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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who should buy this report?
  2. TRI is a small boutique firm, so how can your reports compare to those of rival firms who have dozens, even hundreds of analysts?
  3. Who’s the analyst behind this report?
  4. Tell us about your vendor profile methodology.  And why are your profiles so long?
  5. How do I know if TRI’s reports are high quality?
  6. As a buyer of the report, are there any restrictions on the report's use?
  7. How did you decide which vendors to profile in the study?
  8. How did you conduct your research?
  9. Is this a quantitative report?  If so, how did you derive your numbers?
  10. What are TRI’s long term goals for covering telecom analytics and big data?

1. Who should buy this report?

The report is primarily designed to help business development and product planning people at the analytics/big data solution firms. It will also be invaluable to investors in the analytics market because the report provides great detail on individual players.

Service providers — particularly those seeking analytics/big data software partners — will also want a copy of this study because it’s an excellent starting point for RFPs and understanding the full breadth of solutions available in telecom. 

2. TRI is a small boutique firm, so how can your reports compare to those of rival firms who have dozens, even hundreds of analysts?

Even though we are a small firm, don't assume this report contains merely one analyst’s or one author’s opinion.  To write this report, TRI spoke to several dozen experts and attended valuable conference sessions to learn more.  Probably 10% of the text in the report is totally fresh analysis, so it’s in the blending of TRI's perspective with those of multiple experts where the true value of this report lies.

Remember too: a large analyst firm wants to show off its long list of analysts because it looks impressive.  In reality though, any research report you buy from these firms is probably written by one, possibly two analysts anyway.

Another reason TRI’s reports competes well with larger firms is our focus.  The senior analyst time devoted to this report was 6 months.   Now, given the significance of big data and analytics in telecom – and the 40-odd vendor companies we chased down to profile in this report – 6 months of time is entirely justified.

But at a larger analyst firm, it would be very rare for an analyst to spend that much time on one report.   Likewise, it would be hard to find a report like this one with 574 pages of insights and analysis.

3. Who’s the analyst behind this report?

The author/analyst behind this report is Dan Baker, research director of Technology Research Institute (TRI) a firm publishing research studies in telecom software since 1994.

Over the years he’s authored many B/OSS market studies on subjects such as provisioning/OSS, data warehousing, customer analytics, service assurance, and customer care software.   For a four-year period, Baker joined Dittberner Associates and became their B/OSS research director before re-launching TRI in 2009 as an independent research boutique.

In recent years, TRI’s focus has been on assurance markets such as service assurance and business assurance (fraud management, revenue assurance, and cost management primarily).

Baker is also an active blogger.  For the past four years he’s written The Dan Baker Blog on B/OSS magazine.   He’s also contributes special reports and webinars for Vanilla Plus.  From time to time, TRI also conducts private research studies.  And in 2012, TRI launched Black Swan Telecom Journal, an on-line magazine.

4. Tell us about your vendor profile methodology.  And why are your profiles so long?

Yes, many TRI report buyers are surprised to find the median number of pages in our vendor profiles is 7 or 8 pages.

This is TRI’s style and many analysts firms would certainly disagree with our approach.  Many believe that vendor profiles should be short and limited to the major strategic points of the companies profiled.

Our approach, however, is to let the vendor experts speak about the unique value they deliver in the marketplace.  We’re convinced this is the right way to go because if you compress a supplier’s message too much, you miss important details.  Our job is to interpret the content, but not condense it to the point where it loses the flavor of who the firm is in the marketplace.  

This serves the software vendors well, too, giving them the comfort to open up knowing we are listening and intend to let their voice be heard.  And by taking the time, our profiles become much more lively and interesting to reading.

Now when it comes to product descriptions, that’s where compression is important.  In that area, our mission is to cut away the fluff and hype you often find in product brochures and web write-ups.

Another virtue of our vendor profiles is consistency.   Each is structured exactly the same so you know where to find things.   Finally, our profiles are self-contained and complete enough that you really don’t need to visit the vendor’s website to understand who they are.  So it’s a great time saver.

Before we finalize our vendor profiles, we email them to the vendors for review.   In this way, we give the vendor a chance to spot inaccuracies, add useful information, and comment on TRI opinions they do not agree with.

In all, we think our profiles balance the two key goals of: maximizing market insights; and maintaining a relationship of trust with the sources of this valuable information.

5. How do I know if TRI’s reports are high quality?

Scan through our detailed table of contents, look at the market segments we tracked, and read our cover letter.   And also consider: TRI has been writing research reports on the telecom software industry since 1994 and we would certainly go out of business if the word got out we were were producing poor quality analysis.

We also offer an unconditional guarantee that if — within two weeks of receiving the report — you are not satisfied with its quality, you can return it and TRI will send you a prompt and full refund.

