Seeking Telecom’s Masterminds
Who’s Who in Carrier Consulting
Paid by the hour to dispense advice,
consultants–wisened by collective and focused experience–are a veritable brain trust for telecommunications service providers. From conception to implementation these advisors are helping carriers steer a clear path through the minefields of the modern communications business.
While they are the butt of jokes about charging insanely high fees for what sometimes amounts to educated guesswork, consultants enjoy the last laugh. Undeniably, the brains-for-rent business is booming.
Why? Because consultants offer carriers what they lack: Intelligence, expertise and, in some instances, genius–on an as-needed basis.
This is not to say that carriers are, well, stupid. Quite the contrary; carriers know what they don’t know, and they know who does.
PHONE+ has assembled a short list of these go-to guys and gals who serve the carrier and reseller marketplace. Listed in alphabetical order, these consultants range from multinational conglomerates to tiny boutiques. Their competencies run along a similarly broad continuum from strategy to operations to management to regulation and taxation.
If your favorite consulting firm is not listed, don’t blame us. We hired a consultant. (O.K., so we
didn’t hire a consultant. But that brings up another great thing about consultants–they’re convenient targets for
Andersen Consulting LLP
- Mastermind: Joe W. Forehand, CEO
- Eggheads: 7,000 industry professionals
- Intelligence: Andersen Consulting’s Communications Industry Practice helps companies increase their margins and market share, improve customer retention, increase revenues per sale, reduce overall costs, accelerate sales cycles and gain valuable customer insights by receiving better information. It integrates practical strategic planning, efficient business processes and outstanding human performance with proven technology solutions. The firm actively pursues research and development and has expertise in service activation and assurance, billing and customer care, network deployment, and development and electronic commerce.
- Genius: Every one of the world’s 100 largest telecommunications companies draws on the advice and expertise of Andersen Consulting.
ATLANTIC-ACM Inc. (www.atlantic-acm.com)
- Mastermind: Dr. Judy Reed Smith, CEO
- Eggheads: 10 associates
- Intelligence: By clarifying the business approach, improving operations and
creating strategies for market penetration, ATLANTIC-ACM assists its clients with
comprehensive business development and market positioning.
- Genius: If you’re looking for forecasts and trending information on telecom resale issues, there is no better source. ATLANTIC-ACM’s databases of carrier and reseller surveys go back to 1990.
Atlantax Systems Inc. (www.atlantax.com)
- Mastermind: Gary Rhodus, CSM
- Eggheads: 60 employees
- Intelligence: In telecommunications, every day is tax day, proclaims
Atlantax, which offers relief to its clients by providing full-service federal, state and local tax compliance and tax consulting to all segments of the telecommunications industry, including long-distance resellers, CLECs and prepaid service providers. Annually, Atlantax rates more than 660 million records and files more than 250,000 tax returns in more than 2,500 jurisdictions.
- Genius: Atlantax has been at the forefront of sorting out the complex issues relative to taxation of prepaid phone cards–a matter on which it has advised operators as well as industry associations.
Bain & Co. (www.bain.com)
- Mastermind: John Donohoe, Worldwide managing director
- Eggheads: Undisclosed
- Intelligence: Bain & Co. is one of the world’s leading global business consulting firms, serving clients across six continents. To complement its strategy consulting practice, Bain has established
bainlab, an active incubator and accelerator of Internet companies, which brings to bear Bain’s intellectual property and execution capability in identifying and building profitable Internet businesses.
- Genius: It was founded in 1973 on the principle that consultants must measure their success in terms of their clients’ financial results. Bain says its clients have outperformed the stock market three to one.
Boston Consulting Group Inc., Technology and Communications Practice
- Mastermind: David Dean, Practice Leader
- Eggheads: 2000 consultatns companywide
- Intelligence: BCG’s Technology and Communications practice works to make sense of the changes transforming telecom, to define winning business models suited to the new competitive environment and to implement those models in ways that create competitive advantage. Its work encompasses the major forces that shape today’s high-tech businesses, including globalization, e-commerce, value-chain deconstruction, corporate development and pricing.
