M+E Daily

FPT Software: Small Enough to Care, Big Enough to Dare

Vietnam-based IT and professional services company, FPT Software, has been helping communications, media, and entertainment (CM&E) companies rapidly scale their technology teams and capabilities for more than 20 years.

Equipped with a broad range of domain knowledge, FPT is increasing its investment in the vertical with the addition of industry veteran Ira Dworkin to lead its growing CM&E practice – going beyond traditional offshore development services to also include strategic architecture and planning services for its customers.

Ira Dworkin, managing director of communications, media and entertainment for FPT Americas, spoke with MESA about the company’s origins, its capabilities, and what’s next for the growing firm.

MESA: How did FPT Software first come on the scene, what was the impetus for the company?

Dworkin: Our parent company, FPT Corporation, was founded in 1988 with the goal of helping to raise Vietnam out of poverty. In the first 10 years, FPT democratized office computer skills across all backbone sectors of the economy. FPT Software was established in 1999 and has since become a leading software outsourcing and IT and software services provider with more than $513 million in revenue and more than 20,000 employees in 26 countries.

MESA: What are some of the core capabilities FPT provides?

Dworkin: Our team is known for cross-domain expertise in digital transformation, cloud migrations, legacy application support and modernization, data and analytics, test automation, ML/AI, and business process optimization/automation. Additionally, with years of experience working with communications, media and entertainment clients, we also bring deep expertise in a range of areas specific to CM&E — some examples include end-to-end media supply chain and streaming video applications, metadata, content and asset management, and the development of connected TV and mobile client apps.

MESA: What makes FPT unique compared to other IT services vendors?

Dworkin: As a former client of FPT, what stood out to me the most was the nimble and collaborative spirit of the team coupled with the depth of technical expertise. It feels like you are working with a boutique firm that’s positioned to move quickly, but with the horsepower of a large global player.

The ability to leverage a geographically diverse team, with flexible business models, that could grow rapidly, was incredibly valuable in helping me scale quickly while maintaining quality and flexibility.

Additionally, at FPT, we know what it’s like to walk in our client’s shoes. Being a former CPO/CTO in the media and entertainment industry, I have first-hand experience in building teams and delivering media and entertainment services. We have other media industry veterans on the team as well, and we are continuing to build out additional depth. This means that we intuitively understand our customer’s challenges, enabling us to be a more strategic partner, and to move more quickly in aligning on requirements, architecture and solutions.

Lastly, FPT uniquely brings communications and content delivery expertise to market from its sister company FPT Telecom. Serving both business and customer sectors, FPT Telecom operates a full B2B and B2C business, providing a range of services including pay TV services (IPTV, “traditional” cable TV, OTT); content and application services on the internet; and IoT/smart home products and services as well as data center and cloud services; voice, SMS, and collaboration (IP telephony, virtual IP, PBX, SMS, telepresence. This gives FPT Software the ability to leverage existing production offerings to help jump-start customer solutions.

MESA: What are some of FPT’s favorite use case examples, where M&E companies have made especially good use of the company’s services?

Dworkin: There are so many to choose from! One example — covering a broad body of work — is the engagement that we’ve had with one of the largest communications and entertainment providers in the country. The engagements have involved work on both satellite and streaming platforms – this has included everything from content ingest and scheduling to metadata ingest and management to big data and recommendations to apps across a range of mobile, OTT and connected TV platforms and more. We’ve also driven some re-platforming and test automation projects in partnership with the customer.

This has been a long-standing relationship, approaching a decade – as you might expect, we’ve been involved in a wide range of projects and technologies during that time.

Another example is the work that we’ve done for a leading Satellite entertainment provider in Southeast Asia. We were engaged to help them build out streaming apps for their OTT service. As an accelerator, we leveraged connected TV apps that were built out by FPT Telecom — for both Samsung and LG TVs — and integrated with the satellite provider’s backend as well as with Google Analytics, Conviva, ThinkAnalytics and other services (and were actually one of the first to integrate with Verimatrix on WebOS). We went from zero to launch in under 9 months, and those apps are now servicing over a million customers.

MESA: What’s next for FPT, what can we look forward to from the company in the future?

Dworkin: As noted earlier, we are continuing to invest and build out our expertise in the media vertical even further, both from a technical perspective as well as by bringing on more industry veterans and strategy consultants. Many of our team members are former customers or partners and we bring our knowledge and experience from the trenches to help envision and accelerate our clients’ objectives.

Our goal is to build long-term partnerships with clients and support their entire business, from inception through delivery and support. To support full lifecycle solutions, we are continuing to add product managers and strategists, system engineers, architects, business analysts, developers, and testers to our team.

Additionally, we recently announced a strategic investment in Intertec International to secure access to Intertec’s nearshore technology delivery centers in Costa Rica and Colombia — further enabling the ability to rapidly scale resources in any region as needed.

Finally, we are excited to apply our expertise in the cloud, media delivery, and AI/ML to benefit our customers. For example, we are exploring some machine learning use cases independently that can be used as accelerators for customers.

Also, since we know that FPT may not be a household name among CM&E companies in North America (yet), we have a special program available through the end of the year where we will engage with potential customers on no cost proofs-of-concept prior to engaging more broadly – this will allow the customers to become familiar with our team and capabilities.

I encourage folks to reach out either directly to me or to Barbara Blumenthal ([email protected]) for more info. We’re also looking forward to the NAB Show this year … and finally getting back out and meeting in person, safely. We hope to see many of our fellow MESA members there!