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Leading From the Front

Telecom Review

Telecom Review

February 23, 2015
As CEO, Lucas Skoczkowski has been at the helm Redknee for 15 years, transforming it into a leader in the provision of OSS/BSS software and services to the telecom industry. Just before MWC, Telecom Review spoke with the company’s founder about his time at the top, the challenges to his business and the value proposition behind Redknee’s portfolio of products.

You founded the company and continue to lead it. How have you managed to keep going for so long?

Redknee was founded in 1999, so I’m proud to say that 2014 was our 15 year anniversary. At Redknee, there have been several key factors that have contributed to our success over the years. First and foremost - we have an extremely talented and dedicated group of over 1,500 employees who work hard to execute on our corporate vision and objectives. Secondly, we are fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time. The telecom industry has seen tremendous growth and change over the past 15 years, and our billing, charging and customer care solutions have always been at the forward edge of this change, helping CSPs support new business models and monetize data services in new and exciting ways. Last but not least, our customers are the real reason for our longevity. Our success follows on the heels of their success. Today we serve more than 200 clients across 90 countries, and we have grown that by being responsive and listening to our customers – helping them grow and succeed.

Which new technologies such as 5G, M2M, etc.; in the future, are you most looking forward to as areas of growth for Redknee?

The Internet of Things, as with everything in the telecoms business, is probably over-hyped at the moment. In fact, Gartner has placed it at the top of its hype curve for new technologies. But in the coming years we will quickly start to see the business cases emerge. 5G plays a big role here as well, as an enabler for the success and expansion of the IoT. 2020 is the expected to be when 5G gets rolled out, and this will open the flood gates of new computing capabilities and provide the ability to connect just about anything to the mobile network directly, enabling not just the Internet of Things, but the internet of everything, where billions of things will talk to each other in ways that we are only beginning to imagine today. Five years isn’t that far away, so CSPs need to begin planning for what this means for their business.

Many CSPs we engage with today want to play a role beyond just providing connectivity and offer a platform for enabling business and device enablement. The increased deployment of platforms and sensors in IoT will create a plethora of new business models for the future.

The IoT drives tremendous volumes of data and CSPs have the capability and systems to process this data, so there’s a natural role for them in IoT-if they want it. There is an impact on BSS as well, because the IoT drives the need for enormous configurability and a more product-oriented approach, in contrast to classic BSS. Systems will need to be more agile and real-time.

What is the value proposition behind Redknee’s unified platform?

Redknee Unified is our flagship product. It is a modular solution that allows service providers to monetize voice, data and content. It provides CSPs with integrated real-time billing, charging, policy and customer care capabilities - delivering an almost limitless level of agility and flexibility.  This is where we are different from legacy systems, which were designed to rate and charge for voice and data but in a limited fashion.

As Henry Ford once stated, “You can have a car in any color, as long as it’s black.” These systems have the same mind-set. They work well if you only want to rate and charge for the same thing, in the same way, all the time. They lack the flexibility and agility that service providers need today. In our quickly changing digital world, we have moved beyond the one-size-fits all approach. Our clients want to be able to launch and support new services, new content, new partners and even new business models quickly and easily. They want to be able to reach their customers in the moment, to create promotions and campaigns on the fly, without it taking three months of costly billing customizations and bogging down their IT department. We enable all this and more, and it is what sets us apart.

What have been the biggest challenges in your business so far?

Challenge is what keeps my job interesting. Our industry is changing faster than it ever has and I continue to be excited about the opportunities I see. Every day there is a new challenge, but that is exciting to me. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I have never been one to shy away from a challenge. The trick is to have the right strategy and teams in place to be a step ahead of what’s happening in the market. This enables you to address challenges head-on, before they become obstacles.

Almost two years ago we acquired the entire BSS portfolio of Nokia and tripled our employee base overnight. While there were significant challenges with such a large acquisition, this was a huge step for us and it has been a critical component of our recent growth and success. It provided us with the tools and resources we needed to take our business to the next level.

For example, we’ve recently completed a deployment at Vodafone India, which was and one of the most complex and demanding projects in the history of Vodafone Global. This was a challenging and daunting engagement, but it’s really exciting to serve a CSP of this size, with over 170 million users.

In looking ahead, I see CSPs planning for their new roles in the digital ecosystem and we see our customers continuing to diversify. We’re working with non-telecoms industry customers as well as CSPs, and have done quite a lot of work to understand the requirements of other organisations. We have a strong technology core that we’ve developed over the last 15 years. We’ve created this in order to address complex real-time needs in charging, policy and analytics, and we continue to build on this as we see the market evolve.

In five years, I believe Redknee’s customer base will be comprised of 80 percent CSPs and 20 percent across other verticals, and we’ll be seen as one of the top three software platforms in the market. At the same time, we’ll continue to build awareness so that we can be the platform of choice for connected businesses that use IoT platforms. I also understand the growing importance of business partnerships and see a real need to continue to improve how we approach and grow in this area. You can also expect to see us acquire companies that will help shape our organisation to be more responsive to where the CSPs will be in the future.

These goals put significant demands on us as a company and ensure that we don’t rest and sit back on our laurels. I envision in the next five years that we will have built a business that is approaching US$1 billion in revenue, and we’ll achieve this in great part through our virtualization and cloud offerings. It is a tall task, but we have the energy and the passion to get there, and to help our customers along their journeys to be successful. There’s a lot to do.

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Media Enquiries: media@redknee.com

About Redknee:
Redknee monetizes today's digital world. We provide a complete portfolio of mission-critical monetization and subscriber management solutions, including real-time billing, charging, policy and customer care modules, which allow Communications Service Providers to charge for things in new and innovative ways and create a unique user experience. Available on premise, cloud-based, or as a Software-as-a-Service, Redknee's low-risk, flexible solutions power more than 250 businesses across the globe. Established in 1999, Redknee Solutions Inc. (TSX: RKN) is the parent of the wholly-owned operating subsidiary Redknee Inc. and its various subsidiaries.

References to Redknee refer to the combined operations of those entities. For more information about Redknee and its solutions, please go to www.redknee.com.

For additional information please contact:

Redknee Solutions:
Michaela Radman, Corporate Communications
Michaela.Radman@redknee.com
+1 905 625 2190

Investor Relations:
Conrad Seguin
NATIONAL | Equicom
T: (416) 586-1951
cseguin@national.ca