The People Behind the Tech @ ECI
Kobi Ben-Shmuel: Head of Business and Operations, Global Services Division
We in the tech world are sometimes so consumed by the products and features, hype and trends, speeds and feeds that we sometimes completely forget that these products and solutions don’t make themselves. Rather quite a few people work tirelessly behind the scenes to make them and this company possible.
Welcome to our newest blog series, where I get the opportunity to bring you a rare, behind the scenes, look at some of the people who make ECI what it is today. They represent a good sample of the people who make your favorite products and solutions possible. Each has been hand-picked to participate in this series, and all are an integral part of ECI’s DNA.
This week, I had a chat with Kobi Ben-Shmuel the Head of Business and Operations of ECI’s Global Services Division.
A bird’s eye view
Status: Married + 3
Tenure: 13 years and counting
Q: 5 things no one knows about you
- I have a torn ACL in my knee from basketball
- I am a techy throughout, and love to solve technical issues at home through troubleshooting (yes yet another example of a man who refuses to ask for help😜)
- I do the dishes at home
- I am considered the GSD’s (global services division) stand-up comedian
- I have a fetish for colognes (has about 10 options)
Q: What does your role entail?
Well like most roles, I wear 2 hats, one with a more business/profitability focus and the other with a more operations view. Within my business role, I am responsible for the division’s budget, tracking revenues and costs, authorizing bid offers, pricing and BD. On the operations side, I am responsible for the support systems: CRM, BI, Service Portal, Knowledge Management and Facilities. Of course, with regards to both aspects, I monitor and manage our KPI performance and tools.
Q: How did you come to work at ECI?
I was looking for a job in international telecoms, after a stint at a local MNO. I received recommendations about ECI and how it is a ‘school’ for telecom, from friends and family. As a young, electronics engineer I started in customer support, I also had the opportunity to study for my MBA during my first years at ECI. Now, thirteen years later – well you can see where I am, I’m doing a job I love that combines both my business and technical propensities.
Q: What do you like most about working at ECI?
A few very straight-forward reasons:
- The people – after 13 years my colleagues are extended members of my family
- A great working environment & the managers are excellent
- Love working with customers, on the cutting edge of the industry & technology
Q: Success Story – Winning back a lost customer
One day I got a call from a long-time customer who had decided he would save his organization a bit of money by not renewing his service contract. In spite of the fact that he didn’t have a contract he ran into a bit of a pickle, and gave me a call anyways. I could, of course, have told him that I couldn’t help since he didn’t have a contact, or charged him an arm and a leg. But I decided to look at this as an opportunity to win him back by showing the value of good service. So I gave him what he needed ‘pro-bono’. In the end, I won him over and he reinitiated the contract.
Q: How have your challenges changed over the years?
- The market is growing increasingly price sensitive, as one might expect due to our customers declining top lines
- Moreover, customers are also looking to decrease OpEx, as they are trying to maximize their bottom-lines as well
- And SLA’s (service level agreements) are becoming ever more demanding
In all, the GSD’s focus on business and profitability has grown over the years, as our service revenues have become a more important part of the company’s overall health. And yet this isn’t without its downsides. Customers know with greater clarity what they want and how they want it. This has forced us to increasingly improve our service levels and responsiveness. Moreover, there is no longer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ requirement. Every bid we deal with has different requirements and stipulations, and as such requires a more tailored offer.
Q: In your opinion, how will the telecoms industry change over the next 5-10 years?
Technology as the enabler! In the end, technology will enable the connection of millions of devices and connect everything. For this to work you need a sophisticated and robust underlying network. There will always be the first adapters, but others will wait and see what works and adapt their networks accordingly
Q: How would your summarize your experience here?
I am happy to have been part of this company and its achievements, I hope to continue to contribute for many more years to come.
Let’s finish with the questionnaire, which side of the following terms are you?
|Packet or optical?||Packet|
|Virtualized or software defined?||Software defined|
|5G or 4G/LTE?||5G|
|Open-source or home-grown||Open-source|
|Service providers or non-service providers (utilities, etc.)?||Non-service providers|
|Disaggregation or integration?||Integration|