RealTime IT News

TeleComputing Targets Telcos

Veteran ASP and ASP-enabler TeleComputing ASA, (Oslo Stock Exchange:TCO), has unveiled a private-label version of its TECOS platform designed to enable telecom and network service providers to serve applications over their existing networks.

"The market is shifting – as pure-play ASPs fall out of favor, established Network Service Providers (NSPs) are stepping in," Jason Donahue, TeleComputing president and CEO, told InternetNews. "Our 5 years of experience with TECOS is very compelling to these NSPs."

TeleComputing's private label solution, now generally available, provides a complete ASP services delivery solution – including a technology platform, consulting, design, development, managed services and a sales JumpStart program. Service providers can purchase the whole solution or select components on an a-la-carte basis.

At the foundation is TeleComputing's operations support system, called TECOS, that automates the provisioning, management and delivery of application services. This platform is designed to help service providers rapidly deploy applications to their customers, as well as scale to keep up with business growth.

TECOS can be hosted in the customer's datacenter, or in a datacenter managed by TeleComputing. "There's definitely an MSP component – we're providing the managed services," Donahue said. In some cases, TeleComputing is acting as a pure MSP, such as when a telco wants to provide an AIP (Application Infrastructure Provider) environment for ISVs, with no applications provided by TeleComputing, he said.

The solution offers NSPs an application portfolio that includes horizontal applications, such as Microsoft Exchange and Office; more than 200 productivity, messaging, ERP, CRM, e-business applications; as well as customer-specific hosted applications.

TECOS enables service providers to automate many of their service management and delivery processes by providing a platform for service configuration, provisioning and customer activation. New services can easily be added with fully automated provisioning of Microsoft Exchange, Office, Great Plains and Commerce Server 2000.

With its three-layer management approach, TECOS provides its private label and enterprise customers simplified installation and ongoing management via fully-branded, web-based management portals for each layer of the ASP solution (enterprise customer administration, user administration, and user interface).

Each of these three layers is viewed through its respective management portal: OpCenter activates a customer (at the telco) and establishes initial operations, providing a single point of management. AdminCenter enables customer self-administration and management. UserCenter enables end-users with self-help, including training and support.

TECOS is scalable to meet the growing needs of service providers and provides a guaranteed 99.5-percent uptime SLA (Service level Agreement) for all of the applications in the Private Label solution.

In additon to providing the platform, TeleComputing also assists NSPs with other aspects of selling ASP services with its Sales JumpStart program, which provides private label customers with training, tools and support, including industry research, sample proposals and contracts, sales and marketing assistance and joint marketing initiatives.

StratComm, a Washington D.C.-based communications and network service provider, chose TeleComputing to deliver hosted Microsoft.Net application services to its customer base after extensive comparison shopping, said StratComm principal Dean Goldsmith. "TeleComputing's private label offering was clearly superior, as their solution delivers the lowest TCO (total cost of ownership) with the highest assurances of security, reliability and availability for our multiple users in remote locations. TeleComputing's financial stability and technical scalability means that they will continue to meet our needs as we continue to grow."

TeleComputing's new offering may be a good solution for an industry with a huge investment in an under-utilized infrastructure, according to Summit Strategies Industry Analyst Amy Levy. "The telco industry, which has had difficulty meeting revenue projections due to less-than-anticipated demand for services, needs to recoup its considerable infrastructure investments. With a nominal investment, this private label solution would enable savvy providers to quickly deploy incremental value-added, revenue-generating services on top of their existing network services and differentiate their service offerings. This opportunity clearly would enable providers to offset their infrastructure investment and move towards long-term profitability."

TeleComputing's TECOS platform has been developed over 4 years with a $50 million investment, delivered to 420 customers worldwide. Most of the company's direct-to-enterprise ASP customers are in Europe, where TeleComputing was able to take advantage of its first-mover status and build a solid customer base and a well known brand, Donohue said.

"We were able to achieve an economy of scale in the Nordic region. But the cost of branding is very high in the retail market, and we don't have as strong a brand in the U.S.," he said. "NSPs are able to look to our experience to help them make their decision."

TeleComputing customizes and launches the TECOS-based solution, which start at $100,000 (U.S.). Once the services are operational, TeleComputing provides full application services support to the NSP, through the TECOS platform, on a wholesale basis. This enables the NSP to typically achieve gross margins from 25 percent to more than 50 percent on these services.

As the NSP rolls out new services, the opportunity to earn even higher gross margins increases by leveraging the already-integrated suite of applications. For example, if a service provider surpasses the initial commitment of 10,000 seats, costs scale back by a dollar or more, per user per month, increasing profits by $10,000 per month or more.

TeleComputing, founded in Norway in 1997, is the largest ASP in Europe and the third largest in pure-ASP revenues worldwide. The company has a presence in Norway, Sweden and is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. TeleComputing has strategic business relationships with Microsoft, Citrix Systems and Compaq.