Cerillion & Neos Networks on the growing focus in the B2B market (LON:CER)


Cerillion plc (LON:CER) Chief Executive Officer Louis Hall and Neos Networks Director Clive Hurley caught up with DirectorsTalk to discuss their new partnership, key drivers behind the project, benefits to Neos, what’s next in the relationship and the B2B market being a particular area of focus to the group.

Q1: Louis, this week you’ve announced the go live of Enterprise BSS solution for Neos Networks, that’s in the UK. Can you just tell us a bit about the project and what you’ve actually delivered?

A1: We’re really excited about this one, it took us into a very interesting sector of the market, working with Neos who are leading the way with B2B and wholesale, particularly to large enterprise.

I think it was a chance to deliver our pre-integrated SaaS solution in a private cloud deployment in that environment and I think the particular focusses were the lead to cash life cycle and how to streamline that and make that more efficient.

I think from our point of view, we’re really excited to be able to have that opportunity.

Q2: Clive, what were the key drivers behind this project and why did Neos Networks select the company?

A2: This project represents the final, and the largest piece of work really in a 3-year transformation programme that we’ve undergone within the business.

The key drivers around the BSS project was efficiency, so streamlining our sales processes and starting to further digitise customer journey, data accuracy, some cost control but also having a modern cloud-based solution that future proofs our business support systems.

Working with CER has enabled us to consolidate three disparate systems with different functions into one end to end solution. So, we’ve taken a legacy CRM, legacy order management systems and a legacy billing system and combined that with Cerillion into the one solution that we’ve got today.

The migration of that data from those three platforms, it gives us some immediate efficiencies and security around the accuracy of our information. Also, it’s a great enabler for increased levels of automation, streamlining sales processes, digitising the customer journey and ultimately, where that’ll get us to is a reduction in our time to deliver for our customer which is really what we want.

Q3: What’s it been like working with them and what are the benefits you’ve now gained from the system now it’s live?

A3: It’s been great working with them, it’s been a very tough project, there’s a huge amount of work that’s gone into this and running the project whilst also running the business is a challenge but it’s been very good.

We’ve developed some really closed working relationships with Louis and the team, that’s built at all levels, and we see it very much as a partnership rather than a customer/supplier relationship, it’s generally worked quite work.

In terms of benefits that we’re already seeing, we’re now in control of our own billing, which is great, we are integrated with our digital customer portal for online ordering and we’re integrated with our service management systems. So, that data accuracy and seamless customer end to end user experience in now really starting to mature.

As I’ve said, it gives us an opportunity for further integration with supplier portals, our own network, and those two things combined will move us to the utopia really which is zero touch provisioning of on-net services which will really really turbo charge our time to deliver for our customers.

Q4: Louis, you must be really pleased with how the project has gone but what’s next for the relationship?

A4: We’re really proud of the way the project has gone and particularly how our teams have collaborated together, and the very close working relationship that Clive was referring to very much is very much the way we see it. I think that’s enabled us to deal with some quite significant challenges and advance things quite substantially.

I think we always do see our customers as long term partners rather than simply customers and we often say that when we become involved in a new customer, it’s like a marriage, I guess that makes us bigamists as we’re married to lots customers. It is almost at that level of intensity in terms of the need to cooperate and work together.

I just hope that as Neos grows in the market, as I’m sure they will with this powerful offering, that we will grow with them and carry on developing the solution together as well. There are a number of areas we’ve collaborated on R&D as well where we’ve worked with Neos to develop streams of R&D that have come on stream in this project and we expect to go on doing that going forward.

Q5: Finally, the B2B market seems to be a growth area for the telecoms industry, is this a particular area of focus for Cerillion?

A5: I think we’re seeing that in B2B that there’s a greater need to differentiate, if you look at a lot of B2C all that now being driven by all you can eat packages. I think in B2B there is more complexity and that does lend itself to our software in terms of having a sophisticated product catalogue that can build complex bundles, having integrators, CPQ and so on.

Also, just the managing enterprise hierarchy so large corporates have complex structures and different departments needs to be built in different ways and things need to be aggregated, rolled down and so on so that plays to our strengths.

We’re seeing a lot of fraction in B2B and in wholesale, not just in the UK but also around Europe and around the world for example, we’ve done a lot of work in Denmark in this area with our customer OpenNet and Norlys.

So, I think going forward, we do see this as a growing focus for us.

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