- Genius: The firm is unique in its focus on helping companies develop and execute strangies for growth, a high-priority agenda item for most industry CEOs.
- Mastermind: Ralph Troupe, Founder, President and CEO
- Eggheads: 250 employees
- Intelligence: Callisma is a network architecture services company that specializes in helping service providers move to the new world of converged packet networks. It offers five solution sets under a “Service Provider Commerce” model that address optical networking, IP, packetized voice, dial-tone applications and network management and operations support.
- Genius: A startup, Callisma brings a veritable “dream team” of network professionals to the table. Many of the people are the same ones who built International Network Services before Lucent Technologies
(www.lucent.com) acquired it last year for $3.7 billion.
- Mastermind: George David, Director
- Eggheads: 60 employees
- Intelligence: CCMI offers the most comprehensive telecommunication rate and tariff information. A group of experienced professionals with more than 190 years of telecom experience research and compile the data. CCMI’s databases, online services, conferences, telecom maps, directories and newsletters provide timesaving information to telecom professionals in hundreds of companies throughout the world.
- Genius: CCMI’s TelView is the world’s largest, most complete Internet-based tariff library with more than 14,000
tariffs and 125 carriers.
CHR Solutions Inc., Competitive Solutions Group
- Mastermind: C. Roger Hutton, President and CEO
- Eggheads: 300 specialists
- Intelligence: CHR is a fusion of two premier telecommunications consulting companies,
Cathey, Hutton & Associates and Hicks & Ragland Engineering. It offers a full range of services including marketing, strategic planning, technology, engineering, regulatory, personnel and financial analysis.
- Genius: CHR’s indepth and historical understanding of the local exchange market is an unparalleled resource for new competitors.
Customer Solutions Group LLC (www.customersolutions.net)
- Mastermind: Roberta Tamburrino, President and CEO
- Eggheads: 16 associates
- Intelligence: Customer Solutions provides training, staffing and consulting for the telecommunications and service industries. It is managed and staffed by industry professionals with more than 35 years’ combined experience in training, telecommunications, operations, billing, sales, marketing and systems.
- Genius: Customer Solutions associates are no-nonsense change masters. Clients say the firm exceeds expectations for responsiveness and innovation, and they report direct correlations between the Customer Solutions’
programs and their successes.
Forrester Research Inc. (www.forrester.com)
- Mastermind: George F. Colony, Chairman and CEO
- Eggheads: 500 employees
- Intelligence: Forrester’s Partners Program provides expert advice and guidance from its research team on how to apply Forrester’s strategic research to your business. As a partner, clients can assess their most critical initiatives with Forrester’s analysts–from brainstorming to strategy building to implementation.
- Genius: Forrester analysts don’t know the meaning of sugar coating. They are known for their unbiased, non-sponsored research and their unabashed opinions regarding how their clients should proceed in the marketplace.
Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com)
- Mastermind: Brian Cotton
- Eggheads: 35
- Intelligence: Frost & Sullivan’s Consulting Business Unit provides customized intelligence and strategies based on its patented Market Engineering System. This is a measurement-based approach in which the rigor and precision associated with the engineering environment are applied to market consulting.
- Genius: Some of the distinctive competencies that drive Frost & Sullivan’s consulting practice include: rigorous metrics-oriented methodology, continuous market monitoring research, international coverage, technology/applications expertise, and overarching focus on providing solutions, not just information.
Gartner Group Inc., TSE Practice (www.gartner.com)
- Mastermind: Ken McGee, Vice President and Research Fellow
- Eggheads: 800 analysts total in the company
- Intelligence: Gartner Group’s global Telecommunications Services and Equipment practice provides needed information, insight and advice. It offers help in positioning products and services, developing strategies, understanding market demands and assessing the competition. Typical engagements involve key market issues such as market sizing for specific products and services, customer acceptance of new technologies, and regulatory trends.
- Genius: In serving its clients, the Gartner Group draws upon research and analysts from its acquisitions of Dataquest, Datapro and
NBI–notable consulting firms in their own right.
