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Redknee at 15

Vanilla Plus

Vanilla Plus

June 2, 2014 How a start-up became the world's largest independent provider of converged billing and customer care systems

Chief executive reveals what’s coming up next for Redknee

How Redknee is helping to monetise today’s new digital economy

Redknee, the vendor of specialised back office software for communications service providers founded by chief executive Lucas Skoczkowski in 1999 is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Here he tells VanillaPlus about the company’s development and how now, with last year’s acquisition of the BSS assets of the former Nokia Siemens Networks, it is poised for further growth.

VanillaPlus: The telecoms industry has seen a lot of changes during the lifespan of Redknee. Which have been the greatest and to what extent did you foresee them happening when you established the company?

Lucas Skoczkowski: You're right - if you consider what has happened over the past fifteen years, I think it would be hard to find another industry that has seen such tremendous change and that has impacted the world so dramatically. When Redknee was founded, one of the things we realised from the beginning was the need for speed; the need for service providers to be able to charge and rate transactions – any transaction – in real-time. Of course with the tremendous growth in data and the move towards LTE and machine to machine communications, real-time capabilities, which were once considered nice to have when we founded Redknee, are now a necessity. This real-time focus has gone beyond our software and has really set the tone for our company since the very beginning; it’s part of our DNA and how we think about the industry and our customers. We are committed to helping our customers to be faster – to be more responsive to their subscribers and first to market with new offers, new pricing models and new services.

VanillaPlus: Around the time of Redknee's inception many vendors made the error of thinking the market would develop far faster than it did. The bursting of the internet bubble and the global economic meltdown of 2008 both played their part in holding things up but the last few years have seen the theories espoused at the turn of the millennium coming to fruition. How difficult has it been to grow an innovation based company against that backdrop?

LS: When there is an economic downturn, like the one we had in 2008, demand doesn't go away - CSPs justbecome more savvy and cost-conscious as they look for ways to delay capital investments and focus on keeping their customers. For Redknee, this was a time when we introduced solutions that enabled our customers to succeed by helping them on both of these fronts. With the demand for data and new services continuing to grow in spite of the economic downturn, CSPs needed a way to update their billing systems while keeping costs in line. Redknee’s modular approach to billing and customer care meant CSPs could transform their back office in a step-wise approach, focusing on the areas of the greatest priority. We were also one of the first to introduce cloud-based billing, which eliminates the need for large hardware investments. At Redknee we are focused on innovation that responds to industry demands, and this is a strategy that works regardless of the economic picture.

VP: Last year's acquisition of the BSS business of Nokia Siemens Networks has been one of the greatest milestones of Redknee's history. How have you been able to integrate the companies and manage the hugely increased scale of the combined company?

LS: The acquisition happened just over one year ago and it has made us a stronger company at every level. Quadrupling in size overnight is not an easy task, but we went into it with a comprehensive integration plan in place even before the acquisition was even finalised. Thanks to the hard work and efforts of the entire combined team, we have executed on that plan effectively. The integration is now fully complete, culminating with the introduction of our updated product portfolio this month. Employee engagement is at an all-time high. Today we have 1,700 employees across 80 countries, and our software processes two billion transactions every hour. We have a customer base of 200 service providers in more than 90 countries, and I’m proud and encouraged by the positive feedback we have received both from our existing and acquired customer base. It is the passion and dedication of our employees – which I believe is the best team in the industry – that is responsible for this success.

VP: What have been the advantages of that? Your deal flow encompasses more CSP group deals – most recently with Telekom Austria, than before. Is that symptomatic of your greater scale or more to do with CSP groups looking to streamline their sourcing?

LS: Redknee has always had large CSP groups as customers; our real-time monetisation software suits them well and addresses their needs better than other solutions on the market. Vodafone, Vodacom, Digicel and T-Mobile are just a few examples of CSP groups that use our solutions. With some of our group customers, Redknee Unified, Redknee’s real-time monetisation platform, is managing multiple locations across the world with one installation, thanks to its scalability and multitenant capabilities. This is enabling these CSPs to streamline their operations as well as providing a consistent experience to their subscribers. Our success with these customers continues to grow, and with our expanded footprint and strength of our combined solution portfolio, we now simply have the scale to do more, to be in more places at once.

VP: As the telecoms sector continues to transform, how do you see the role of a specialised provider of back office software like Redknee changing? What opportunities do you see for your software and services to support the internet of things and the operations of companies in other verticals?

LS: Our customers are happy to have a billing provider that remains focused on this space. Today we are the world’s largest independent provider of converged billing and customer care, and we are constantly making significant investments in our products and roadmap, technology and innovation as we continue to evolve with the industry. Service providers are looking for new revenue streams – moving beyond telecoms and into the internet of things and machine to machine communications. Redknee is helping to monetise this new digital economy. Today we are engaged in real-time monetisation for smart homes and transportation. We see this as an exciting new direction for the industry and for Redknee, and we are investing heavily in this area.

VP: How do you think the business model changes as network equipment becomes increasingly virtualised. Is everything software-focused and is that to the detriment of the hardware vendors and the benefit of software providers?

LS: Virtualisation is absolutely a reality. The change is not happening overnight –but it is happening  cross every level of the industry. Even some of the worlds’ largest service providers are moving to the cloud as the focus moves towards software and away from capex heavy hardware investments. Computing capacity is becoming a commodity that will need to go up or down depending on demand. Operators don’t want to pay for what they don’t need – and today’s software needs to be able to accommodate this change. At Redknee, we were one of the first to recognise this shift by introducing our cloud based billing solution over three years ago.

VP: What has been the highlight of Redknee's development for you?

LS: I am incredibly proud of the Redknee team and it is an honour for me to work with some of the best and brightest in the industry. Their dedication to our customers’ success is what inspires me every day. One of my favourite things to do is to visit our customers and witness first-hand how we have been part of their growth over the years. These travels have taken me to some amazing places and have shown how Redknee has actually changed the lives of people for the better, in some of the most remote regions of the world. I can’t imagine a better job.

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About Redknee:
Redknee monetizes today's digital world for communications service providers. Our market-leading portfolio of monetization and subscriber management solutions includes real-time billing, charging, policy and customer care modules and is available on premise, cloud-based, or as Software-as-a-Service. With a central focus on driving customer success, Redknee's products power growth and innovation for operators globally. Established in 1999, Redknee Solutions Inc. (TSX: RKN) can be found on the Toronto Stock Exchange. For more information about Redknee, please go to

For additional information please contact:

Redknee Solutions:

Kristin Donelson
+1 905 625 2190

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T: (416) 848-1427