Friday, 30 January 2015


It is imperative for SMBs to ensure maximum output with minimum investment. Small business need to optimally utilize their resources for enhanced productivity. With the smart phone boom, mobile applications have become a standard business tool. SMB players need to focus on adopting specific applications which cater to their business needs and enhance operational excellence.

Analyses of data on the basis of consumer behavior patterns plays a vital role for companies to understand the need of their consumer and thereby realigning their marketing strategies. SMBs should adopt mobility solutions to foster growth and enhance consumer experience.

SMB players need to utilize services such as email, messaging, CRM, social media to ensure they reach out to their consumers and potential consumers. In India, mobility drives the holistic strategy of e-commerce success stories like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Jabong. Snapdeal has witnessed a 25-fold growth in mobile based transactions and more than 50% of their sales come from mobile devices in the last year.

Another strong development for upsurge of mobile-based payments is the greater adoption of mPOS (mobile point-of-sale) solutions. Modern mPOS solutions are convenient to use, ensuring the SMBs to convert their mobile into a POS device and drive transaction volumes by accepting cards anywhere, anytime. This would help the SMBs to increase sales, add value to customer experience and take small retailers community to a cashless route.

To conclude, the SMB industry has the potential to be the largest growth driver for the economy. The players need to move beyond traditional practices and adopt solutions which would give them the required impetus to script greater success stories in the coming years.

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Thursday, 29 January 2015


The Software Defined Networking (SDN) technology is very promising and expected to help operators in reducing costs and boosting service innovation. The cost reduction factor derives naturally from centralizing the network control functions. Following the Network Function Virtualization concept, it ensures that the control function can be implemented on standard equipment (even PCs).

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is currently a widely discussed topic in the telecommunications industry. There are high expectations regarding the technology, including reducing network maintenance costs and unleashing innovation, thus opening the way to new revenue sources and better network monetization. SDN is a concept where the main principle is to separate the control plane from the data plane, and to move the controller function out from today’s routers.

To make the promises of SDN technology come true, there is a need for a platform, enabling a business application that will help opening up telecom networks. The specifications and APIs for this kind of a business application need to be defined to shape the network according to what is required and make it “smarter”. In order for the latter to happen,  a controller needs a comprehensive end-to-end view of the network and all connected services. However, the SDN concept does not define, how to provide such an end-to-end view.

One idea is to leverage the operators’ existing assets like the BSS/OSS ecosystems and prove that SDN won’t make BSS/OSS investments obsolete. IT architecture, where BSS/OSS investments can not only be saved, but even act as a significant enabler for the SDN “revolution”. This means that telecom operators will be able to provide significant added value to the SDN ecosystem.

But the real strength of this technology is in its potential to speed up innovation and open up the network. The “smartness” of the SDN controllers comes from the ability to access a complete end-to-end view of the network. Instead of implementing a completely new infrastructure for an SDN controller, the end-to-end view can be delivered by the existing BSS/OSS systems.

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015


The biggest shift in the industry is that we need to move beyond thinking of security as a set of extra steps, processes, or systems built around our computing environment. As computing becomes more pervasive and embedded, often unseen, in our daily lives, we need to design holistic approaches to security that match the way we live and work.
It’s an exciting time to be in the security industry. There won’t be just one single answer or solution. Many players will be involved in a holistic, systems-based approach to security. And the environment will continue to evolve, as endpoints expand and innovative new technologies enter both our business and personal lives. Security practitioners and developers will be challenged to be innovative and collaborative in adapting to the constantly evolving threat environment.
Applications: Security isn’t something that can be tacked onto an application at the end of its development. Even in an environment with significant time-to-market pressures, application developers need to be part of the holistic approach to security, delivering vulnerability free software that considers the implications of sensitive and/or regulated data.

People: The boundaries between personal and professional online activities and identities are blurring. Corporate security measures must accept this reality and support people with everything from online identity controls to simplified, embedded processes, making secure computing as easy and transparent as possible.

Layered defenses, but across multiple dimensions
Despite what any security vendor may wish you to believe, there’s no single way to secure either your personal data and identity or corporate systems and data. While layered defenses have been a best-practice in corporate security for many years, in today’s increasingly complex security environment we need to expand our thinking to layers across many dimensions. Specifically, security requires holistic approaches that span people, infrastructure, data, and applications.

