A Review of Comptel’s 2014 Business and 2015 Outlook

Posted: February 6th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on A Review of Comptel’s 2014 Business and 2015 Outlook

Comptel’s growth accelerated towards the end of the year. Our sales in Q4 grew by approximately 21% compared to last year, and  our order backlog grew significantly compared to the previous year.

During the second half of 2014, we won several new customers as well as several multi-year deals with our existing customers. In Q4, we won two new customers, both in South America. Looking at the full year, we doubled our new customer wins: to eight in 2014 compared to four in 2013.

Our new solutions grew almost 26% in Q4, as well. However, our full-year expectations for new solutions did not materialise as we had expected. Our current business was strong and grew by 5% in 2014 as a whole and compared to the previous year.

Regionally, Asia-Pacific grew throughout the year, Europe had a very strong second half, and the Middle East performed as planned in 2014. As previously stated in 2014, our challenges were in the South America region.

Our net profit improved also significantly from previous years due to some previously made tax changes in Asia and also due to some new decisions by the tax authorities. Going forward, we expect this to reduce our effective corporate tax rate.

We ended the year with a solid balance sheet and continue to be net cash positive. During 2014, we secured 26 significant orders, valued over EUR 0.5 million. In 2013, the comparable number of orders was 17. The Group’s reported order backlog increased from the previous year, from EUR 40.8 in 2013 to EUR 55.2 million at the end of the 2014 financial year. The company’s total backlog including multi-year orders beyond 12 months is more than EUR 70 million.

New Organisation

Comptel renewed its organisation in the beginning of 2015. The new organisation reflects the company’s focus on the two core business areas. Going forward, the two business units are: “Comptel Intelligent Data” and “Comptel Service Orchestration.” The Comptel Intelligent Data business unit includes Comptel Convergent Mediation, Comptel Policy and Charging Control and Analytics. The Comptel Service Orchestration business unit includes Comptel Provisioning and Activation, Comptel Fulfillment and Comptel Inventory.

Moreover, the company continues to have common sales and services organisations and corporate functions. In addition, Comptel established a new business unit, which will concentrate on new ideas and products in the early stage to develop them further.

Business Outlook and Markets

The business environment and industry of telecommunications operators is at a clear turning point, since new technologies and business competitors are entering the traditional telecommunications market. We expect the trend to continue in 2015.

While fundamental investments are targeted to high bandwidth, 4G and fibre networks, operators have a strong need to develop and launch new services and improve the quality of the customer experience, to gain the full potential of their investments in a heavily competitive market. Fierce competition inside the telecommunications industry and against the newcomers in the same market requires that operators improve their business processes continuously and pay special attention to their cost structure.

The significance and role of software in managing the telecommunications networks and in enabling more business for operators will further increase. We expect that the implementation of new network technologies and services will slightly increase the value of the software market and will create demand for larger software delivery projects. The operators will require both services and new project deliveries that create a strong basis for business growth. Network technologies will also be moving to software-based cloud environments at an increasing pace, and will bring new and more extensive business opportunities for our service orchestration and intelligent data solutions.

We expect the 2015 net sales to grow compared to the previous year, and we expect operating profit to be in the range of 8-12%, excluding one-time charges. Characteristically, a significant part of Comptel’s operating profit and net sales is generated in the second half of the year.

Comptel’s Q2 and H1 2013 Business Activities and Results in Review

Posted: July 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights, News | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Comptel’s Q2 and H1 2013 Business Activities and Results in Review

Yesterday, we announced Comptel’s financials for the second quarter and first half of 2013. To review the April – June period, our operating profit increased significantly compared to the previous year; we secured six significant orders (each valued over EUR 500,000) during this timeframe. We shared the news of communications service providers (CSPs), including Turkey’s Avea, Zain Kuwait and an African operator in conjunction with Tech Mahindra, leveraging our portfolio to get smarter about their operations, improve the customer experience and realise their business performance objectives.

Comptel also announced two new industry partnerships in the run up to our participation at TM Forum’s Management World conference in Nice in May. And as noted in our results announcement, our operating expenses decreased over the first half of the year, while we’ve realised efficiency improvements from the measures put in place in 2012.

