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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: James Dunlap, President of Cycle30 (Part 7)

Posted on Thursday, Sep 23rd 2010

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Shaloo Shalini

SM: GCI created this “order to cash” service spin-off. Tell me more about what happened and what made you decide to make this move? Are you providing that same “order-to-cash” offering, which is cloud based, to various telecom and utility providers now?

JD: That is correct. The subsidiary of GCI is called Cycle30.

SM: Now, is GCI your only customer?

JD: They are. We spun up business in April after writing the business plan and doing market analysis. We also did some test marketing with potential customers. When we were doing our research, what I found, having been a customer of other hosted billing providers, is that if you are a tier 1 provider, if you are AT&T or Verizon or Comcast, then you can demand just about anything from a hosted billing provider. However, if you are a mid-tier company, you really do not have power within those providers. Your only choice was to align with tier 1 people in terms of your requirements and needs. What you are going to get as features are whatever they have as the offering. With Cycle30, we have seen just an enormous amount of interest for hosted services from other mid-tier companies in the telecom, cable, broadband, and utility sectors in the short time we have been in the market place. Most people do not want to run their own “order to cash” environment. What we have found is just that scenario that it is truly underserved today.

SM: How many of these providers are there in your market when you did your business plan? What did you come up as your total available market (TAM) numbers?

JD: We saw that four large providers focus on the tier 1 and a handful of providers that focus on the mid tier. What is interesting about that handful is that majority of them are privately held companies and do not have the ability for capital expansion in the way as we do as a public company. Other than those, there is a smattering of smaller providers at the lower end of the market and they are trying to reach up. It is the mid market segment, say from 100,000 subscribers to 2 million subscribers, we think there is significant market potential across telecom, cable, and utilities.

SM: How many players are there in that space? I am referring to your potential customers.

JD: Well, there are thousands of customers. If you look at the utility sector and in that subscriber span – there are thousands of utilities in North America that cover that area in the telecom and cable sector. About 150 companies are there in that space. The split is 30-50 in cable, and the majority of them are in wireless and wireline space.

SM: When you said three or four vendors – that is your competition?

JD: They are our competitors. Yes.

SM: How do you view them in deciding the spin-off as a company? How is Cycle30 positioned to compete better in that market?

JD: GCI, being an operator and a provider via Cycle30 offerings at the same time, that brings a perspective for the work we do for other s in a way that no one else can accomplish. Truly, we look at it as the way an operator would, whereas the rest of the existing hosting providers truly just run data centers. They have no concept of the actual work done or what the end service is that is delivered to customers.

SM: Is the integration of various components of your workflow is something that you do that they don’t?

JD: It is something that we do and manage ourselves and understand as an operator. There is no hosted provider in the industry that we know of today in the world that is also an operator.

SM: That is very interesting!

JD: We have a unique perspective in the market. Unlike a traditional hosted provider – if you look at Amdocs, Comverse, or a CSG – they run data centers. They host applications in their data center for providers, but they are not a provider themselves. They don’t understand the details of how an operator users those systems, what are the demands associated with customer services and new product turn-up. If you look at things such as SLAs, they write those from the perspective of hosted providers. Their SLAs are not geared to protect the service delivered to a customer, to the person who, say, gets a mobile phone and needs to have it turned up in five minutes.

SM: You are differentiating on your domain knowledge from being inside telecom and being an operator, right?

JD: Absolutely.

SM: Well, this been an enlightening conversation about your market, James. Thanks, and let’s keep in touch.

JD: Thanks, Sramana.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: James Dunlap, President of Cycle30
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