GH Associates Inc. (www.ghassociates.com)
- Mastermind: Gordon (Don) Hutchins Jr., President and CEO
- Eggheads: 12 employees and contractors
- Intelligence: GH draws on its founder’s extensive experience in the carrier marketplace to advise senior management and boards of directors of startup and growth firms on strategy, finance, marketing, regulation, and mergers and acquisitions. The company has close ties with industry associations, such as ASCENT and
ECTA, helping to raise those organizations’ profiles with superlative event management services.
- Genius: In the event that “who you know” is as important as “what you know,” GH has its clients covered. This small outfit maintains a first-name basis Rolodex that rivals many larger firms.
Global TeleCompetition Consultants (www.helein.com)
- Mastermind: Mr. Robert F. Schneberger, President & CEO
- Eggheads: 19
- Intelligence: GTC provides soup-to-nuts consultation on operations, pricing, network design and engineering, domestic and international services, financing, staffing, training, cost analysis and legal and regulatory requirements.
- Genius: GTC’s personnel have been among the change agents in the competitive telecommunications market. Its president and CEO, Charles H.
Helein, for example, was one of the founders of ACTA, a carrier trade group that was acquired by the Competitive Telecommunications Association in 1999.
Group IV Inc. (www.groupivinc.com)
- Mastermind: Casey Freymuth, President
- Eggheads: 6 analysts
- Intelligence: Group IV’s work in valuation for the M&A-intensive telecom market laid the groundwork for its current practice in which it provides business leaders and investors with information, advice and services that enable them to build value, capture market share and solidify strategic direction in e-commerce. Its president is a telecom industry columnist for Worldly Investor, one of the most respected online investment resources.
- Genius: The 7-year-old company is known for its work to clear away the smoke surrounding values and value drivers for telecommunications operators in all segments.
International Data Corp. (www.idc.com)
- Mastermind: Paris Burstyn
- Eggheads: More than 500 analysts
- Intelligence: IDC Telecommunications Consulting designs engagement to help organizations’ marketing, product, engineering and sales managers. Its areas of expertise include market forecasting, competitive analysis, product positioning, market modeling, opportunity assessment, strategic direction, ROI calculation and business modeling.
- Genius: IDC’s consulting services have their foundation in rigorous primary research–data that investors respect and rely upon in almost every telecom business plan.
KPMG, Telecommunications Group (www.kpmg.com)
- Mastermind: William Van Saders, partner–Federal and International Tax Leader, Robert
Geppert, principal–State and Local Tax Leader, Dale Currie, partner–State and Local Tax Leader, Telecommunications
- Eggheads: Undisclosed
- Intelligence: KPMG’s Telecommunications Group aids carriers, ISPs, wireless and cable companies in the design and delivery of state, federal and international tax minimization projects. The group also helps companies determine the taxability of new telecom products and services, billing system tax issues, merger and acquisition tax strategies, and tax planning for capital expansions.
- Genius: KPMG has helped emerging telecom companies recognize significant tax and cash saving and deferrals in the facilities and network build-out phase of their business plans.
Mercer Management Consulting, CIE Practice
- Mastermind: Joào Baptista, Vice President of Mercer, Director of CIE
- Eggheads: Approximately 200 employees in the CIE Practice
- Intelligence: Mercer’s Communications, Information and Entertainment
(CIE) practice serves providers in broadband, cable, computing, electronic commerce, entertainment, Internet, intranet, local, long distance, satellite and wireless media and publishing. Mercer’s team provides advice on strategy, marketing, channels, mergers and acquisitions, customer relationships management, supply chain management, enterprise risk management and Internet strategy.
- Genius: The company’s advice is influenced predominantly by end-customer priorities, which may be why it does more strategic and marketing science work for carriers than most of its competitors.
Miller Isar (www.millerisar.com)
- Mastermind: Andrew O. Isar, President
- Eggheads: 5 employees
- Intelligence: Founded in 1991, Miller Isar is one of the industry’s oldest regulatory consulting firms. The firm focuses on all aspects of regulatory compliance, from initial certification and tariff preparation, through ongoing compliance support, reporting, research and consultation.
