indeed, succeed or fail, the consequences for both AsiaInfo-Linkage and Telenor Denmark will be massive. For Telenor, the project is a leap of faith. Not only have many such projects ended in chaos and failure in the past, but also AsiaInfo-Linkage is a new player in the region, so the risks appear great. For AsiaInfo-Linkage however, it is a validation of the company’s claims to have the kit and the experience to make it’s mark on the European market. Indeed, Dr Tiller draws some very convincing comparisons between the structure of Chinese CSPs’ and their requirements for next-generation BSS and those of their pan-European counterparts, so I’m not that surprised a company the size of Telenor signed up with AsiaInfo-Linkage. You only have to look at the vendor’s publicly-announced wins over the last five years to see what its good at and the scale it is used to working to.

    As for sharpening the game of the other major software vendors, I think you are probably right. I can imagine some of them right now thinking ‘Well, if AsiaInfo can do it…..”

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