P rior to its 2020 acquisition, Communications Data Group (CDG) had been providing modular billing and operational support solutions for telecommunications service providers for half of a century. Its solutions were driven by industry needs, as it saw them from a software developer point of view. Now through its acquisition by Palmetto Rural Telephone Cooperative (PRTC), CDG has gained a true opera- tor’s perspective and is employing that mindset to its future product development and company growth. “We’re in a unique position,” said Jason Dandridge, CEO of PRTC and new CEO of CDG. “As an operator, we understand the day-to-day challenges that exist for our customers because we are also a provider.” Often with billing vendors, providers must continually explain to them the industry issues and drivers associated with product enhancement requests, said Dandridge. “They will say they understand, but they are still software developers and not service providers. It can get quite frustrating at times,” he continued. “But now we don’t have to provide industry education, because we can directly communicate our needs to CDG. We want others to benefit from this as well, by giving them the opportu- nity to discuss their needs with another service provider who can understand the behind-the-scenes factors.” Among other areas, PRTC believes that CDG will benefit from an operator- driven mindset that is focused not just on the ROI of a specific enhancement but the real and current and future needs of its customers. “Bringing an operator mentality allows us to develop a better product that is more efficient for end users,” said Dandridge. “We know CDG has had a reputation as a billing specialist since 1970, but part of our mission is growing their reputation in the OSS space. From our perspective, we don’t want CDG to be seen as just a billing company. Billing is only part of what we do. We want to provide the best full-service OSS/BSS system for whatever the customer needs.” Development in the OSS sphere is underway on two fronts at CDG. One is focused on developing new OSS components and modules for its existing MBS, BDS-I and Mediation products. Dandridge sees MBS as an area of huge potential for the company, with modules for customer care, mediation, invoicing, network/plant, trouble report- ing, task management, e-care (EBPP), service provisioning and CRM, among others. Recently, the company also unveiled a new MBS Field Tech mobile app, for helping remote technicians and employees conduct work while they are in the field. The other front of OSS development is focused on integrations with best-of- breed partners. “There’s no perfect system,” said Dandridge. “There are going to be solutions that providers are more comfortable using for various reasons. Maybe it’s a financial piece. Maybe it’s something with mapping. Whatever it may be, we want to integrate with these different partners and give our customers the best options and solutions to suit their needs.” For example, CDG has recently announced MBS integrations with Cordell Nex-Tech (network opera- tions center monitoring) and Callix (internet usage monitoring), and it has account- ing and mapping integrations with 3GIS and Microsoft GP underway. With the constant evolution of CDG’s product set, PRTC believes that the merger can further elevate clients’ ability to drive development and bolster emphasis on third-party partnerships. “What we’re developing, the integra- tions we’re bringing in and the operator mindset we are employing, are all based on wanting to partner with our custom- ers,” Dandridge noted. “Our customers and PRTC utilize the product every day, and now our clients can share their enhancement ideas with a developer that is also a provider. And we as a provider can also benefit from the ideas our customers are providing to CDG. Great partnerships are mutually benefi - cial, and those are the partnerships we want to facilitate.” For additional information on CDG, visit PROFILE CDG Employs New Operator Mindset for BSS/OSS Development Post PRTC Merger Jason Dandridge, CEO of PRTC and CDG By Brady Hicks CHANNEL MANAGEMENT 70 CHANNEL V ISION | Fall 2021