Improving profitability continues to be our key goal throughout the rest of the year. We are further investing in our sales efforts in Latin America, the Middle East and new markets in Asia, and actively seek growth in these regions to compensate for the challenging market situation in Europe. We are also focusing on developing our fulfillment product line and our advanced analytics solutions over the coming months.

Comptel has especially received excellent feedback from the market about our strategic direction with regard to analytics – this was further reinforced with a Pipeline Innovation Awards win for Comptel Social Links. Earlier in the quarter, we re-organised this business unit to further open up opportunities in this area and further add value to our CSP customers, and now, we estimate that analytics deals will close in the second half of the year.

As I said last quarter, Comptel is on the right path, and is successfully executing its Event-Analysis-Action strategy and strengthening its position in the customer interaction automation domain.

Q3 2012: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Posted: October 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Q3 2012: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Last week, we announced Comptel’s financials for the third quarter of 2012, which proved that our earlier focus on cost containment is quickly showing results. This quarter was ripe with strong sales, bringing the company back to profitability, and I am very pleased to show revenue growth in all of Comptel’s areas of business.

We won two significant projects from South America – one is outside of our traditional domain, from a Brasilian utility company that purchased Comptel Fulfillment, and the other is with Telefonica Argentina that continued to consolidate its mediation systems with Comptel. Reinforcing our position as a powerful analytics vendor, we also closed a Comptel Social Links deal with a prominent operator group in the Middle East. In addition, there was a considerably large sized managed service deal, and a few larger upgrades of Comptel Mediation and Comptel Fulfillment contracts from existing customers.

As anticipated, the operating result for the third quarter was positive. We met the cost-savings targets set in June, and the cost level for this quarter was significantly lower compared to the first half of the year. Now, it is time to move forward following the regrettable personnel-related efficiency measure we completed during the quarter and continue the execution of our strategy. We’re confident that we’re moving in the right direction and are further improving the integration of our analytics capabilities and striving to deliver on our corporate values.

One of our goals is to become the leader in customer interaction automation for telecommunications, and we’re also looking to expand this outside of our traditional domain. This will ultimately have an impact on our sales and marketing strategy, which will both be aligned with the approach, as the role of our partners will become even more important. In order to implement the new sales and marketing approach, we decided to build a strong team of sales executives, headed by the newly established role of Chief Market Operations Officer (CMO), who will take the lead in this transformation. At the same time, we also simplified our Executive Board to ensure the organisation is as efficient as possible and can successfully execute the strategy.

Overall, the third quarter of 2012 has been quite busy. Maybe the best way to sum up this quarter is to simply reiterate how I concluded the last quarter: I’m honoured to convey, on behalf of Comptel, that we are looking forward to continuing to deliver on our promises to the market in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Q2 2012: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Posted: July 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Today, we announced Comptel’s financials for the second quarter of 2012 and for the first half of the year as a whole. This is a personal milestone for me, as it marks my second year fully immersed as CEO — and as you’ll see from our mid-year highlights, I’m confident in the direction the company is moving.

This past quarter, our order backlog rose to a record high, as we won a significant EUR 5.4 million project to consolidate the mediation systems of a leading operator in Western Europe.

The upfront investments in the customer interface have yielded results in our largest regions, Europe and Asia, and we won seven new customers globally. Although our net sales have not yet met expected levels, they stayed on par with last year’s numbers, EUR 20.3 million (EUR 20.0 million). And we are optimistic our investments will grow our 2012 net sales approximately 10 per cent from the previous year. Integration of the advanced analytics expertise acquired in February 2012 has proceeded exceptionally well, resulting in winning our first deal for Comptel Social Links software.

We continued to bring new products to the market as key strategic initiatives. The major launch of Next Generation Comptel Fulfillment 8 software this quarter was received remarkably favourably by the OSS/BSS industry.  We also unveiled our Contextual Intelligence for Telco (CIQ4T) concept this quarter, providing communications service providers a framework for bringing customer experience to the next level. This innovative approach truly differentiates Comptel in the market.

Our business mix of licence and services sales was impaired by the personnel, project delivery and marketing costs, causing lower operative results than expected. To remedy this, we initiated first productivity action by streamlining R&D in Norway and further cost saving initiatives will bring us approximately EUR 10 million on annual level. During the second half of 2012, we will realise EUR 3-4 million savings. These initiatives will secure our competitiveness, sustain the execution of our strategy, and deliver an estimated 0 – 5 per cent operating profit of net sales, excluding one-off items.

