cVidya Announces Something (no further details provided)

Mobile World Congress is upon us again. Even though I think MWC is rubbish, this is an important time for companies to announce something, ***anything***, just issue a press release and hurry up about it. I ignore most of these press releases, because they are rude. It is very impolite to announce new products and services that might equally be used by wireline telcos, just because a lot of wireless telcos are having a big party in Barcelona. However, I could not ignore the latest cVidya press release. I tried to. I really did try. But I kept thinking about it. I was compelled to think about it, because I had no idea what cVidya were trying to say. Dear readers, if you can explain what cVidya has just announced, then feel free to write in and explain.

Major Expansion of cVidya’s Market-Leading Revenue Assurance Solution

Okay, so this sounds like one of those adverts which begins: ‘the best product on the market just got even better.’ I always like those ads, because they are so daft. How can things be so great, yet always leave so much room for improvement?

MoneyMap® V8 ships with new business analytical layer, risk methodology and pre-defined packages

What is a new business analytical layer? Do RA people often complain about missing layers? I suppose the layer has something to do with analysing business stuff. But beyond that, I have no idea what the layer does. Maybe it just sits around doing nothing, like a layer of pointless fat. If it does something, maybe cVidya should say what it does.

Whilst I am bemused by the new business analytical layer, I am stunned by the revelation that cVidya have launched a new risk methodology. The new risk methodology arrives just 12 months after cVidya launched their ProactiV risk methodology. So what happened to ProactiV? That was new, only 12 months ago. Maybe cVidya realized that ProactiV was full of flaws, so they replaced it. Or maybe the new methodology is the same as the old methodology, but they decided to announce it a second time, in case you missed it first time. I would ask questions about the new methodology, and what makes it so new, but cVidya still have not answered my questions about the old methodology. Some things get better and better, whilst other things never change.

‘Pre-defined packages’. Whaddya mean by ‘pre-defined packages’? Imagine telling the love of your life that you are going to the shops to buy some pre-defined packages. Any normal person would assume you are having an affair, and you cannot be bothered to invent a decent cover story. Literally nobody, since the dawn of time, has ever bought anything for its pre-defined packages.

Enhanced with sophisticated business analytical capabilities and support for big data…

Was there a version of cVidya’s software that failed to include sophisticated business analytical capabilities? How much more sophisticated is the new stuff, compared to the old stuff? And in what sense does a revenue assurance tool need to provide support for big data? Is cVidya implying that telcos will be stuck with small data, unless they buy MoneyMap?

…Version 8 includes an array of advanced features that enable managers and analysts to easily pinpoint the most urgent Revenue Assurance issues and quickly address them.

Again, what is new about this? I thought these guys had been pinpointing the most urgent issues, and quickly addressing them, since their start-up first cranked out a reconciliation of leased lines to bills.

Some of us remember a time before cVidya existed. It was called 2001, and Stanley Kubrick made a film about it. Kubrick thought that we would be flying around Jupiter by the year 2001. When cVidya started, a year later, they concentrated on pioneering the technology of reconciling leased lines to bills. And they told everybody that reconciling leased lines to bills was the most important thing that anyone could do. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that their software could not process other forms of data, like CDRs. Perhaps cVidya is now admitting they spent most of their 12 years persuading customers to deal with minor stuff that suited their product range, instead of really urgent issues. In that sense, MoneyMap v8 might genuinely offer something new.

The new, highly business-orientated, version of MoneyMap…

‘Highly business-oriented’? What was the orientation of their old software? Was it leisure-oriented?

…is able to track the monetary value of each case and then aggregate the total value by line of business, business unit or another sub category

At last, we see some signs of sophisticated business analytics. In this case, it is the kind of analysis you perform by adding up both the rows and the columns of a spreadsheet.

It enables Revenue Assurance managers to access aggregated and comparable data based on different attributes, such as their personal needs…

‘Personal needs’? Do RA managers satisfy their personal needs using RA software? The only way I can imagine an RA manager using RA software to satisfy a personal need is if they fudge the reports to hide a fraud they committed.

A new case management system makes it straightforward for analysts to track and prevent revenue losses.

Otherwise known as a list. I also find lists can be competently maintained using a pencil and paper. The technology of pencil and paper was already proven to be robust and reliable, way back in 2001.

Drawing on cVidya’s deep knowledge and expertise in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, LTE, mobile money, wholesale, cable and other technologies and verticals, MoneyMap 8 is designed to enable CSPs to quickly adapt to a constantly changing market.

