‘Data cen­ters are at core’

Voice&Data - - ENTERPRISE - Ibrahim Ah­mad & Kr­ishna Mukher­jee ibrahima@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in x-kr­ish­nam@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

Voice&Data: With so many op­er­a­tors, In­dia is a very chal­leng­ing mar­ket. You are sup­posed to know how to grow rev­enues in mar­kets like In­dia. So, what are some of the big­gest chal­lenges you have seen here?

Bill Bar­ney: I won’t say chal­lenges, it’s a big place with lots of in­fra­struc­ture re­quired and this is a hun­gry econ­omy. If you think about the op­por­tu­nity here, the en­ergy here is right for growth.

Prob­a­bly, it’s the fun­ni­est place I have ever op­er­ated in my life. I have op­er­ated in China, the US, and Europe but the growth is tremen­dous here prob­a­bly be­cause of the ed­u­cated pop­u­la­tion, the fo­cus on tech­nol­ogy that is so high, and the un­der­stand­ing at many lev­els. It’s a fan­tas­tic place to work in.

Voice& Data: As per Voice& Data re­cent sur­vey, the en­ter­prise busi­ness of tele­com op­er­a­tors grew by 6-10%, but RCom says its en­ter­prise busi­ness has grown by more than 100%. So, have we missed some­thing on that or where’s the catch?

Bill Bar­ney: That’s not true. But at the same time, if you look at our cloud ca­pa­bil­i­ties, our cloud ser­vices are grow­ing faster than 100%, if you look at cross­bor­der trans­ac­tions to In­dian en­ter­prises go­ing over­seas that’s grow­ing like 300%. But th­ese are small mem­bers in the grand scale, and then some of our hubs are grow­ing more than 10-20%.

Voice& Data: But for some­body who has been la­belled as ‘growth guru’ for the In­dian mar­ket, what are some of your key fo­cus ar­eas?

Bill Bar­ney: Our fo­cus is really on -- get-

ting into the fast mov­ing streams. The in­ter­net space is right now the fastest mov­ing space, glob­ally.

Tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies will boom for a very very long time. Fi­nan­cial ser­vices, be­lieve it or not, are grow­ing very quickly in the net­work space. So, those are the two sec­tors we are tar­get­ing very closely, be­cause both th­ese sec­tors are grow­ing fast and spend­ing quite a lot of money right now and they are also ex­pand­ing glob­ally.

This is a huge in­vest­ment area -- fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies are com­ing in and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies are com­ing in very quickly.

Voice& Data: What kind of changes are you making in your net­works or in­fra­struc­ture to make it at­trac­tive for your en­ter­prise cus­tomers?

Bill Bar­ney: The rea­son why are we putting in this Cloud xchanges, is to en­able ap­pli­ca­tions to be ac­cessed by en­ter­prise cus­tomers.

One of the self­ish rea­sons is you don’t re­quire a sales­force any­more, so once you sell it to the cus­tomer con­nected to your net­work they can buy ap­pli­ca­tions and ser­vices from you with­out talk­ing to any­body. To­day, we have a sales­force of roughly 600 peo­ple around the globe direct sell­ing to cus­tomers. With this, each one of those cloud nodes ev­ery­day will be hit 4-5,000 times by cus­tomers.

Each one of the cloud nodes, they can sell it­self. So, we will be able to sell ser­vices and prod­ucts through it.

Our view, over the next 10 years, is that the top 10-15% of our cus­tomers will ac­tu­ally have a very strong re­la­tion­ship and when th­ese cus­tomers want to change their ser­vices they can do it them­selves, as they will have more con­trol through our self-ser­vice op­tion.

So, the re­la­tion­ship will be much more around strat­egy, help­ing them to grow. This is trans­for­ma­tion in terms of how we op­er­ate in In­dia.

Voice& Data: What type of trends are you see­ing among the en­ter­prise cus­tomers th­ese days, what type of ques­tions are they ask­ing, what are their con­cerns?

Bill Bar­ney: I think the en­ter­prise cus­tom- ers are try­ing to do a couple of things. One is, they are try­ing to gear them­selves up for cloud so they want to understand how they can do the sav­ings that are re­quired. Most CIOs are un­der pres­sure, as they have to give more ser­vices to the end-users and have to take out min­i­mal cap­i­tal out of the bud­get.

