In a press release from mediation vendors Openet about their new BI and analytics offering, there is a tiny, almost casual reference to revenue assurance. In short, they hold out the prospect of doing a lot of things with data. Revenue assurance is just one of those things. Openet’s new offering is given in cooperation with Netezza. Given that we are talking about businesses that are expert in mediation and data warehousing respectively, they have the credibility when it comes to managing and using data. But for me, the real significance of this press release is two-fold. First, it says revenue assurance is just a small part of a bigger solution space for companies that know how to use data. Second, it says that anyone who knows how to use data can enter the RA market.
The niche RA vendors generally like to tell their shareholders about how they are expanding into bigger markets – moving on from RA to other things. That is all well and good, but if businesses can expand out of RA market, other businesses can expand in to the RA market. There may be more that follow Openet’s lead, resulting in a squeeze for existing RA vendors, just when many of them were hoping that market consolidation and economic recovery would finally help them to turn profitable. To my mind, two things could happen: the RA market could stay relatively well-defined, but become more crowded, or it could lost its identity, and become just an attribute of solutions sold in a less specific marketplace for BI and analytics. Either way, the conclusion will not be determined solely by the vendors, but more by the people who sign the cheques in telcos, and how they view their jobs.