Somebody decided that M2M, LTE, mobile money, wholesale and cable all needed to be mentioned somewhere. So here they are. I have literally no idea how any of this connects to the major expansion, the high business-orientation, or the pre-defined packages.

New pre-defined packages will significantly reduce CSPs’ revenue leakage as they deploy self-provisioning, sponsored data programs, connected living propositions and many other advanced services and models.

I think this says: ‘super rocket woo woo fantastic’. It might be a bit of the screenplay from 2001 which was cut from the final cinema version. If cVidya are trying to communicate something meaningful about their product, it must be in a language I do not recognize.

Before anyone says that all press releases are equally as bad, take a look at the press release that Lavastorm issued a few days ago. It gives a few simple bullets on the new things their FMS can do. Whilst words cannot tell me why one ‘visualization’ is better than another, the press release straightforwardly tells the reader about new functionalities and why they are helpful. It may not sound very sexy to let users save a search for later re-use, or to let them bulk edit multiple fraud cases, but at least we can comprehend what the software does.

In contrast, cVidya’s press release ends as follows:

“MoneyMap – the leading Revenue Assurance solution on the market – has evolved into an even more leading business bazooka that will ***vroom vroom*** superexcite executives and analysts and literally orgasm everyone we’re hoping to sell it to,” said Alon Aginsky, President and CEO of cVidya.

“The new pre-defined packages ***woof woof*** are both hyper-defined and ultra-packaged, making them far superior to the pre-defined packages you find elsewhere. The latest version of MoneyMap draws on insights gleaned from cVidya’s 12 ***just count ’em baby*** years of experience, starting with the reconciliation of leased lines to bills, and culminating in this year’s business-oriented risk-methodologized business-analytical layer that is so thick and creamy it removes stubborn stains that other washing powders leave behind.”

“During those 12 years, we have tackled every revenue assurance challenge that any service provider has ever faced anywhere on this planet, and we are unique in being able to say that whilst keeping a straight face. Also, we checked some dealer commissions for a service provider in orbit around Neptune. We are very proud to say we are still in business, still not locked in an asylum, and still better than we have ever been before. ***Bow Wow*** Not everybody knows this, but I used to be the 95th most powerful man in telecoms ***howls at the moon*** so if you stick with me, I’ll take you out of this world.”

Actually, some of that last bit was made up by me. But it is pretty similar to Aginsky’s quote from the actual press release. And it makes about as much sense.

So readers, if you can explain the differences between MoneyMap 8 and MoneyMap 7, I would be grateful for your insights… especially if you can share them in plain English. Previously I would have asked my loyal cVidya readers to comment, but there is no point. We all know they have nothing to say about their products, and this press release proves it.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.

7 Comments on "cVidya Announces Something (no further details provided)"

  1. Avatar Fraud Guy | 24 Feb 2014 at 8:01 pm |

    I am a bit disappointed that the new platform does not include any Real Time capabilities…
    All joking aside, I think these press releases full of buzz words and offering no real information do say something about the positioning of Fraud & RA within the telecom industry, specifically that it’s still immature and the decision makers very often have no clue of the operational needs.
    The sad truth may be that the cVidya press release is more effective than the Lavastorm one.

  2. Eric,

    Every person who reads this press release will quickly come to the conclusion that this is not a not a great press release, but it is far from been the worst.
    With no doubt, it seems that cvidya’s product marketing people are disconnected from their own development team and even from the industry.
    However the way you scrutinize methodologically every single word and sentence of this PR, seems to the average reader, that you are just using the PR as an excuse to express your anger towards the company.
    I usually enjoy your blogs, but this time it seems too personal. I recommend you to talk to Alon and solve your issues.

    • @Daniel, I hear your advice, but you’re missing a key point. cVidya won’t speak to me. I assume that’s because cVidya only do PR when they are in complete control, and they don’t like to be asked questions they have not chosen in advance.

  3. Avatar Daniel Peter | 25 Feb 2014 at 12:22 pm |


    Sponsors have to create some release for an event like Mobile World Congress. I believe you are trying to help the software providers to come up with meaningful and factual information in the press release instead of sharing some buzzwords. What would you suggest the software providers to do — when they really don’t have anything to talk about yet have to do a press release for an event like MWC.

    Lavastorm’s release very plain and simple. It looks like they have shared the facts which is very different from MWC sponsors’ objective.



