‘Last year, we generated € 50 mn from cloud. This year in terms of percentage, cloud is much more significant than normal business’
Vivek Badrinath, CEO, Orange Business Services was recently in India to meet customers, brief global media about emerging market opportunities, and to get an update on the Indian MSC (major service center).
Vivek was formerly the executive VP for networks, carriers, platforms, and infrastructure and was responsible for developing the technical policies for France Telecom and supporting the implementation of its integrated product portfolio. Prior to Orange, he spent 4 years with Thomson India where he was in charge of both manufacturing and sales and managing relationship with key customers.
Speaking to VOICE&DATA, Vivek talked about Orange Business Services strategy, emerging market opportunity, economic slowdown, cloud strategy, and competition. Excerpts—
Where do we see India in the emerging market opportunity for Orange Business Services as the company plans to achieve €1 bn revenue from the emerging market by 2015?
The acceleration of emerging market started in 2010 for Orange Business Services and it is cumulative for both network and services. Our focus in Asia Pacific is on China, India, and ASEAN region. In Latin America, our main focus is on Brazil where we see local companies providing us sales business. India as a destination is in the top 3 emerging markets for Orange Business Services as India and China have maximum growth vis-a-vis Asia Pacific.
We bought GTL 3 years ago and we have got around 600 people in 8 locations. We are closer to the target in India.
With economic uncertainty increasing, do you see a slowdown in enterprise ICT spending both in India as well as the worldwide market?
The enterprises are not cutting on ICT spending as they did in 2007-08 and there are many strong trends—consumerization of mobility, retail business focusing on mobile applications, and public transportation focusing on mobile applications. If enterprises lower their spending, they will be in trouble and the companies cannot afford to decrease their ICT spending. In September-october timeframe, there was a shortening of cycle for very large scale IT transformation projects but long-term projects are under review by boards.
Orange’s MSC in India has the highest number of employees in terms of emerging economies. Where does it stand vis-avis developed economies and do you plan to add capacity as we move forward?
We set up this infrastructure in India and are satisfied with the skill sets that we have reached. In future, the management of cloud infrastructure will be run from Gurgaon. Gurgaon MSC will grow as cloud business grows for Orange Business Services.
You have strong relationships with NTT and China Telecom in APAC. Are you looking for a similar partnership with the Indian operators?
We work with the Indian operators for last mile and backbone sharing. Both China
The enterprises are not cutting on ICT spending as they did in 200708 and there are many strong trends— consumerization of mobility, retail business focusing on mobile applications, and public transportation focusing on mobile applications
Telecom and NTT relationships are for last mile and they have significant part of enterprise market. Today, we don’t see any strong exclusive relationship in the Indian market and none of the operators have shown strong relationships.
The company plans to generate €500 mn from cloud by 2015. How have you fared and how are things progressing?
Last year, we generated €50 mn from cloud. This year in terms of percentage, cloud is much more significant than normal business. Cloud provides flexible computing and presently the health vertical is utilizing it a lot. We are enriching the range to cover other verticals. We are also developing whole suite for small companies in the France region.
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What is Big Data strategy for Orange Business Services?
We are accelerating on storage capabilities. We need to develop Big Data features which are touching more as a trend. Big Data is more forward looking with respect to network requirement and storage requirement. Presently, we do not have products in place as it would be coming in 3-4 years’ time.
How is Orange services different from large international connectivity service providers?
Our MSC is meshed with high consistency of process as there is same methodology across the world. Resilience is of the highest order and there is no disruption to the customer model. We also have the largest reach which is relevant to some enterprises as we have the deepest reach. In terms of technology, VPN Gallery can link our network with external service providers using a secure gateway. We also offer interoperability with respect to open video presence as we allow interconnection of the video platforms of Polycom, Tandberg, and Cisco.
In terms of revenue, where do you stand vis-a-vis large international connectivity service providers worldwide?
We are about at the same level as AT&T and Verizon are on the international enterprise market. We are strong in France, Poland, and Russia. To a lesser extent, we are successful in Spain, Belgium, and Romania as we have a strong presence.
Do we see Orange Business Services focusing on smart cities, e-health, and e-government in India?
I think we have a good solution in greenfield projects. In this domain, partnership is the key as we bring only one model. We will be partnering with these players for smart cities and e-health. We know that we will have to work with local partnership. For Bhutan emergency response, we work with local medical authority and Bhutan government where we provide technology that connects directly to get an ambulance quickly.