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015


We will see manufacturers and their partners accelerate the implementation of initiatives that will deliver on the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT). Embedded sensors streaming data combined with analysis will provide better levels of supply chain visibility, production support and customer experience optimization, as innovative manufacturers embrace the possibilities enabled by IoT.
Increased servicing will be required of automated equipment. Specialized equipment makers will be positioned to create new revenue streams by providing maintenance services on a predictive basis with the use of sensors.
Ability to sense demand in real-time and respond by changing prices or promotions through the utilization of segmented logistics, inventory and performance capacities, will allow for optimization of integrated responses.
Re-shoring will remain a focus as manufacturers search for efficiencies and innovation, but supply chains will still be complicated, requiring increased visibility provided by the industrial IoT.
While labor and production in emerging markets manufacturing has been appealing, improvements in innovation and product quality will keep production facilities running and entice new facilities to open, which will compete with re-shoring.
Faster times to market with more specific products and shorter lifecycles (PLM) will result in short-term shifting and outsourcing of logistics facilities, production and suppliers. Manufacturers will have to quickly onboard suppliers and partners to support rapid product development and match the capabilities and products desired by customers.
3D printing will become central to manufacturing strategy. Additive manufacturing will provide additional flexibility for service parts or unique products with short life cycles. These capabilities will flourish and will be adopted as a central part of a manufacturing strategy.
Manufacturers will continue to focus on maintaining cost and service certainty, even in the face of adverse events and risks. Scenario and response planning will require processes spanning multiple departments with the ability to understand forecasted outcomes, and manage real-time deviations from planned outcomes.
Manufacturers who embrace The Digital Enterprise concept will differentiate themselves and attract the best, most sought after talent.
With the rise of IoT and the ability to make massive amounts of data actionable through streaming analytics and dynamic, structured collaboration, governments will continue to increase funding for groups to create a new manufacturing revolution.

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Thursday, 22 January 2015


The modern IT workforce is approaching a critical stage, there are plenty of steps that savvy CIOs can take to make sure their workers are poised for success in the rapidly changing enterprise -- it just requires a subtly different approach to finding and maintaining talent.

Overall, a shift needs to take place in which soft skills become just as important as nuts-and-bolts technical know-how. Here are my top three considerations for IT leaders hoping to bridge the IT skills gap at their companies:

1. Start early. Become actively involved in building the industry workforce you wish to hire from. Businesses are increasingly partnering with educational institutions to help develop and execute curriculum that's aimed at preparing students for the real world. For the CIO, this could be as simple as STEM education to make sure the future workforce has a strong foundation.

2. Develop the talent you have. While new talent acquisition is an important part of maintaining a strong workforce, your best ROI will almost always be to develop the talent you already have.

Instead of hiring experts on cloud or big data, for example, CIOs will need to hire and retain people with general tech backgrounds and provide them with the tools they need to become experts in the latest enterprise technology. IT shops should set aside an annual budget for employee training that balances the financial realities of the department with the need to keep employees’ skills up to date. Large organizations may benefit from a formal internal training program, while IT departments with tighter budgets may look to creative options, such as peer trainings in which employees share their knowledge with one another. Whatever your training budget, make sure every dollar spent on professional development addresses skills your organization needs now or will likely need in the future.

It's also important to create career paths that make sense for both the employee and the organization. There are business benefits from internal promotion by reducing the time and cost of external hiring, and internal promotion also helps keep valuable intellectual property in-house. Meanwhile, employees with clear roads toward advancement are more likely to remain at a company and stay motivated to perform at a high level.

3.  Look for the multi-dimensional candidate. When you do seek out external talent, think carefully about what you really need -- not just now, but in the future. Just as technology is changing, the role of the IT employee is also changing and will continue to do so. Instead of hiring candidates with specific tech skills or knowledge, it will instead be important to look for talented people who have general technical knowledge but who also have soft skills such as communication, leadership, and ambition. For example, if there are two candidates, one with more ambition and another with deeper experience in cloud computing, I’ll hire the ambitious candidate every time. The thinking is that the candidate with the right attitude will be able to learn cloud, and will also stand ready to learn whatever new disciplines the future holds.

In the long run, having an IT staff with diverse skills will be critical for IT taking a larger role in the business. The specifics of new technologies will change, but skills like leadership and ambition will only grow in importance.

In short, the sky is not falling: CIOs can find ways to prepare their workforces for the challenges of the digital enterprise. However, CIOs and other IT leaders must understand that now is the time to think critically about where IT is headed, and the kind of workforce they'll need to realize that vision. By focusing on finding the right kind of people, with a foundation of technical knowledge and the right soft skills, CIOs can ensure they have workers who can shift gears and adapt to changing technology.

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015


Enterprise technology has become scattered, as an increasing number of cloud-based apps, virtual services, and connected devices and sensors have proliferated across company departments. In 2014, businesses realized they needed to connect the new cloud solutions they had adopted with on-premises systems that make up their traditional IT portfolio. Established middleware, including enterprise service buses and custom code have proved to be insufficient to keep up with demand. In the coming year, businesses that have not adopted a rapid integration strategy will have to focus on finding faster, more efficient ways to connect the expanding universe of data and endpoints.