6. As a buyer of the report, are there any restrictions on the report's use?

The report is copyrighted, of course, so you are not allowed to share it with anyone outside your firm.  However, you are free to distribute the report widely within your company.   Ultimately our copyright is protected by your integrity and your care in distributing the report internally.

If you work at a vendor company profiled in this report and you bought a copy of this report, you are also entitled to share that vendor profile privately with prospective customers and others.  However you may not publish it on a website.

TRI also permits report buyers to share an occasional page or chart from our report as part of a presentation or meeting with customers or investors.   However, you are not permitted to share market share charts or tables.

Why this restriction on market share data?   Because we want to prevent the report from being used as a political football.  To get maximum participation in our research discussions, TRI can’t be playing favorites.

For similar reasons, TRI does not issue “awards”.   We also don’t publicly publish “Market Share Leader” press releases or magic quadrant graphs because that would pit one vendor against another when we want the vendor community to buy our studies for product planning and business development.

7. How did you decide which vendors to profile in the study?

We looked to cover a wide range of players knowing that if we looked at the pure-play analytics vendors alone we’d get a distorted picture.  All sorts of companies are involved: DPI firms like Allot, systems integrators like HP, service assurance firms like Nexus Telecom, and firms who grew up in the business assurance space like cVidya. 

Today, new analytics players like Guavus and Splunk are bumping up against and also partnering with the established players in the B/OSS market.   And in the near future we can expect more cross-over as analytics players get acquired and the B/OSS firms offer more analytics products and services on their own.

Now, as you can well imagine, if we were to conduct interviews with all the players in service assurance, billing, DPI, consulting and so forth, we would never complete this study.  So instead, we reached one or two companies in each category to get an understanding of the capabilities and challenges of players in each sector.

8. How did you conduct your research for this report?

TRI examines telecom software markets from a neutral, third party perspective.   This is a collaborative effort.   We could not launch a study of this scope by ourselves.   We need cooperation from carriers and vendors to make it happen. 

The biggest group of expert contributors were the solution vendors themselves -- product marketing execs, people in senior marketing roles, and even the CEOs of the smaller firms.

We also reached out to telecom experts, listened in on their conference presentations, and took lessons from them.  Altogether the report contains insights from 5 dozen experts.

9. Is this a quantitative report?  If so, how did you derive your numbers?

Yes, it is quantitative.   The study estimates the size of the market and makes 5-year forecasts.   Now from an analyst-time point of view, TRI probably spends only 15% of its research time on analyzing the numbers, so our reports are heavily weighted on the qualitative side.

The numbers we report in this study are TRI’s estimates only.   We asked the companies for guidance on the numbers, but many companies provided little to no guidance at all.

TRI is an experienced analyst firm, tracking the telecom software market since 1994.  So our estimates have a context in the industry’s history.  And we used many objective and subjective measures to arrive at our estimates.

While there are many assumptions made in such research studies, we feel that no company is better qualified to make these judgments than a neutral third party analyst firm who’s in contact with the vendors, the service providers, and has been tracking the telecom software market for many years.

We did not cover the older generations of solutions from firms like Oracle, IBM, and SAP because those companies seem to no longer be promoting their previous generation solutions.  IBM’s SPSS line, however, is very active and we did profile IBM’s analytics position in telecom.  We also covered KXEN, which was recently acquired by SAP.

We also decided not to cover the dozens of billing and charging companies in the market, many of whom bundle some form of analytics in their billing solutions.  However we did interview Redknee and Comptel, and those discussions are instructive on how billing vendors approach marketing and next-best-offer analytics.

Another challenging area to break out in this study was network and service assurance.  Where we drew our analytics boundary line was between network monitoring for engineering and the more customer experience-related use cases, which we considered analytics.

Also note that our estimate of numbers in the network and customer experience analytics sector are less authoritative than they are on the marketing analytics side because of the fewer number of firms we interviewed.  However, TRI did author a full-scale 2009 research report on Network & Service Assurance, so we drew some perspective from that study. 

10. What are TRI’s long term goals for covering telecom analytics and big data?

We certainly don’t expect to be the only analyst firm writing on this important industry trend.   And having multiple analyst firms covering the subject is a healthy thing.

But it's also our goal to publish the finest quality reports in this market — the studies that have the most detail, the most insights, and are offered at reasonable, à la carte prices.

A study of this depth is usually a bi-annual type of report.   But depending on interest, we may publish reports on subtopics within Telecom Big Data/Analytics.

But in the meantime, we will be active on the analytics scene, speaking at Interwork Media’s upcoming Telecom Analytics 2014 conference and writing extensively on the area in magazine articles and authoring white papers.