February 14, 2005

Amdocs Ltd., a provider of billing and customer-relationship-management software primarily for telecommunications companies, this week rolls out updated billing, CRM, and order-management modules; tighter integration of its product line; and a partnership with SAS Institute Inc. All these developments could eventually lead Amdocs into new markets.

The SAS partnership is designed to bring more analytics capabilities into Amdocs' software by providing customers with a service overlay they can use to gain more contextual analysis of customer data. That's probably the most significant development, says Yankee Group analyst Jason Briggs. It's the deepest partnership either company has formed to date and a move Amdocs had to make, Briggs says. "Do you want to create your own analytical platform and then train your customers how to use it, or would you like to let them use something they're already comfortable with?" he asks. "If you look around the telecom market, there are a ton of SAS deployments."

Briggs says he expects Amdocs and SAS to test their partnership within the telecommunications market before taking a combined offering to other vertical industries.

The moves represent the most concerted effort to more closely tie Amdocs' widely used billing and order-management tools with the Clarify CRM technology it acquired from Nortel Networks Ltd. in 2001. The goal is to better enable and simplify business processes that have to tap each of the systems, such as rolling out new services or fielding customer-billing inquiries, says Scott Kolman, director of product marketing for Amdocs' CRM division. By giving phone companies the ability to give more data to customer-service agents, Amdocs is trying to give its clients more control over interactions with customers.

Amdocs also is introducing tools for defining, automating, and managing business processes to help customers better synchronize their processes with their billing, order-management, and CRM systems.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Kontzer may have spent the past 11 years of his life writing about business and technology, but there's so much more to his complex existence. He's the soon-to-be-divorced father of ...