Cloud-based integration platforms will provide the fastest and easiest way for companies to ensure that new technologies are quickly linked to the rest of the organization – including legacy, on-premises systems.

Three integration innovations will redefine enterprise architecture in 2015: virtual integration, cloud-based platforms, and managed APIs:

  • Virtual integration allows applications to access information from external systems without actually moving data from one application to another, delivering immediate insight across systems, a smaller storage footprint, and eliminating the need to synchronize redundant datasets.

  • Cloud integration platforms enable a new generation of hybrid integration designed and managed on a single cloud platform that can run in the cloud or securely behind the firewall.

  • Managed APIs are the new building blocks of digital business. Managed, integrated APIs are not your father’s SOA API. They are specifically designed for today’s scale and security needs, delivering massive throughput, throttling, analytics, monitoring, and centralized lifecycle management.
Together, these new integration innovations will redefine how we do business with our customers, partners, and employees.

Death of ESB & Rise of Real-Time API Integration

The importance of big data and the cloud has forced companies to rethink their traditional IT infrastructure in order to leverage the vast stores of information coming from the Internet of Things, cloud, social and mobile endpoints.

For example, the Internet of Things demands a new level of high-volume, external-facing APIs that operate in real time. The ESB integration model architected more than 10 years ago, before the cloud revolution, was never designed for the scale or speed of modern digital commerce. Instead, the next generation of integration technologies, such as PaaS integration platforms, delivers a new level of agility, and connectivity, in minutes instead of months.

Self-Service Integration: The End User Shift

With more business processes leveraging connected applications and data, integration solutions will become increasingly accessible to the average business user. Instead of relying on IT specialists to connect different business processes across various applications, the modern wave of integration solutions will empower line-of-business users to manage links between the solutions that they know best. As end users demand more control over the technology they use on a day-to-day basis, business IT and integration providers will focus on opening up APIs to allow people across the company to quickly bring on and connect new technologies to legacy solutions.

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015


We import 99.99 per cent of ICT and Telecom technologies today, incurring a cost of USD 120 billion. This bill is estimated to increase to USD 400 billion by 2020.

Will we have the money to foot that huge bill? If USD 120 billion, which is Rs 800,000 crore, circulates within the country, it will generate thousands of millions of crores.

We have to strive for self-sufficiency and build technologies. Transfer of technology, licensed production or joint ventures rarely give a country any true strength and often become an addictive habit. No donor country will transfer their best technology and therefore, whole scale imports are not sustainable in the long term. All the systems are supplied by foreigners, which makes India very vulnerable.

What should be done to achieve self-sufficiency in these technologies?

We need to change the system. The world is racing ahead. We are completely at the bottom in every single metric in science and technology while China is far ahead. If we have the money to import technologies worth USD 120 billion then I am sure we can spend a couple of billion dollars trying to build technologies in India.

But, we must collaborate with the rest of the world. China did it by sheer government willpower over the last 20 years. For instance, China has sent 200,000 junior professors, PhD students and post doctoral students to the US to work in top universities. They go back and create great value at home. Thanks to the bureaucratic mindset, one of our best institutes of higher education, IIT-Delhi, is ranked 250th in the world.

The Indian government has no way of funding them other than some interaction through some Commonwealth fund. The technology base in India compared to the world is less than 1 per cent today. Why can’t we invest a few billions dollars in education, R&D and in building technologies?

Won’t Indian talent come up with innovative, indigenous technologies?

Great talent is available in Africa and Malaysia too. Give me an example of one idea or anything hi-tech that we have made in this country in Telecom or ICT.

We need more PhDs, but there are no takers for it in India as there are limited jobs for researchers today. There is enormous talent in India.

While we are very well connected in arts and literature, we live in a completely isolated system when it comes to science and technology. The government comes into the picture and bureaucrats run the show. While there is no shortage of talent, we are in a bureaucratic prison, which we must come out of. 

Monday, 19 January 2015


India has now emerged as a land of aspirations, the American business community to invest in a big way in the government's ambitious programs like Digital India and Make in India, which will change the face of the country. Describing India as a "happening place" and a land of aspirations, Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has appealed to US businesses to invest in the country in a big way especially in ambitious programs like Make in India. Sharing details of the recently launched programs like Digital India and Make in India, Prasad said India was now the most happening place in the world. 

"There is enormous scope for investment, growth and also very exciting business prospects. India today is a happening place. Narendra Modi's mission was that the internet must reach more than 620 million by 2018. 

"India would become a very powerful digitally connected world. This would lead to a good architecture for electronic delivery of service. The entire contour of India is change. "India is sitting at the cusp of a big digital revolution. Digital India would be a real game changer for the country. 