- Genius: For nearly a decade, Miller Isar has been the primary state regulatory adviser for the members of ASCENT.
New Paradigm Resources Group (www.nprg.com)
- Mastermind: Terrence Barnich, Chairman and President
- Eggheads: 20 employees
- Intelligence: NPRG works with CLECs on business planning, regulatory assessment, market assessment, certification, project development, interconnection evaluation and telecom auditing. It also publishes reports reflecting its expertise in the CLEC industry.
- Genius: In their days as regulators, the principals of New Paradigm Resources Group were at the forefront of the national effort to change the regulatory environment to accommodate the emerging local competitors in telecommunications and other regulated industries.
- Mastermind: Pete Wilson, President
- Eggheads: 25 employees
- Intelligence: Founded in 1994 by former executives of Big Three long-distance carriers, Telwares provides customized telecommunications contract and RFP procurement services to carriers and resellers.
- Genius: Wisdom derived from the management and approval of literally 20,000 custom offers.
- Masterminds: Noel Taylor, Global MCS ICE Partner, and Steve Abraham, Americas MCS ICE Partner
- Eggheads: 2,600 consultants worldwide
- Intelligence: PricewaterhouseCoopers ICE Practice has considerable experience in providing advice on all aspects of financial management and accounting within
telcos, including in-control services, internal audit services, due diligence and risk management services. The company also advises carriers on business process re-engineering services, customer management services, financial advisory services, regulation and policy services, tax services, business solutions services for telecom entrepreneurs and global HR solutions.
- Genius: ICE has created a unique solution set to help telecom carriers in the new world economy by providing them with the process and system architecture for next-generation network business support systems, infrastreucture and customer management as well as e-marketplaces and mobile commerce.
Tax Partners LLC (www.taxpartners.com)
- Mastermind: Robert Dumas, CEO
- Eggheads: 40 employees
- Intelligence: As a specialist in sales and telecommunications taxation, Tax Partners provides its customers an inexpensive and highly accurate off-site sales tax department. Tax Partners uses a computerized compliance system and process that virtually eliminates many of the manual activities generally employed for sales tax compliance.
- Genius: Tax Partners’ experienced IT staff can integrate customers’ systems electronically with its own system to build a partnership in the sales tax compliance process.
Technologies Management Inc. (www.tminc.com)
- Mastermind: Connie Wightman, President
- Eggheads: 40 employees and contractors
- Intelligence: Since 1986, TMI has specialized in state and federal regulatory matters. It assists carriers in every phase of what it calls The Regulatory Life Cycle. This includes regulatory compliance, product planning,
competitive analysis, tariffs and product documentation.
- Genius: All the TMI consultants come from carrier and telecom regulatory backgrounds, which permits them to offer the same experiences as their clientele.
Telecom Certification & Filing Inc.
- Mastermind: David Klein, COO
- Eggheads: 20 employees
- Intelligence: For the past seven years, TC&F has guided carriers–from small prepaid debit card providers to large publicly traded carriers–through the complex maze of state and federal licensing and regulatory compliance. It also advises carriers on regulatory strategies and incorporation issues.
- Genius: Klein is “the answer man” for carrier regulatory and tax questions. TC&F clients say they count on him for need-to-know information that help them to manage existing business matters but also to successfully approach new ones.
Telecom Compliance Services Inc. (www.tcsteam.com)
- Mastermind: Ernest Ellis, President
- Eggheads:12 employees
- Intelligence: Comprehensive regulatory compliance services are tailored to the needs of various telecommunications companies including long distance, prepaid calling card, competitive local exchange, pay telephone and operator service providers.
- Genius: TCS is like a compliance factory. One satisfied client says,
"TCS is our in-house compliance department without the cost and headaches. TCS allows us to focus on our core business.”
Telecom Training Group (www.telecomtrainingintl.com)
- Masterminds: Curtis Roth, Managing Director, and Virginia Chisholm-Gallaher, Lead Trainer
- Eggheads: 19 trainers and employees
- Intelligence: TTG offers 40 programs that focus on emerging technologies, market opportunities and new service offerings.
