TL; DR: For more than two decades, Optiva has been on a mission to provide the best practices and software available to help global telecom companies take their businesses to new heights. The company’s mission-critical business support system (BSS), now in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, empowers customers to concentrate on their businesses rather than deploying and managing enterprise-grade software. With a focus on usability, Optiva aims to create ideal customer experiences that help telcos grow and thrive.
Businesses spanning a range of industries have grappled with the growing pains of digital transformation for quite some time. The process, which typically involves moving outdated legacy systems to the cloud, is often met with resistance — especially when considering the attention and resources it takes.
But any organization that is stuck in the past from a technical standpoint stands little chance for growth. To stay ahead of the competition and continually improve the customer experience, businesses must remain up to date with current innovations.
Many companies have accepted this truth — and have either reimagined their technologies or are well on their way to doing so. But the telecommunications industry is unique.
“While so many other industries performed this transformation — moving applications and workloads into the public cloud — the telecommunications industry is a bit behind,” said Shay Assaraf, Chief Marketing Officer at Optiva. “It’s a very customized industry, a highly regulated industry, and one where applications are massive and transactions need to be handled in real time.”
Optiva, a software provider that has been delivering its mission-critical business support system (BSS) to telcos and MSPs since 1999, realized early on that cloud technology could bring game-changing perks to the industry.
That’s why the company created an end-to-end Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) BSS platform available on the public cloud — and continues to educate clients on its benefits. By moving its BSS solutions to the public cloud, Optiva proves that telcos see up to 80% reduction in the total cost of ownership, 10 times better performance and speed, and two to three times faster time to market.
“Our product portfolio includes a real-time converged charging system as well as a full end-2-end BSS platform, both running natively on the public cloud,” Shay said. “It helps CSP provide a better customer experience due to speed, scale, and software capabilities as well as enjoy security, and massive savings.”
Providing Mission-Critical BSS Software to Telcos and MSPs Since 1999
Optiva, which was founded in 1999 as a solutional provider known as Redknee Solutions, has operated in the telco space for quite some time.
In 2000, the company expanded into Europe, and in 2004, it opened research and design facilities in India. In 2017, after ESW Capital became a majority shareholder, Redknee Solutions was rebranded to Optiva — a process that was finalized in 2018.
Shay told us that, when the company (then Redknee Solutions) first developed BSS, the monetization platform was an on-prem solution. Three years ago, the company underwent a strategy change and a digital transformation of its own.
Now, Optiva is aiming to do the same for its customers — because they can’t afford not to. Not only does public cloud help save on overall costs by eliminating the need to purchase and manage in-house hardware, but a flexible, dynamic license ensures customers only pay for what they need.
“In 10 years, the entire telecommunications industry will be running in the public cloud or making the final selection process involved with moving into the cloud,” Shay said. “It will be vital to any application, most notably, BSS.”
Optiva is very confident in that prediction because the company is seeing the same momentum in other highly regulated industries with legacy systems, including, banking, and insurance. Today, Shay said only 3% to 5% of telecommunication companies worldwide are running on public cloud, but expects more providers will embrace the technology once they realize it’s more affordable, easier to manage, and more scalable.
Educating Clients on the Benefits of Public Cloud
“At first, most providers would say ‘No, at the very most, we might go to private cloud, but never public,’” Shay said. “But, about a year and a half ago, more and more operators began to ask us why they should go into the public cloud — to educate them and show them the value.”
The team found there was a misconception among customers that the public cloud was “a datacenter in the sky” and lacked the benefits many companies enjoy, such as dollars and hours saved, operational agility, streamlined workflows, and better scalability.
“It’s a completely different way of managing your hardware,” Shay said. “But that’s just the first layer. The second layer is all of the innovative software that the public cloud offers you — for example, traditional on-premises databases are facing challenges that can be addressed with databases managed on the public cloud.”
Another benefit of cloud computing is peace of mind through time saved. “Everything is managed, automated, and orchestrated in the public cloud, and you get to focus your attention on managing your business and your teams rather than your infrastructure,” Shay said.
After providing ample demos and educational opportunities, Optiva noticed that customers began to slowly adopt the technology. The company serves customers in countries and continents across the globe, including the U.S., Africa, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Japan, Mexico, and Peru.
“As a global company, nothing takes place across the board, but more and more customers are understanding the value and asking not ‘Why?’ but ‘When?’ and ‘How?’” Shay said. “The conversations are becoming much deeper.”
A Focus on Usability for Customers Across the Globe
Customization was and still is indisputably a huge industry practice. But Optiva seeks to cut through this convention and focus on usability, instead.
“The next thing we’re investing in is a zero-customization vision,” Shay said. “Again, software in this industry is heavily customized, which is both very expensive and creates a technical debt, making the software more complex to change.”
The more customization, Shay said, the longer users have to wait for upgrades to be done — sometimes as long as five to eight years. This means the operators can’t enjoy new functionality as it is released and are constantly lagging behind. The lesson here: Buzzwords may capture attention, but the practices behind them are only valuable if used strategically.
So, while the intention behind customization is typically to create a better, more personalized customer experience, it can end up becoming a disadvantage when it impedes usability and diminishes the practicality of the system.
“We, as a vendor, are trying to onboard our customers to a product journey, which means instead of customizing each solution to death, we try to generalize them,” Shay said. “This allows for better, richer functionality inside the product itself.”
Rather than customize the software, Optiva’s approach is to provide configurable settings in the form of templates and a flexible user interface that empowers users to make changes, but not at the detriment of the product.
“In the end, we don’t want to generate revenue from customization,” he said. “We want to generate high-volume revenue from selling valuable software at the lowest cost.”