Although the big story last year in information management
was CSG Systems Inc.'s coup in capturing Tele-Communications Inc.'s business,
the other major vendors in the field also moved forward with some new growth and new
products, executives said.
Cincinnati Bell Information Systems quietly gained market
share. When the telco subsidiary got into the cable business in 1995 through its purchase
of Information Systems Development Partnership -- which was owned in part by MSOs
including Cox Communications Inc. -- it inherited an 11 percent market share. By the end
of 1997, its share was just below 20 percent, said Mark Rohde, the company's senior
vice president of sales and marketing. CBIS supports some TCI systems in their rollouts of
'We still see an opportunity to work with TCI, in
spite of the CSG contract,' said Tom Smaldone, president of CBIS' cable and
Part of CBIS' growth is attributable to its
development of a service-bureau environment for potential users of its Cablemaster
product. That opened the market for business from operators that want their computer
systems and maintenance off-site.
Executives hope to continue that growth in 1998 with the
commercial rollout of ICOMS, a convergence product. CBIS continues to strengthen its core
products through joint ventures or acquisitions involving software providers that can
improve CBIS' platforms.
One future product will be a program that analyzes local
demographics and predicts households with the highest possibility for churn, so that
operators can proactively contact them. Wireless operator 360 Degree Communications will
test this retention device in the next few months, and CBIS is seeking a second pilot
site, Rohde said. The key to the product is developing a statistically valid predictor, he
Meanwhile, there was positive buzz on the Western Show
floor in Anaheim, Calif., last month about CableData's new products. That vendor also
introduced a service-bureau product for its InteleCable cable-plus-telephony product,
which is widely used in Europe. And the company previewed version 5.0 of its on-site
CableData displayed its much-anticipated graphical user
interface, which will allow customer-service representatives in call centers to quickly
switch between customers on its cable product, DDP/SQL, and InteleCable.
CableData also increased the functions available in
TechConnect, a hand-held system-access unit that allows field personnel to grab their
schedules, note job completions, order set-top-box activations and do field upgrades
without having to talk over the phone with dispatch personnel.