    • @Daniel, I’m surprised this little post has proven so provocative. I don’t mean that in a bad sense. It’s just that I thought this post was rather lightweight compared to some of the other things I tend to write about. But now I see there’s a genuine and serious issue underneath. Software development doesn’t always follow a perfect schedule. And the usefulness of new development needn’t correlate well to what can be pithily expressed in words. Sometimes a little development work results in features that are easy to explain and are instantly attractive to customers. On other occasions, a lot of good and important development has almost no impact on the consciousness of customers, because they struggle to understand how it makes life better for them.

      However, despite the difficulties noted above, all software developers make money from a business model that involves paying people to write code for new releases of software. When making the decision about who to employ, how many to employ, and what will go into a new release, there has to be some forethought as to how this will be sold to customers later down the line. Software development is an investment like any other. When spending the money, there has to be some plan as to how the investment will be recouped and a profit generated. To my mind, a press release full of buzzwords suggests one of two things. Perhaps the planning was flawed, because development work was undertaken but without a clear idea of the subsequent sales message to be pitched to customers. This sales message must explain the incremental benefit to customers of adopting the new release. If there is no decent sales message, this suggests an unhealthy disconnect between what developers do and what customers want. Or the problem is that a release has been planned, but slippage occurred, schedules were not met and hence there is a failure to synchronize delivery with major PR events like MWC. So the solution, either way, is better planning and management, rather than more inventive marketing at the end of the development cycle. On one level, software providers should be road-testing their sales pitch before and during development, to see if it is attractive and understood by customer, instead of developing a product with minimal understanding of the demand for it. On another level, if MWC is such a crucial event that a press release has to be delivered during it, then software should be developed with that deadline in mind. Planning should be conservative, with the idea that working software should always be ready in advance, in order to have the maximum sales impact when unveiled at this premier event. But even if the development slips somewhat, it should still be possible for the developer to talk about what a new release will do, even if there is some fudging of the truth between what the current software can do and what a future release will soon offer.

      But then, I admit this lengthy analysis is somewhat theoretical because purchasing decisions get made for lots of reasons. What software does, how well it works in practice, and how much it costs, are just three reasons amongst many others. So I recognize the truth of why a business may create a marketing buzz, even if there is no actual software to make a buzz about. And yet, I’m a simple fellow. Given the work I used to do, I’d rather telcos bought products that function as intended, that the telco understands, and which serve a useful purpose for the telco. If telcos don’t do this, the result is a waste of their shareholders’ money and/or a failure to improve the service delivered to customers. From that simple perspective, I don’t want telco suppliers to be making a marketing ‘buzz’. I want them to make useful things.

  4. Avatar Daniel Peter | 26 Feb 2014 at 12:07 pm |

    Thanks Eric

    I admired the below from your response and it’s a very good feedback for the software providers:

    “Sometimes a little development work results in features that are easy to explain and are instantly attractive to customers. On other occasions, a lot of good and important development has almost no impact on the consciousness of customers, because they struggle to understand how it makes life better for them”

    Can the marketing/PR completely ignore buzzwords and focus only on useful things is questionable

  5. @Daniel, thanks for your comment. I think part of the problem is that some people who make a career in marketing and PR don’t understand telecoms, or what their clients are trying to sell. Buzzwords become a convenient cover because the marketeer doesn’t understand the products, or why any customer would want them.

    There is a need for marketing messages to be short, simple and compelling, but good marketing also extends beyond that. After the initial ‘hook’, the marketing must follow up with some intelligible explanation of what the product does and why customers should want it.

    One reason I’m dismissive about cVidya’s current marketing is they used to be good at the follow-up marketing. Between 2005-2008, cVidya were pretty good at explaining to customers why they needed RA products. Now cVidya don’t bother with that follow-up content. So I’m finding fault not just because they issue meaningless press releases, but because I can’t find any meaningful marketing material from them.

    cVidya’s involvement in the TM Forum also used to be something of a bridge into giving a proper explanation of the merits of using cVidya’s products. Now cVidya just sling out phrases like ‘compliant with best practices’ in ways that are designed to mislead customers. Frankly, I am angry that the TM Forum allows member companies to use the word ‘compliance’ so casually.

    Marketing need not be empty. Dan Baker of Black Swan is very good at writing marketing copy. His background is that of a writer and researcher, but he takes the time to understand the products and why telcos would want them. Dan would never write a press release as lousy as this one. That makes me wonder why cVidya don’t employ better people to write their press releases. And I’ve written marketing copy for software companies in the past. I don’t believe that marketeers who specialize in language, but who have no understanding of the products or the customers, are superior to guys like me. On the contrary, there are some guys like me who can write decent copy, and we have an advantage because we have an affinity for the products and the customers. So please forgive me, when I assert that marketing can be better than this.

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