It feels like it has been a while since somebody tried to shake up the market, and even longer since Subex had the spare time and energy to attempt to do so. But now it looks light they might have. Only time will tell if they are successful, but they are certainly having a go.
Subex’s ‘ROCcloud’ takes their Revenue Operations Centre (ROC) where it has never been before – into the cloud. Or rather, it takes a bit of the ROC into the cloud. Whilst the full ROC covers a multiplicity of Subex products, the initial ROCcloud offering is focused on fraud management. That makes ROCcloud the entry-level SaaS complement to Subex’s Nikira FMS. However, I take the hint. They have launched the fraud management offering first because they see this as having the best potential to grow their revenues with smaller tier 2 and tier 3 operators. These smaller operators may struggle to justify the investment in setting up a full-scale fraud solution of their own. The clue in the offering’s title is that Subex intend to launch further cloud offerings down the line, hooking new customers first with the FMS and then selling additional ROC-style capability as it comes online.
Pricing is everything, but the basics of the proposition are clear. Subex are trying to deliver something that works with minimum integration, minimum bespoking, minimum support. That keeps costs low and makes it viable to generate profits at a lower pricing point than for their traditional products and services, giving them potential access to untapped telcos at the smaller end of the spectrum. I cannot speculate if the product is priced competitively, but by charging telcos a monthly rental for access, Subex are definitely pitching a clean, simple proposition to potential customers. This is about making money from FMS by piling ’em high and selling ’em cheap. Subex even say they will give a special price to any telcos that sign up to ROCcloud before the end of June.
One factor that may drive sales, but will likely be understated, is that offering FMS SaaS greatly simplifies the headache for those less experienced telco managers who simply do not know what they should be checking. Whilst the ROCcloud FMS may only be a cut-down version of a full FMS, it easy entry-level pitch means some of the telco manager’s thinking is done for him. Instead of asking the put-upon manager to define what fraud checks are needed, he can simply state ‘me too’ to whatever ROCcloud offers, safe in the knowledge that if ROCcloud can do it, his or her telco should probably do it. That will also increase the sales sweet spot, by sparing the smaller telco the tricky question of who to pay to get good advice on what they should be doing, or whether to risk taking no advice and making a bad call. Part of the implicit sales pitch is that you buy Subex’s subject domain experience as well as its software. ROCcloud gives managers some comfort they must be doing the right thing, even if they do not know what the right thing is.
With today’s launch, Subex is trying to open up new revenue streams in what might very well prove to be a growing part of the market. Whilst there is one trend for telco operators to consolidate, it is also true that smaller disruptive players keep joining the fray. A product like ROCcloud might be especially appealing to those newer entrants, so long as it offers the fraud detection functionality pertinent to them.