Comms MEA - - Nexign Interview -

Nex­ign, the first com­pany to cre­ate BSS soft­ware in Rus­sia and the CIS, plans on com­ing to the Mid­dle East. Loukas Tz­itzis, chief prod­ucts and mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, dis­cusses what the jour­ney for the com­pany for­merly known as “Peter-Ser­vice”

has been – and what might come next.

Twenty-six years is a long time for any­thing; af­ter all, a large por­tion of the world’s pop­u­la­tion wasn’t even alive 26 years ago. And when we’re talk­ing about the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try – and, more specif­i­cally, busi­ness sup­port sys­tems (BSS) – then that’s an im­pres­sive feat in­deed.

But that’s how long Nex­ign (pro­nounced “Nex-sign”) has been around. “We’re not a new kid on the block,” says Loukas Tz­itzis, chief prod­ucts and mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer.

He’s not kid­ding: Nex­ign has the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the first com­pany to cre­ate BSS soft­ware in Rus­sia and the CIS. Back then, it was known as “Peter-Ser­vice,” an homage to its roots in the Rus­sian city of Saint Peters­burg.

Nat­u­rally, such a long life­span means they know a bit about how to suc­ceed in busi­ness. Ac­cord­ing to Tz­itzis, one of the com­pany’s core val­ues is fos­ter­ing a part­ner­ship with clients. “There’s part­ner­ship as a buzz­word, and there’s re­ally be­ing part­ners.”

That idea of part­ner­ship ap­pears to be pay­ing off: to date, the com­pany has un­der its belt more than 120 suc­cess­ful projects with more than 50 tele­com providers (in­clud­ing Me­gaFon, MTS, Voda­fone and more), and is present in 14 coun­tries. Oh, and Tz­itzis says this: “We have been grow­ing steadily, and for last three years, we have ex­ceeded US$100 mil­lion rev­enue per year.”

But just be­cause it’s been suc­cess­ful in the past and present doesn’t mean it’s time to let up on the prover­bial gas, Tz­itzis says. “The BSS mar­ket is evolv­ing. You can never rest on your lau­rels.”

Tz­itzis says the chang­ing BSS mar­ket means com­pa­nies need to adapt to sur­vive. “We have en­tered a phase where BSS has to­tally changed and has had to adapt. This is not only about dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion on the prod­uct func­tion­al­ity or the ser­vice func­tion­al­ity. You need to com­pete and win on non-func­tional busi­ness as­pects.”

This, Tz­itzis says, is es­pe­cially im­por­tant when cus­tomers “want what they want, how they want, and when they want.” BSS, Tz­itzis says, con­se­quently needs to drive bet­ter cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences – some­thing es­pe­cially im­por­tant when con­sid­er­ing BSS con­tracts with op­er­a­tors are of­ten more than five years in length (“op­er­a­tors do not take these con­tracts lightly,” ex­plains Tz­itzis).

That long track record of suc­cess, and a proven abil­ity to adapt (a mi­cro­cosm of that: the Nex­ign re­brand was un­veiled at Mo­bile World Congress in Fe­bru­ary this past year, along with a fresh logo and colour scheme), help po­si­tion Nex­ign well for its next big thing: ex­pan­sion into the Mid­dle East mar­ket.

Tz­itzis is quick to point out that it’s a mar­ket Nex­ign does not plan ex­it­ing. “We are here to stay in the Mid­dle East and Africa.”

Nat­u­rally, they’ve also done their home­work. The Mid­dle East, Tz­itzis says, is a com­pet­i­tive one – but one in which Nex­ign is well-po­si­tioned to com­pete in based on dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion. “We know how ad­vanced the Mid­dle East mar­ket is.”

The level of in­volve­ment and spon­sor­ship from the very high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment, and the amount of in­no­va­tion tak­ing place, are a cou­ple of things that make the Mid­dle East a very ad­vanced mar­ket, Tz­itzis says. And then there are merg­ing tech­nolo­gies – and the speed at which they are be­ing not only adopted, but adopted at large scale, in the Mid­dle East.

Tz­itzis is frank in his as­sess­ment. “I think the Mid­dle East is go­ing to be a world leader in terms of adop­tion of things like 5G and blockchain. There is a busi­ness cli­mate and a drive to­wards the next gen­er­a­tion.”

He adds such tech­nolo­gies will “rad­i­cally re­shape the land­scape” for the en­tire telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try – and re­ally tech­nol­ogy as a whole, and how we in­ter­act with and har­ness tech­nol­ogy.

Presently, Tz­itzis says Nex­ign is set to open an of­fice in Dubai – for which they will hire Emi­rati tal­ent as part of the UAE’s Emi­rati­sa­tion ini­tia­tives. He adds there is other news re­gard­ing Nex­ign in the re­gion they hope to be able to an­nounce “soon.”

But no mat­ter what the fu­ture has in store, it’s fair to say Nex­ign has es­tab­lished a solid foun­da­tion to meet the chal­lenges and adapt to change while forg­ing the part­ner­ships nec­es­sary to not just sur­vive, but thrive. Says Tz­itzis: “Our core com­pe­ten­cies and sus­tain­able ad­van­tages have put us in place for ad­van­tages in the mar­ket­place. We’re very happy with the re­ac­tion of clients to­wards the new brand. We be­lieve that’s the right way to the fu­ture.”

The BSS mar­ket is evolv­ing. You can never rest on your lau­rels.” Loukas Tz­itzis

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