Note: To support questions from enterprise buyers and private investors that are looking at Telecom Expense Management and the greater Communications Lifecycle Management world, Blue Hill is starting a monthly review of the key announcements made in this space from companies including, but not limited to: 2-markets, 4telecomhelp, ACCOUNTabill, Advantix, AMI Strategies, Asentinel, Avotus, Calero, Cass Information Systems (NASDAQ: CASS), Cimpl (formerly Etelesolv), Comview, EZwim, GSGTelco, IBM Global Services (NYSE: IBM), ICOMM, MDSL, mindWireless, MOBI, Mobichord, Mobile Solutions Services, MobilSense, MTS (NASDAQ: MTSL), Nebula, NetPlus, Network Control, One Source Communications, Softeligent, Tangoe (NASDAQ: TNGO), Telesoft, TNX, Valicom, vCom, and Visage.
Communications Lifecycle Management news items that have gotten Blue Hill’s attention in May 2017 include announcements from Calero, MTS, and vCom.
On May 4, Calero announced the release of PINNACLE 7.0 – an update to the company’s on-premise and cloud-based Communications Lifecycle Management software that includes a new user interface and additional analytics capabilities.
The update was focused heavily around creating an easier to use interface with improved navigation, screen real estate, and a responsive design to adjust to various device sizes. Calero’s guided analytics update for PINNACLE 7.0 is aimed at enabling users to work smarter and faster through self-service capabilities and increased visibility, rather than the use of static reports and dashboards.
Blue Hill has been documenting the strategies of various TEM companies in our landscape reports and other analyst coverage, and we have noticed that there is a distinct trend for vendors to offer either full self-service analytics, or to provide reporting and analytics as a managed service in which the vendor generates reports for the client. Both approaches have their advantages and will appeal to different types of enterprises. Calero’s PINNACLE update addresses the trend for self-service by offering a guided analytics approach that enables the platform to be used by not only IT but also purchasing, procurement, mobility, and line of business managers across the organization.
On May 3, MTS announced the release of a new version of its eXsight Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) Management solution. The new release includes an updated user interface and expanded reporting, provisioning and control, and Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities. The platform is available either through a licensed or cloud hosted model.
The update seeks to provide an expanded view into business metrics (such as employee productivity, application adoption, helpdesk insights) and the ability to integrate with Human Resources, Finance, and IT systems. The platform enables ad hoc reporting that allows users to customize reports and automatically share them across departments, with access available via mobile, browser, or desktop.
eXsight allows clients to gain information instantly through a single sign-on screen, and to manage their UC&C needs including instant messaging, employee presence, application sharing, and file transfer.
Blue Hill has observed that enterprises are seeking to manage Unified Communications technologies within their TEM platforms. MTS’ eXsight platform features expanded capabilities in BI, reporting, and self-service, to enable more seamless and functional integration with UC and communications technologies within a platform equipped for remote as well as traditional desktop access.
On May 11, MTS announced its first quarter 2017 earnings report. Revenues for Q1 2017 were $2.4 million, down from $3.3 million for the same period in 2016. However, telecom revenues increased to $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $1.6 million during first quarter 2016. The company’s Vexigo video advertising business reported revenues of $575,000 in Q1 2017, down from $1.7 million during the same period in 2016. Overall, the company reported a net loss of ($899,000) on a GAAP basis.
Commenting on the financial results, Chairman of the Board of MTS, Haim Mer, noted that the company’s telecom business “continues to be stable” and that the company has “signed two new TEM customers to long-term contracts.”
As of September 2016, video advertising accounted for nearly 50% of MTS’ business. The decline in the company’s Vexigo revenues may indicate that it will more heavily prioritize its telecom expense management division going forward (as evidenced by recent updates to and investments in the company’s TEM platform).
In February, upon the departure of MTS’ CEO, Orey Gilliam, Blue Hill noted that the video advertising space is becoming much more competitive, and hypothesized that MTS would place a lesser priority on this vertical due to both Gilliam’s departure and the difficulties of competing in the market. The growth in MTS’ telecom business despite an overall loss for the quarter demonstrates the continued opportunities that exist in the TEM market for both leading global players and mid-market vendors, especially those vendors that prepare for the next generation of TEM such as by integrating with UC technologies.
On May 3, vCom announced the integration of ServiceNow, a leading provider of cloud-based IT service support management solutions, with its enterprise mobility platform. The integration will enable vCom to offer its customers a more direct and efficient means of handling IT support requests by utilizing ServiceNow to drive transparency, deliver faster service, and reduce costs. ServiceNow will integrate directly with vCom’s platform, enabling users to open requests directly without IT involvement.
Blue Hill has increasingly been documenting the transformation of IT, and the need for TEM vendors to offer managed services that automate some or all of the processes and policies associated with enterprise mobility. Enterprises are more often seeking TEM solutions that integrate with a broader range of IT assets and services, and ServiceNow has become one of the more popular TEM platform integrations. vCom is strengthening its ability to compete in the changing TEM space by offering an integration with ServiceNow to continue supporting not only TEM, but the broader space the company dubs IT management-as-a-service (ITMaaS).