Beyond the figures, we also concentrated the first half of the year on executing our new strategy. We opened new offices in Istanbul and Cairo  and announced several major customer wins around the world. These included, Telefónica Central America’s mediation consolidation that enabled the efficient management of more than half a billion daily transactions, Thai mobile operator Real Move’s deployment of Comptel’s Fulfilment solution to gain customers from the 3G market,  Kcell Kazakhstan’s replacement of its provisioning and activation system with Comptel’s Fulfilment suite to support its 3G rollout, and Kuwaiti’s  Watanya Telecom improvement of its customers’ first use experience with Comptel’s Dynamic SIM solution.

We also launched a new portfolio approach with our Customer Engagement solutions and Comptel Services Portfolio, in addition to a refreshed Comptel brand identity at Mobile World Congress Barcelona in February. We shared a white paper regarding Contextual Intelligence for Telcoms at Management World Dublin and organised our annual Comptel User Group in Copenhagen with more than 100 participants from leading service providers and industry analysts. On top of this, our customer engagement solutions were honoured in Pipeline’s Innovation Awards and the 2012 IBM Beacon Awards as the best communications industry solutions — reinforcing our capability to bring innovative products and solutions to the market.

Overall, the first half of 2012 has been largely focused on executing our strategy, investing in bringing new products to market, winning new customers and developing our Services Business. As we move into this next quarter, we’ll continue onwards building on our stated strategy and remain confident the productivity programme will secure our competitiveness. And I’m honoured to convey, on behalf of Comptel, that we are looking forward to continuing to deliver on our promises to the market in the second half of 2012.

Management World 2012: The Importance of Dynamicity for Innovation

Posted: May 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

While the weather remained unexpectedly warm here in Dublin, the conversations at Management World 2012 also heated up this week. Like Keith Willetts discussed in his keynote session, dealing with competition from over-the-top (OTT) players, combating churn and managing revenue growth were big areas of focus at TM Forum’s annual flagship conference. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a session that touched upon these industry challenges and really reinforced the overall theme of innovation.

Henk Ensing, technical consultant for TNO Information & Communication Technology, a Dutch institute for applied science that specialises in helping companies innovate, covered the potential for dynamic billing and why communications service providers (CSPs) need to inject some new thinking into their charging concepts and business processes. He highlighted that the key elements to dynamicity were analysing transaction-based usage, applying intelligent business rules and considering the contextual status of individual customers. Coincidentally, these were the main attributes for Comptel’s own Contextual Intelligence for Telco (CIQ4T) perspective.

Henk went on to state that dynamic billing brings the element of customer trust to a new level and illustrated this with an analogy comparing CSPs to fresh produce market merchants. Many people have a regular routine of going to the market on the weekend, generally stopping by their favorite vendors for particular foods. The vendors, in turn, are familiarised with their customers’ preferences and can tailor the products they sell accordingly or make recommendations on complimentary additional products based on their extensive experience with the produce—further strengthening their interactions. The vendors, however, don’t always have fixed prices on their produce, which may vary depending on factors like the season and supply. Yet, what keeps the customers coming back? It’s the relationships the vendors are building and nurturing.

Similarly, dynamic billing is based on strong customer relationships where each transaction is a unique opportunity to create a positive end-user experience. Taking into account the context of and appropriately targeting each individual customer interaction is key though. For example, CSPs should consider where the customer is in his or her lifecycle and what products will fit his or her specific needs and wants, at an appropriate time that adds true value.

Policies that govern charging and the network have an important role to play in understanding and implementing this dynamic ability. According to Henk, the beauty of dynamicity is that these policies can be changed in real time based on customers’ evolving requirements. Say, if someone gets paid every two weeks, he or she can opt to make a payment during that time and customise it depending on his or her personal preferences.

Henk’s thoughts on dynamic billing and charging concepts fit in nicely with the discussions at Management World 2012 and reflected Comptel’s own thinking on how CSP innovation needs to evolve. Analysing customer behaviour is just one step of the process, but intelligently determining their contexts to make interactions more relevant and personalised will significantly result in a high quality of experience and improve CSPs’ bottom lines. Ultimately, it’s about strengthening loyalty through a focus on relationship enhancement.

