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Interview: Sean Collins on the BSS opportunity for North America

Interview Seanc

We sat down with Sean Collins, Cerillion’s new Senior Vice President of Sales for North America, for his perspective on the state of the telecoms market stateside, and what he thinks Cerillion’s product suite can offer.

Hi Sean, and welcome to Cerillion! Can you tell me about your experience within the telecoms industry and the key skills and expertise you’re bringing to your new role here?
Hi Adam – I’ve been in the telecoms industry for over 25 years now, with professional sales experience from some of the world’s leading enterprise software companies.

During my tenures at Oracle, ByBox and Workday, I was responsible for bringing in a combined new license and professional services revenue of more than $50 million dollars over a 15-year period.

At Oracle, I secured several breakthrough BSS/OSS agreements with companies like Dow Jones, Iridium Satellite, Altice, Videotron, Rogers Communications and Bell Canada.

I was recognised for my consistent achievement over the years with the President’s Club award – more than once – and was awarded Deal of the Year and Deal of the Quarter within the billion-dollar Communications Global Business Unit (CGBU).
With so much experience in the telecoms industry, you must have heard of Cerillion before. Why did you decide to join now?
There are several market factors at play today that are key reasons that led me to joining Cerillion.

Firstly, is a combination of the consistent, steady growth Cerillion has maintained in the BSS/OSS space for almost twenty years now coupled with the stunning growth they’ve had since IPO. It really looked like a watershed moment - they are now pulling in larger and larger deals with bigger and bigger customers, and I firmly believe it will increase with a major focus on North America.

The second reason, which is connected to the first, is that enterprise telecoms is forecast by leading industry analysts like IDC and Gartner, to make up 50% or more of telco revenues by 2025. The SME market represents more than half of that potential revenue, and right now it’s largely untapped. Cerillion’s already got a great play in that space and has been picking up enterprise customers with some very enterprise specific capabilities that I just haven’t seen in other vendors.

Lastly, I’m of course in the US and that’s the market I’ve served for 25 years, and until now Cerillion’s focus has been outside North America. When I heard they were moving into the states this just seemed like a great opportunity.

I believe that Cerillion is a BSS/OSS solutions provider that fundamentally understands the SME telco/broadband market and offers the kind of monetization solutions that these industry players need to innovate and profit as they transform into digital businesses.
You clearly have a wealth of experience in the North American market; what are the key trends that are shaping the industry?
One of the key trends here is definitely around fiber, where we’re starting to see the same scale of investment and rollout that has been going on in Europe for the last ten years. Cerillion has already made waves in this market working with the NetCo/ServCo separation model deployed across EU customers, as well as some of the dedicated fiber players, particularly in the enterprise sector, and you’ve got to think the US is going to follow suit. This is being boosted by the American Broadband Initiative, a comprehensive government-led effort to grow private sector broadband investments, coupled with the global smart cities initiatives that are emerging now.

I also think we’re going to see another wave of consolidation amongst the smaller operators and acquisitions by the larger ones. The US still has a lot of independent CLECs and with the investment that’s coming into the sector it makes sense that economies of scale are achieved by combining smaller operations. The individual local brands may still need to be preserved, and indeed Cerillion’s well setup to support that kind of multi-tenancy operation.

Lastly, there are some global trends that are hard to miss, such as AI. A lot of people are still working out where generative AI fits in to their businesses - what can it do, what are the risks, how will it work, and so on. But it is undoubtedly going to have a big impact on the industry over the next few years, and we’re excited to be bringing some of this capability into our product suite.
What challenges does this create for CSPs operating in North America, and where must they focus their attention?
Many of the smaller and mid-size CSPs are still using manual processes to run their back offices, and this is really holding them back from being able to respond quickly to new market trends and opportunities. Automation is going to be critical to enhance and enable a digital customer experience, accelerate data monetization, and rapidly deploy new service propositions. This is where Cerillion’s BSS/OSS suite and SaaS delivery options can really help, providing the operational efficiency and business agility that allow CSPs to focus their efforts on growth.

Another consideration is convergence. Lots of the regional operators started off with fixed voice and have either had to crowbar in other services (like MVNO) using a separate system, or just not offer them because it’s too hard within their current BSS/OSS platform. Deploying a truly converged solution that can support not only all the various service types they want to offer now, but will also support the new services coming tomorrow, is the best way to future proof their businesses and drive value from the investment.
Are there significant differences between the large national operators and the smaller regional providers?
The key difference I can see at the moment is that the smaller providers generally offer triple play whereas the Tier 1 providers offer the full quad play (including mobility). The other difference could be the level of personalized customer service which some of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 providers have ramped up in the last few years.

I see the biggest competition happening right now is the battle for market share between telcos and cable (MSOs) continues to grow. Triple play, quad play, IPTV, video on demand, and the digital home – it's all about the battle for the 21st-century consumer.

But the consumer market is not the only battleground on which big telcos and big cable companies will slug it out over the next five years. There is also the market for business telecom services. That sector is worth $100 billion a year in the U.S. alone, and right now it is dominated by the telcos.

For the cable companies, it's an opportunity just waiting for action, but at risk from inaction. The longer MSOs delay their move into the enterprise market, the lower the chance that they will ultimately succeed in that critical sector.
How can Cerillion’s BSS/OSS solutions help and why should CSPs engage with us now?
I strongly believe that Cerillion’s BSS/OSS suite provides telecom service providers with unique market advantages by delivering unrivalled flexibility and performance, creating opportunities to improve Net Promoter Scores, lower operating costs, drive down billing complaints and grow revenues across new digital propositions.

Cerillion is in a very strong position now to gain more market share with Tier 1 and Tier 2 organizations. We’re actually much bigger than people think. Our market cap recently hit $500m and we have an impressive track record of success in delivering high quality BSS /OSS solutions in over 80 deployments to date worldwide. Something I keep hearing both within Cerillion and from our customers is the “certainty of outcome” which we provide. The market here is littered with failed transformation projects and Cerillion is now perfectly placed to take advantage of this.
For a perspective on the telecoms industry from the other side of the world, read our recent interview with Shashank Singh, Cerillion’s Head of Sales for Asia.

Get in touch today to learn more about how our pre-integrated BSS/OSS suite can enhance your customer experience and transform your telecoms services.

About the author

Adam Hughes


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