For companies in the service providers industry, field service is of paramount importance. Being able to upgrade, maintain, and answer customer calls effectively is essential in squashing customer churn. Looking to provide a more cohesive solution to the worldwide communications service industry, TOA Technologies and Amdocs formed a partnership to combine the best of what both companies have to offer through its solution sets.
According to information provided by TOA, Amdocs will resell TOA's ETAdirect solution, which will be integrated with Amdocs' operations support and business support (BSS/OSS) systems, enabling telecom providers to manage the entire customer experience from start-of-order in the traditional contact center, to completion of in-home services via improving field workforce management and related customer communications.
According to Yuval Brisker, chief executive officer of TOA, the partnership is a natural fit for his company. "Our solution is focused on providing and enhancing the customer experience for cable, telecom, broadband, and satellite companies," he says. "Amdocs is the premier provider of solutions bringing customer care [offerings] to these businesses. It just makes sense."
Talks between the two companies began approximately a year-and-a-half ago and evolved into talks of a global partnership, according to Brisker. He explains that Amdocs was looking for other players in the marketplace to fill gaps in the customer experience management portfolio it brings to market, while TOA was looking for a partner that would "appreciate the value we bring to the table from a financial point of view via enhanced ROI," he says.
What is also at stake here is the need to create a better experience for the oft-told story of individuals waiting for hours waiting for the cable repair professional when, unbeknownst to them, the technician simply does not show up. "Our focus is on the customer pain during the appointment event," Brisker says. "We've all experienced it. I don't think I've ever made an appointment with a service provider [without being] given a four-to-six hour window."
It also helps that Amdocs has reach into a global market which can help TOA, which right now is primarily in America and Europe. "Amdocs' global footprint will help us catapult the company forward," Brisker adds.
Michael Maoz, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, explains that the partnership will do well for both vendors, and also for end-customers. Speaking specifically about Amdocs, Maoz says that teaming up with TOA helps fill a gap in its field service functionality. "That is one of the areas Amdocs hasn't been strong in," he says, adding that the company already possesses strength in operational layers, billing, and network awareness. "This is important; especially in its core market of telecom ... for all intents and purposes, [the vendor] is drilling into the whole world of communications."
For TOA, an enterprise software-as-a-service play, Maoz says having a household name vendor like Amdocs as a global partner can help make more inroads with potential clients. "TOA can gain more credibility with prospective customers, essentially stating that it is a real player, has a multibillion dollar partner with a whole other set of assets that is taking a chance with it," he adds.
While at first glance this seems like a logical pairing, Maoz says time will tell if the relationship turns out to be both strong and significant. "The question is what Amdocs will extend to customers and prospects of TOA except a piece of paper saying the two companies are partners," he says. "If that's all it is, it won't go that far to convince people it is anything more than an interesting idea. In terms of having practical business value for me in terms of risk mitigation or a price break, even better."
This is indicative of a larger trend, Maoz says, citing SAP's relationship with ClickSoftware. "Field service has the least cache about it ... most CEO's ignore it," Maoz says. "But especially with capital equipment, service is where all the money is even if it doesn't have a whole lot of sex appeal. The best customer experience over time will win -- everything else is a commodity."
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