Reflecting on My First Three Months with Comptel

Posted: May 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reflecting on My First Three Months with Comptel

I promised to write a follow-up blog post after completing Comptel’s rebranding and spending one quarter with the company. I was especially inspired to do this after one of the Finnish business papers asked me to describe how I felt after having spent 100 days in my new role—but in just one sentence.

Requests for this type of ‘elevator pitch’ can be extremely difficult, particularly to be so concise, but mine came pretty easily: “It’s refreshing to be in a company where the values are high on senior leaders’ agendas and present in everything we do.” And after sharing this ‘elevator pitch’, it became even clearer to me that my colleagues, who have been with the company a bit longer, have positively experienced the change Comptel has gone through in the past year, and that other newcomers like me have also welcomed the spirit of the highly knowledgeable and friendly people we have.

In the last blog post, I also discussed the ‘love business’ and how the majority of consumers feel like they haven’t been getting enough love from their communications service providers (CSPs). I feel like discussing this softer side of doing business is critical for any organisation that wants to succeed. So, I’ve tried to summarise our corporate values and make them a bit more concrete with a couple of my own recent experiences as examples.

For instance, last week, I had the privilege of participating in a session where the core members of our analytics team shared their backgrounds and where they would like to see Comptel go in this space. There were many fascinating stories with members of the group talking about their Ph.D.s in mathematics, shared passions for solving problems, and journeys from battling trial and error to ultimately achieving real success when demonstrating how their algorithms can help CSPs get closer to their customers (e.g. predicting the churners with extreme accuracy). This was the perfect setting for showing our excitement about the value add we deliver to our customers and our focus on constantly making things happen and improving the results. I regret that I did not capture those stories via video, but we will soon have a short one featuring Matti Aksela, vice president of analytics. (In the meantime, you can read about Matti’s views on customer experience management in the April-May issue of VanillaPlus,)

Similarly, I visited three of our main offices: Sao Paulo, Brasil; Reading, U.K.; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and found that it was really refreshing to see positive energy, close collaboration at both the global and regional levels, and a strong desire to meet our customers’ needs. And, respect, which is challenging to execute across all individuals in an organisation, was clearly evident as well. I believe the diverse cultural mix across our global organisation lends well to the way respect is shown and expressed—whether it is related to customer requirements or collegial collaboration.

Am I still in a honeymoon phase with Comptel? I don’t think so after hearing that long-time employees share the same feelings—and that they were the ones who established and have made our corporate values happen. The key to this: believing that nothing is impossible and being able to put egos aside and respecting decisions made as a team versus as individuals.

It’s interesting to see how our four values—passion, united, respect and make it happen—are related. It is a bit difficult to make the most out of oneself without passion, and business today is such a complex entity of variables that nobody can make it alone; thus, it is critical to unite and collaborate. Without respect, we cannot ensure that our work is fully resourced and timed to deliver the expected results, such as the processing of more than half a billion network transactions daily for Telefónica Central America.

Comptel’s business outlook is ambitious, requiring constantly winning new customers and enhancing our portfolio by launching new products, solutions and services—all while improving our productivity. The key to achieving these objectives is to align all of the forces needed to reach these goals, ensure a shared direction, keep people motivated and tweak the environment to produce winning teams. I believe that well-implemented values like ours provide fuel for the engine needed to deliver such promises to the market.

This was my reflection from my past three months at Comptel, but as I’m more of a forward-looking person, I would like to briefly highlight our presence at Management World 2012 next week. We are excited to meet with customers, partners and prospects, and discuss how we can help CSPs understand the status and context of their networks and their customers and their service use, rapidly respond to changing market requirements and, more importantly, institute the best approaches for predicting churners and generating new revenue opportunities for better business. We are all passionate and excited about showing how our ‘event-analysis-action’ strategic framework has been operationalised. Hope to see you in Dublin and ‘co’nverse on making data even more beautiful!

Q4 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Posted: February 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Today, we announced Comptel’s financials for the fourth quarter of 2011 and for the year as a whole.

