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Customer oriented innovation at AMDOCS

by iladmin

Edo Segal is the Open Innovation Lead at Amdocs Israel. We reached out to Edo to learn more about open innovation at Amdocs, a leading software and services provider to
communications and media companies.

When companies establish open innovation programs, they usually involve multiple external players such as startups, partners, customers and so on. How is open innovation pursued at Amdocs?

At Amdocs, we leverage best-in-class open innovation practices and methodologies to drive full innovation cycles, from ideation, validation, and experimentation to the commercialization of solutions, taking a two-pronged approach: On the one hand, we regularly search for partner technologies that can enhance our portfolio to deliver more value to customers of the Amdocs group. On the other hand, we work with group customers to address their company-specific
challenges. We look to open innovation as one of the ways to address these challenges.
Together we define them and then identify startups that can assist in addressing them. As part
of this, we have several programs that help us identify relevant startup technologies:


Startup fast-pitching events

We have numerous sessions with customers throughout the year, typically with CxO and VP
level executives. During these sessions, we discuss how we can collaborate to drive innovation
and expose them to startups that may interest them. Before meeting the customer, we help
startups fine-tune their pitch based on our familiarity with the people they are going to meet.


Executive challenges


An executive business challenge is defined together with customer executives to address one of their key challenges. It is then crowd-sourced to all Amdocs employees, as well as to our eco-
systems of partners and startup communities. We tailor the challenge to the customer’s business need in terms of target audiences, duration, judging committee and prizes. The final solution may contain ideas from employees, partners, and startups.


Ad-hoc business challenges

“Inbound” requests received by the Open Innovation team from the Sales may help address specific customer challenges. Solutions can then be further leveraged to help other customers and to enhance our portfolio.


Joint innovation centers with customers

Joint innovation centers with customers is a more strategic and structured way to bring innovative technologies and solutions to specific customers. Business stakeholders at the customer provide business challenges. For each challenge, we look at a few alternative solutions to identify the right startup that can either solve or mitigate the issue. The business stakeholder will then select the solution that will continue to the Proof of Concept stage.
This process is built to allow for short time-to-value.
In all these programs, our mission is to bridge the gap between leading communications and media companies, and startups. We assist startups in communicating more effectively with these large organizations and speak to the right business stakeholders directly about their specific business needs. We actively assist them in defining and formulating the PoCs, KPIs,
and go/no-go criteria.


So far we’ve discussed activities that are usually initiated by customer needs and challenges. Do you also reach out to customers with innovation opportunities?


Yes. We have several such programs. Amdocs has been at the forefront of innovation in the communications industry for more than three decades. Our ability and determination to look ahead and come up with the solutions that customers of the Amdocs group will need tomorrow is key to our ongoing business success and strong customer relationships.


Launchpads


We analyze long-term future trends and opportunities. We start by researching and exploring a
selected domain and the relevant ecosystem of startups, partners, experts, thought leaders,
VCs, academia, and professionals. We then bring them all together to take the stage in an event we call “Launchpad” in which they share their vision with a crowd of around 100 professionals,
most of them being relevant Amdocs employees which we “cherry-pick” in advance. This event kicks off the ideation and incubation of innovative solutions in collaboration with customers and partners.


The processes you describe have great potential value for Amdocs.


Very true. They help us further strengthen our position as a trusted partner to customers,
allowing us deep insight into their challenges and creating the solutions that can offer them the
most value.


Can you share any data regarding the outcomes of open innovation at Amdocs?


We see hundreds of startups a year and maintain a working catalog of about 200 which we share with Amdocs group customers. We create hundreds of opportunities every year for startups to pitch their offerings to business stakeholders in the communications and media industries. We have patents and products that were created as a result of our open innovation programs.

How is someone in your role measured at Amdocs? What does success look like?


Among the metrics that are easier to measure are the number of customer engagements we lead as part of our various open innovation programs and the number of PoCs generated. The number of solutions we propose as add-ons to our portfolio of products and solutions is an additional metric we measure.
Clearly, there is a value that is harder to measure; for instance, the knowledge we continually feed
into the company and into customers around new technologies and solutions, helping to elevate
our positioning as an innovation leader and a trusted advisor and thought leader.
By embracing open innovation, we connect customers’ business aspirations with startups’
technologies, delivering value to all, faster. Everyone wins.

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