- Courses range from basic telephony to digital technologies and are tailored for audiences of employees from sales, customer care, technical support field technicians and more.
- Genius: Leading carriers have enlisted TTG to train their staffs. Offering the ultimate praise, one major carrier says TTG has earned the respect of even its technical field representatives.
TeleCon LLC ( www.teleconllc.com),
a division of Information View
- Mastermind: Faye F. Henris, COO of Services (former President and Managing Partner)
- Eggheads: 32 employees
- Intelligence: TeleCon specializes in management of carrier-to-carrier charges and network expansion. Its services include telco cost management; regulatory analysis and policy development; automation identification, development requirements and integration management; network planning, optimization and efficiency; local services–planning and development; business strategies and opportunities; and interconnection agreements.
- Genius: In the area of telco cost management, TelCon’s customers say it is second to none. Its expertise attracted the attention of cost management software provider InformationView
(www.informationview.com), which bought the company earlier this year.
The Strategis Group (www.strategisgroup.com)
- Mastermind: Samuel H. Book, President and CEO
- Eggheads: 50 consultants
- Intelligence: The Strategis Group publishes in-depth market research reports and provides customized consulting services and continuous information solutions to cable TV, satellite, Internet, competitive telephony, broadband and wireless communications industries. Its consultants combine a diverse set of skills–such as market analysis, technology assessment and financial planning–to help its clients in the planning process.
- Genius: With more than 30 years of consulting experience in the cable TV and wireless telephone industries, The Strategis Group is one of the most widely respected consulting firms in telecommunications.
The Management Network Group Inc. (www.tmng.com)
- Mastermind: Richard P. Nespola, President and CEO
- Eggheads: 350 employees and contractors
- Intelligence: TMNG provides strategy, management and operational consulting to service providers, vendors and investors in the telecom space. TMNG has moved beyond its billing and POSS roots to develop practices in marketing and
CRM. Its TMNG.com subsidiary is helping companies adopt e-business models.
- Genius: The company’s best practices–embodied in its Quality Billing Center
(QBC) revenue-assurance model–are fast becoming an industry standard. The practices also are endorsed by the Global Billing Association and adopted by hundreds of carriers and billing vendors.
The Phillips Group (www.thephillipsgroup.net)
- Mastermind: Alan Mendelson, CEO
- Eggheads:125 professionals
- Intelligence: An amalgamation of four respected U.S. and European consulting firms, The Phillips Group offers service providers expertise in market analysis, strategy development and technology. Specialties include market opportunity analysis; customer needs assessment and market segmentation; market sizing, forecasting and share analysis; competitor assessment and positioning; distribution channel development and optimization; product launch and positioning; and network convergence strategy development.
- Genius: The Phillips Group-InfoTech is one of the largest consulting firms exclusive to telecommunications.
The Yankee Group (www.yankeegroup.com)
- Mastermind: Berge Ayvazian, CEO
- Eggheads:150 associates
- Intelligence: The Yankee Group is a global leader in technology research and consulting services, focusing on the areas of strategic planning assistance, technology forecasting, and industry analysis. Its areas of expertise include the Internet, electronic commerce, communications, wireless mobile, computing and enterprise applications.
- Genius: The Yankee Group continues to set itself apart by providing personolized one-to-one analysis and planning assiatance to its customers. It claims that no firm in the research and advisory services industry today has a lower client-to-analyst ratio.
Visiology Inc. (www.visiology.com)
- Mastermind: Todd H. Lowe, President
- Eggheads: 3 consultants
- Intelligence: Visiology was founded in 1982 to provide telecommunication companies with a cost-effective way to prepare strategic and operational business plans. Since 1990, Visiology’s primary focus has been to assist switchless and switched telecommunication resellers with registration, certification and tariff issues.
- Genius: Visiology’s singular focus on resellers gives it an edge in minimizing the impact of regulation on these players, including recommending changes to existing procedures to reduce operating expense, minimize regulatory impact or increase revenue.