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Epsilon Revamps Its Back Office to Support Pivot to Enterprise Services

James Crawshaw

Originally focused on the wholesale carrier market, Epsilon Telecommunications Ltd. is pivoting to become a fully-fledged enterprise services provider -- but to do that it needs to revamp its OSS and BSS capabilities.

Founded in 2003, Epsilon today has 220 Points of Presence (of which around 100 are fully owned) in 26 markets. The company has grown from a London-based startup to a global business with around 170 employees, who are divided almost evenly between the UK and Singapore.

Epsilon is expanding its capabilities to offer end-to-end solutions for enterprise customers, including SDN-enabled data centre interconnect services, SD-WAN connectivity and global enterprise voice services. In order to move up the value chain, the company is embarking on a network and BSS/OSS modernization program led by Colin Whitbread, who joined at the start of 2019 as Epsilon's Managing Director, Service and Operations.

Colin Whitbread, Managing Director, Service and Operations, Epsilon.
Colin Whitbread, Managing Director, Service and Operations, Epsilon.

Epsilon's network was originally built using optical infrastructure from Alcatel-Lucent (now part of Nokia), Ekinops, and BTI Systems, which was acquired by Juniper in 2016.

Last year, Epsilon upgraded its network with the addition of Juniper's Metro Fabric equipment.

That underlying networking infrastructure supports Epsilon's SDN platform, Infiny, which combines on-demand network capacity, automation, a Web-based portal and APIs to "give partners friction-free access to global connectivity." (Infiny was a finalist in the Telco Cloud Strategy category of this year's Leading Lights awards.)

Infiny forms part of Epsilon's homegrown BSS/OSS stack. While Epsilon has been successful in automating a large part of its operations with Infiny, there remain some gaps that Whitbread is looking to fill -- and quickly.

"Transforming to an enterprise-focused business requires scalability. The more automated we are, the more efficiently we can scale," he notes. Inventory, network monitoring and service management are some of the areas of focus for Epsilon's Bulgarian-based software development team.

With the shift in business model, Epsilon has also had to become more proactive and more focused in terms of customer experience. "We've had to develop new KPIs and improve our change control processes," explains Whitbread.

So, how is Epsilon managing to win business in the mature and competitive enterprise communications market? "By being keener and more flexible than the competition," says Whitbread.

He cites an example of a recent sports tournament in Eastern Europe that required a network to be set up in just four weeks that would carry the broadcast video to London through a network comprising the infrastructure of five different carriers. Stitching this together at short notice for an event of limited duration was not the kind of service turn-up that many network operators would relish. But by demonstrating its flexibility, Epsilon has burnished its reputation as the lead carrier in the project, which, the operator claims, has already led to further revenue opportunities.

Epsilon's efforts are now leading to wins in the enterprise market, notably in SD-WAN.

"SD-WAN is a huge game-changer, because you no longer rely on the access circuit as the sole delivery vehicle -- the customer can choose to use their own," notes Whitbread.

One of Epsilon's bigger customers for SD-WAN is a chain of more than 50 hotels in China, for which Epsilon claims it was able to configure and provision a live service within just four weeks.

— James Crawshaw, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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