Bell takes back system architecture as Certen stake sold

Bell Canada announced Thursday that it has turned over ownership of joint venture Certen to partner Amdocs Ltd., but will retain some of the Certen’s functionality.


was created by the two companies in April 2001 as a way to update and manage Bell’s billing systems with Bell owning a majority share of 55 per cent. In a deal worth $89 million, Bell has sold its share to billing and customer relationship management specialist Amdocs, based in St. Louis, Miss.

The original mandate of the joint venture was “”to reduce our billing costs and improve our customer satisfaction in billing,”” said Eugene Roman, group president of systems and technology at Bell Canada. That included turning over management of billing operations, architecture, systems support, business analysis requirements and project management to Certen. “”What we call deep outsourcing,”” he added.

“”This has been a huge project covering multiple lines of business for the largest carrier in Canada. Our ability to deliver the system and contribute to the success of the project has given Bell the confidence to transfer the ownership of the outsourcing operation to Amdocs,”” said Amdocs CEO Dov Baharav during a Thursday morning teleconference.

Amdocs will continue to oversee Bell’s billing services and has extended its contract to seven and a half years, which is a three-year extension of the original agreement between Bell and Certen.

“”The benefits are that we get closer to Bell,”” said Baharav. “”We simplify the structure and improve efficiencies.””

Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. About 700 Certen employees will move over to Amdocs. Another 189 (some on a contract basis) will be moved back to Bell to handle the functions it will retain. Those include systems architecture, requirements planning and project management. “”Really, the client-facing side has been brought back to Bell,”” said Roman.

“”This is a more traditional approach to outsourcing that we’ve moved to. We call it the 30/70 model. We’ve moved about 30 per cent of the resources (back to Bell), and then 70 per cent to Amdocs,”” he added.

The creation of Certen two years ago was set up to handle this eventuality, said Roman. It’s similar to a far-reaching deal Bell set up with Montreal outsourcer CGI in 1997. Two years into that deal, Bell began to reappropriate some of the functions it had originally turned over to CGI.

Moving Certen employees back to Bell shouldn’t pose a problem, said Roman, since they already share Bell’s offices. “”It’s just who takes instructions from who is all that’s going to change here. We’ve got a new management team ready to go.””

Amdocs is free to sell the billing solution that Certen created for Bell to other carriers. The company already has a laundry list of telco customers from around the world, including Telus Mobility. Bell has an intellectual property stake in Certen products and will receive royalties from any Amdocs sales.


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