The past year was my first at Comptel, and it was one in which I led the company through necessary transformation. We renewed the organisation and executive board, established new teams and offices, launched new values and formulated a new strategy. We also hired a significant amount of new people to get closer to our customers and prospects. In addition, we increased our investments in R&D to bring new products to the market.

Obviously, this having been a period of transition, our net sales have remained flat (€76.8 million), and our profit has been affected by the investments for growth that we have made (operating profit excluding one-off items was €2.8 million).

However, I am pleased to see that the work we have all put into improving Comptel is beginning to bear fruit. For example, both employee and customer surveys are showing increased satisfaction. We have also managed to win 15 new customers this year, five of which are located in new countries for us and 10 of which came in Q4. Our order backlog has improved significantly, with 23 orders with a value over 500,000 euros booked during the year. This, I believe, creates good conditions for growth in 2012.

Q3 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Posted: October 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Q3 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

It’s been a really busy and eventful third quarter for Comptel, and today we announced our results.

Over the past quarter, we announced the agreement reached with Cisco to purchase the AXIOSS assets. This obviously had a significant financial impact on the quarter. It also provided Comptel with the incentive and the means to accelerate the development of our Next Generation Fulfillment (NGF) platform (more details about this soon).

During the three-month period, we closed three major deals with a value of over €0.5 million. We also continued investing in our sales channels and service organisation, and hiring new employees, as part of our strategy to get closer to our customers.

So in terms of the results, Comptel’s business developed favourably in the Middle East and the Americas. Net sales also grew in Europe West; however, in Europe East, the deliveries remained few. Overall, Comptel’s net sales were €16.6 million, up from last year’s Q3 (€15.3 million), but still below our expectations. Our operating result, excluding one-off items, was €-0.8 million as result of the investments we have been making. Once the impact of the AXIOSS sale is taken into consideration, the operating result is €8 million.

Comptel has been working hard on many fronts, including our strategy, which we will be unveiling this quarter. So stay tuned!

Q2 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Posted: July 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Q2 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Today, we announced our results for the second quarter of 2011 and the first half of this financial year.

This past quarter has been a decent one for Comptel. Our order flow improved from the previous year, and our business developed favourably in the Middle East and Africa, where the measures initiated late last year, such as investments in customer service and consulting resources, have yielded results. In our largest market, Europe, the net sales remained low, which was the main reason for a decreased Group net sales. However, we are optimistic that the decision to split Europe into East and West, and to reorganise our operations to get closer to customers, will help improve the situation. Overall, Comptel’s financial position remained strong during this period.

Looking beyond the figures, the first half of 2011 has been a busy one for Comptel. We attended a number of large events, including Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, February) and Management World (Dublin, May), and held our very own Comptel User Group – CUG (Helsinki, June). All of these were excellent showcases for us, and we had many successful business meetings. We also closed 10 deals of over €500K in value (compared to eight in the same period last year), including four that we consider strategic (NBN CO and three Comptel Control & Charge) deals. Also, as mentioned above, we reorganised to bring our sales and services capabilities closer to our customers and prospects. In particular, we grew our sales force in Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia and the UK. We also made a number of new appointments to the board.

Going forward, Comptel will continue to invest further in the development of our sales and service channels, as well as in our products.

So all in all, it was a busy first half of the year, and we have an even busier second half ahead of us!

Q1 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Posted: April 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Q1 2011: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy

Today we announced our Q1 2011 results. I have to admit they were disappointing on the financial side. Most notably, our net sales in Europe and the Middle East did not live up to expectations.

On the positive side, the APAC region continued to perform well. I was especially pleased about Australia’s NBN Co becoming a customer. NBN Co is doing very leading-edge things, bringing high-speed broadband to virtually every premise in the country. It’s a very high profile initiative, and I know many other countries are looking carefully at similar developments, so we are really excited about being part of this ground-breaking initiative.

From an organisational point of view, Q1 was a period of change. We continued to implement our initiative to get closer to customers and partners, chiefly by putting resources next to them. We also announced the split of our European operations into Europe West and Europe East, to take into account the very different features of the markets in terms of maturity, saturation and growth. We also got positive customer feedback about the new setup for the Inventory business.

This will be in many ways a year of building a new foundation for growth.