As an analyst on the Current Analysis Business Network and IT Services team, Gary covers Business Telecoms Services for the UK and Ireland, with a particular interest in SME and public sector services. Gary’s responsibilities include updating and maintaining Current Analysis’s competitor assessments for the major telecoms companies operating in the UK and on a Pan-European basis.
• Nokia’s rebrand is designed to move further away from its mobile device and, to a lesser extent, CSP infrastructure heritage as well as to better position it to appeal to enterprise customers.
• Nokia has identified key medium and long-term trends and how it can play a role, but its B2B strategy needs to be more clearly defined.
Deciding to alter a brand as established as Nokia is not an easy decision, but the solutions vendor has done just that. At the start of 2023’s MWC event in Barcelona (Spain), the vendor has launched a new logo – albeit still with the same name. Nokia’s rational for doing this is clear and understandable: As recognizable as the blue Nokia logo is, it is also irrevocably associated with the company’s heritage as the dominant player in the pre-smartphone mobile handset market.
Enterprises should consider the digital-first customer experience as a central pillar of their transformation strategies building on the work of omnichannel.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools can unlock greater value, reduce costs, and improve the customer journey.
The internet and smartphone have driven a phenomenal pace of change in the way that customers interact with businesses since 2008. Multichannel evolved to accommodate the new channels of contact such as instant messaging, SMS, social media, and mobile apps that have become available to customers alongside voice.
• Even if the macro-economic environment has made sustainability less of a focus, enterprises cannot ignore the need to collect data and be efficient.
• Efficiency and sustainability require an interconnected and integrated ecosystem of technologies.
The impact of inflation and a tightening global economy have realigned the priorities of many enterprises. One of the ‘victims’ of this shift in priorities has been ESG. While ESG remains important to enterprises (remaining in the top five of the key themes impacting businesses in 2023), it has slipped behind factors such as trade disputes, digital transformation, and regulatory compliance.
• Enterprises like the idea of SASE, but zero trust is often more relevant to their business needs.
• Many enterprises feel they are not ready to implement either framework.
Secure access service edge (SASE) and zero trust network architecture (zero trust or ZTNA) are two of the go-to technology trends in the networking and security space at the moment. They grab attention because the idea of bringing network and security policies closer together is appealing to enterprises and often forms part of their IT strategy. The catch is that network and security convergence is often part of enterprises’ longer-term strategy (i.e., not before 2025), and it is often a vague aspiration rather than a definite plan.
• Enterprises should be aware that different vendors have differing lead times on hardware.
• Service providers have held off on price increases thus far, but this may not be the case in the longer term.
Inflation and resource shortages have been two of the key global macro-economic trends over the last 12 months as the result of multiple contributing factors. Chip shortages have become a significant problem in almost all sectors, and the telecoms market has been significantly affected – albeit in an uneven way. However, while costs are going up, technology may also help enterprises be more efficient.
• SASE combines WAN with elements of security and edge technology, but that is not a catch-all solution.
• For SASE to work, organizations must break down internal silos to create a unified approach to data routing and security policies.
What is SASE or – to reference it by its full name – secure access service edge? Enterprises can be forgiven to a degree of uncertainty on this point since, as with all new technology concepts, the term has been used rather freely by vendors, service providers, and analysts alike. In its original form, the concept envisioned a move beyond traditional WAN (including SD-WAN) to a group of network technologies that would be deployed at the network edge (in a move away from customer premises equipment) and would combine both routing and security capabilities.
Enterprises should work with providers to develop more meaningful KPIs within SLA agreements.
AI technology is enabling predictive fault detection; working with providers will help improve AI performance.
Service level agreements (SLAs) are one of the tech world’s necessary evils and often one of its most ineffective tools. Ideally, no SLAs should be required; enterprises would much rather have the service work than be compensated for its failure. Furthermore, the financial penalty in SLAs is often nowhere close to compensating for the financial loss caused by an outage. GlobalData’s conversations with enterprises have revealed a lack of faith from enterprises in SLAs, with more than one IT manager referring to them as ‘pointless.’
• Enterprises should beware the hype – the metaverse is not a decision that needs to be made this year, if ever
• However, elements of the metaverse are with us now and can offer genuine benefits – e.g., for training or collaboration
The ‘metaverse’ is manna from heaven for tech journalists (and, indeed, analysts!) as it is poorly defined, can be applied to both current technology and fantastical future ideas, and is a concept much loved by technology giants such as Microsoft and Facebook/Meta Platforms Inc. This sort of scenario is true of many new technologies, but the metaverse is a more ethereal and intangible concept than most – to the extent that even its name is meta.
Digital transformation projects should have a clearly targeted business benefit.
Enterprises should challenge providers to offer clear use cases and help them to identify how their businesses can achieve impactful change.
‘Digital transformation’ is a term apparent in the marketing material of almost every service provider and technology vendor in the IT and communications industries. It is, in full honesty, beloved of analysts. In fairness to both, digital transformation is a term that enterprises recognize and one that they use themselves when talking about their IT upgrade cycles – but this does not mean the term is particularly instructive or meaningful. Continue reading “Transformation Without Direction Is Meaningless”→
The range and strength of alternative options to traditional telecoms service providers (SPs) are increasing.
SPs still offer clear differentiators that make them relevant to modern enterprises.
The launch of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Cloud WAN proposition is another move by the public cloud giants into what has traditionally been the domain of telecoms service providers (SPs). AWS Cloud WAN is in the same category as Microsoft’s Azure WAN suite of services (particularly Azure Virtual WAN) and builds on AWS’ existing Direct Connect and Transit Connect Gateway products – but this time with a proposition that is specifically designed as a WAN solution (rather than purely cloud access), therefore making it more coherent and easier to manage. Continue reading “Do Service Providers Still Matter?”→
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