Tech Mahindra signs Redknee partnership

One of the world’s biggest telecommunications systems integrators has signed up a Canadian maker of billing and operation support systems as one of its roster of solutions.

The move by Tech Mahindra of India to make Redknee Inc. of Mississauga, Ont., one of its technology partners means the software company has more oomph behind its marketing efforts, said CEO Lucus Skoczkowksi (pictured).

“Now we have the ability to commit to more projects (for existing customers) concurrently because we can leverage the Tech Mahindra service organization,” Skoczkowski said in an interview.

In addition, Redknee hopes to gain more customers through Tech Mahindra’s telecom customer base.

The move marks a big change for Redknee. Most of its business has been through direct sales. More than 90 operators in 50 countries – including Telus Communications Co. [TSX: T, T.A; NYSE: TU] here – use its products. Publicly-traded Redknee [TSX: RKN] had revenues of $48.9 million for the year ending Sept. 30, 2010. Skoczkowksi hopes the deal will grow the company big enough that within two years it will be listed on the Nasdaq exchange.

Redknee’s products, including Turnkey Converged Billing (which combines billing and customer care), Next Generation Rating and Charging (a real-time rating, charging, and policy management solution for mobile data services), Settlement and Customer Care (which consolidates customer data) are Java-based and run on Microsoft Windows, Sun Solaris and Linux. 

When the company started 12 years ago it used an underlying platform based on Oracle Inc.’s database. However, several years ago it switched to Microsoft Windows and its SQL Server database, as well as the company’s Dynamics AX customer relationship management application.

Skoczkowski said that in addition to telecom service providers, Redknee is also targeting cloud service providers.

“As more customers want cloud capabilities we see that the Microsoft stack will become one of the most effective to make available,” he said.

According to Pritam Parvatkar, Tech Mahindra’s director of global alliances, that was one reason why the company chose Redknee. Tech Mahindra is a Microsoft partner and has a Dynamics centre of excellence in India, he said.

“This packaged combination (from Redknee) fantastic for our customers,” he said, particularly those that already use the Microsoft platform.

The deal is not exclusive – Tech Mahindra also partners with numerous other telecom software providers. But, he said, “We believe for certain types of requirements, Redknee’s billing system on top of the Microsoft platform will be a very good option for customers.”

As an integrator, Tech Mahindra looks at customer needs before recommending a solution, he said. But with the new partnership his company will be able to tell customers it specializes in Redknee and Microsoft solutions as well as others.

Signing with Tech Mahindra has not ended Redknee’s hunt for system integrators in this country and others. Although it already partners with Montreal-based CGI Group Inc. [TSX:GIB.A; NYSE:GIB] here, Skoczkowski said it is also seeking links to other integrators that do business with telecom service providers here.

A division of India’s giant Mahindra Group, last month Tech Mahindra opened a wireless lab in Toronto to increase its Canadian presence.