The other chal­lenge for CIOs is catching up with the con­sumers. An av­er­age con­sumer can ac­cess videos, send pic­tures and do video-con­fer­enc­ing over the phone, and most en­ter­prise net­works can ac­tu­ally al­low this to hap­pen. They ac­tu­ally have to catch up with the con­sumers be­cause with young folks com­ing in and ask­ing for dif­fer­ent things, there’s go­ing to be a chal­lenge for CIOs as they have to build those net­works and si­mul­ta­ne­ously have to take care of the se­cu­rity part as well.

And then Euro­peans, Amer­i­cans are all com­ing into this mar­ket and chas­ing growth. They are tar­get­ing the age group of 25-30 as if you look at this age group their in­come goes up the most in 10 years in their life­time so that’s the big­gest op­por­tu­nity here when we look at places like In­dia and Mid­dle East.

Voice&Data: In the en­tire scheme of your en­ter­prise busi­ness, where do you see OTTs?

Bill Bar­ney: OTTs are the largest con­sumer of our band­width, but they can­not be tele­phone com­pa­nies them­selves. If you look at Google, we love them really but they make a lot of money by rid­ing all of us. The chal­lenge is whether they can be con­sid­ered tele­phone com­pa­nies and ac­cess the in­ter­net; how does that work; and whether they have to pay for build­ing net­works.

There are lot of is­sues around in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture be­cause tra­di­tion­ally tele­com com­pa­nies re­quire in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment. If you have a li­cense, you have to build it so the chal­lenge is what you do with the new play­ers com­ing in.

Voice& Data: At one time, RCom’s data cen­ters were in the news all over, what’s hap­pen­ing on the data cen­ters front?

Bill Bar­ney: We are re­vamp­ing them, we are adding power, net­work, open­ing them up so that more sup­plies can come in and so that it’s not just a closed ecosys­tem within the Reliance group but other net­work providers can be here.

We are making it eas­ier for them to come in be­cause it’s good to open up data cen­ters and we are also putting ser­vices into that... if you want to buy stor­age on de­mand you can get that on a tem­po­rary ba­sis in our data cen­ters. We never want to be server firm or mas­sive stor­age op­er­at­ing cen­ters, but we will have the abil­ity for some IT loads to be housed there and used on a tem­po­rary ba­sis for cus­tomers. When we de­ploy our nodes that ac­tu­ally come with typ­i­cally some soft­ware com­pute ca­pa­bil­i­ties and stor­age ca­pa­bil­i­ties, cus­tomers can use them one day or two day which­ever ap­pli­ca­tions they want to run so there would be ex­pan­sion.

If our strat­egy is suc­cess­ful, which I be­lieve will be, we will be in­vest­ing in data cen­ters as they are the core of our net­work. That’s the fo­cal point and rev­enues come from there.

Voice&Data: How has been the re­sponse from In­dia on the Global Cloud Xchange?

Bill Bar­ney: We have re­ceived a very pos­i­tive re­sponse and cus­tomers liked it, they liked the new name too, the brand is dif­fer­ent. The in­ter­est­ing thing is where the sec­tor is go­ing from where it was, we were launched as an in­fra­struc­ture com­pany now we have to be a peo­ple’s com­pany so we ac­tu­ally have to trans­form our­selves from be­ing in­fra­struc­ture to hu­mans just be­cause when you get into the trans­for­ma­tional IT space you are ac­tu­ally play­ing in the soft­ware de­fined net­works it really comes down to the hu­mans who ac­tu­ally run the net­works and be­ing able to move quickly at the edge.

We have to be more like a Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pany than a tra­di­tional telco. We are also try­ing to trans­form our em­ployee base and be­com­ing nim­ble but that’s go­ing to take some time and also our sis­ter com­pa­nies are in­fra­struc­ture com­pa­nies and the chal­lenge is that we have to be a bit dif­fer­ent from them.

—Bill Bar­ney CEO, RCom (En­ter­prise)

Bill Bar­ney, a vet­eran in the tele­com space and best rec­og­nized as ‘growth guru’ in the in­dus­try for driv­ing rev­enues of com­pa­nies, is cur­rently serv­ing as the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Reliance Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (En­ter­prise) and Global Cloud Xchange. On the back of the launch of Cloud X nodes re­cently, Bar­ney, sounded op­ti­mistic about the en­ter­prise busi­ness and the In­dia mar­ket. In an in­ter­ac­tion with Voice&Data, he talks about RCom’s strat­egy for its en­ter­prise busi­ness and why data cen­ters are its holy grail.

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