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  • Writer's pictureSpyre

The Power of Open Innovation: Customer-Oriented Innovation at Amdocs

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

In a rapidly evolving business landscape, embracing open innovation has become crucial for organizations seeking to stay ahead of the curve. At Spyre, we had the privilege of sitting down with Edo Segal, the former Open Innovation Lead at Amdocs Israel, to explore their remarkable journey into the world of open innovation. While Edo has since moved on from Amdocs, the insights he shared with us remain as relevant and valuable as ever. Join us as we delve into how Amdocs, a leading software and services provider to communications and media companies, leveraged best-in-class open innovation practices and methodologies to drive full innovation cycles.

team in the office

When companies establish open innovation programs, they usually involve multiple external players such as startups, partners, customers, and so on. How is open innovation pursued at Amdocs?


When I was part of the Amdocs team, we leveraged best-in-class open innovation practices and methodologies to drive full innovation cycles, from ideation, validation, and experimentation to the commercialization of solutions. We took a two-pronged approach: On the one hand, we regularly searched for partner technologies that could enhance our portfolio to deliver more value to customers of the Amdocs group. On the other hand, we worked with group customers to address their company-specific challenges. We looked to open innovation as one of the ways to address these challenges. Together, we defined them and then identified startups that could assist in addressing them. As part of this, we had several programs that helped us identify relevant startup technologies:


Startup fast-pitching events

pitching

We had numerous sessions with customers throughout the year, typically with CxO and VP-level executives. During these sessions, we discussed how we could collaborate to drive innovation and exposed them to startups that might interest them. Before meeting the customer, we helped startups fine-tune their pitch based on our familiarity with the people they were going to meet.


Executive challenges

An executive business challenge was defined together with customer executives to address one of their key challenges. It was then crowd-sourced to all Amdocs employees, as well as to our eco-systems of partners and startup communities. We tailored the challenge to the customer’s business needs in terms of target audiences, duration, judging committee, and prizes. The final solution could contain ideas from employees, partners, and startups.


Ad-hoc business challenges

"Inbound" requests were received by the Open Innovation team from the Sales to help address specific customer challenges. Solutions were then further leveraged to assist other customers and enhance our portfolio.


Joint innovation centers with customers

Joint innovation centers with customers were a more strategic and structured approach used to bring innovative technologies and solutions to specific customers. Business stakeholders at the customer provided business challenges. For each challenge, we looked at a few alternative solutions to identify the right startup that could either solve or mitigate the issue. The business stakeholder then selected the solution that would continue to the Proof of Concept stage. This process was built to allow for short time-to-value. In all these programs, our mission was to bridge the gap between leading communications and media companies, and startups. We assisted startups in communicating more effectively with these large organizations and spoke to the right business stakeholders directly about their specific business needs. We actively assisted them in defining and formulating the PoCs, KPIs, and go/no-go criteria.


So far we’ve discussed activities that are usually initiated by customer needs and challenges. Did you also reach out to customers with innovation opportunities?


Yes, we had several such programs. Amdocs has been at the forefront of innovation in the communications industry for more than three decades. Our ability and determination to look ahead and come up with the solutions that customers of the Amdocs group would need tomorrow were key to our ongoing business success and strong customer relationships.


We analyzed long-term future trends and opportunities. We started by researching and exploring a selected domain and the relevant ecosystem of startups, partners, experts, thought leaders, VCs, academia, and professionals. We then brought them all together to take the stage in an event we called "Launchpad," in which they shared their vision with a crowd of around 100 professionals, most of them being relevant Amdocs employees which we "cherry-picked" in advance. This event kicked off the ideation and incubation of innovative solutions in collaboration with customers and partners.


The processes you describe had great potential value for Amdocs.

Indeed, they helped us further strengthen our position as a trusted partner to customers, allowing us deep insight into their challenges and creating the solutions that could offer them the most value.


Can you share any data regarding the outcomes of open innovation at Amdocs then?

We saw hundreds of startups a year and maintained a working catalog of about 200, which we shared with Amdocs group customers. We created hundreds of opportunities every year for startups to pitch their offerings to business stakeholders in the communications and media industries. As a result of our open innovation programs, we had patents and products that were created.


How was someone in your role measured at Amdocs? What did success look like?

Among the metrics that were easier to measure were the number of customer engagements we led as part of our various open innovation programs and the number of PoCs generated. We also measured the number of solutions we proposed as add-ons to our portfolio of products and solutions. However, there was also a value that was harder to measure, such as the knowledge we continually fed into the company and customers around new technologies and solutions. This helped elevate our positioning as an innovation leader, a trusted advisor, and a thought leader. By embracing open innovation, we connected customers' business aspirations with startups' technologies, delivering value to all, faster. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved.



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