"If and when that happens, it is surely going to impact the global economy," he said, adding that e-commerce has now started to take off in India and Digital India opens new opportunities for all. 

"Use of technology is an important tool to fulfill this idea of aspiration. The creative energy of India is waiting to show its accomplishments again. Indians want to realize their dreams in view of the extraordinary vision.

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015


Gartner has slashed the forecast to $3.8 trillion from $3.9 trillion due to the rising U.S. dollar as well as a modest reduction in growth expectations for devices, IT services and telecom services.

Gartner said devices will grow 5.1 percent to $732 billion, data center 1.8 percent to $143 billion, enterprise software 5.5 percent to $335 billion, IT services 2.5 percent to $981 billion and telecom services 0.7 percent to $1,638 billion.

The U.S. dollar spending growth rate on devices (including PCs, ultramobiles, mobile phones, tablets and printers) for 2015 was decreased by 1.3 percentage points to 5.1 percent.
Gartner has increased growth forecast for enterprise communications applications and enterprise network equipment segments, while growth for the servers and external controller-based storage segments has been lowered. These growth fluctuations are due to extensions in replacement life cycles and a higher than previously anticipated switch to cloud-based services.
In the enterprise software market, more price erosion and vendor consolidation is expected in 2015 because of competition between cloud and on-premises software providers.
CRM prices to drop
In the customer relationship management (CRM) market, seat prices for segments such as sales force automation (SFA) are expected to decline by 25 percent through 2018. This will be caused by incumbent on-premises vendors discounting their cloud offerings heavily to try and maintain their customer base.
There will also be increased price competition from cloud offerings in other areas (such as database management system (DBMS) and application infrastructure and middleware, albeit at a somewhat slower and weaker pace than for CRM.
Slashes outlook for IT services
Reductions to software support services contributed disproportionately to a lower outlook through 2018, because of lower growth rates expected for enterprise software. Regionally, short-term growth rates were lowered slightly in Russia and Brazil, due to declining economic conditions and political uncertainty in both countries.

Monday, 12 January 2015


Lacking appropriate financial incentive, hospital IT departments and their budgets are largely focused on maintaining installed systems that tend to be associated with revenue generation (e.g., MRI machines or billing systems). In addition, hospitals have been investing enormously in the installation of electronic medical records, thanks to the up-to-$44,000 per eligible doctor incentive provided by the federal government via the HITECH Act. Such installations are significant undertakings that will consume the bandwidth of clinicians and IT departments for years to come. Health IT startups that are patient enough to weather the EMR installation marathon will then face government-subsidized EMR oligarchs that have much to lose and little to gain by allowing access to their data and interfaces.

Entrepreneurs, engineers, and forward-looking clinicians dream of tablets connected to diagnostic devices that use the cloud and advanced analytics to identify and deliver lifesaving recommendations just when and where they're needed most. Unfortunately, when they wake to their day jobs, most find themselves working on direct-to-consumer products or developing "sidecar" systems that remain an arm's length from patient care.

But there's another possibility: What if we look to developing markets for healthcare IT innovation to flourish? Many of the necessary ingredients are there. Overseas markets are so inviting, in fact, that would-be US entrepreneurs should even consider taking their game overseas, proving their health IT products in developing markets, and returning when US healthcare is finally ready for widespread health IT innovation.

Having a problem to solve is certainly a prerequisite for innovation. And there are no shortages of challenges in delivering healthcare both locally and abroad. However, as we've seen in the US, without economic incentives, the greatest solutions do little more than consume venture capital or take up shelf space in medical libraries. In contrast, the healthcare systems of many developing nations are economically incentivized to invest in improving care.

In India, for example, care is provided via a mix of public and private clinics. Care provided in private clinics is typically paid for out-of-pocket. This means private clinics must compete not only against other private clinics, but also against public clinics, where care is largely free. The public clinics also are incentivized to realize more efficient ways to provide care, since they serve as both payer and provider.

Talent: Talent is the lifeblood of technical innovation. Nations such as India, China, and the Philippines offer a deep pool of affordable technical talent that can be a boon to health IT entrepreneurs. And potential candidates may be drawn to the chance to develop software that improves the health of their fellow countrymen. 

Ready or not
If the developing world is such an attractive place to innovate, why aren't we seeing more innovation occurring in these nations? Actually, we are. And if the US isn't careful, we may find ourselves lagging behind.

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Friday, 9 January 2015


Whether it’s a B-to-B or a B-to-C model, the consistent delivery of high-quality customer care is a difficult goal to achieve. This is especially relevant in our device-driven world, an “always on” hyper connected environment laced with multiple customer touch points. A superior customer experience enabled by actionable insights is often the holy grail of business for the modern-day enterprise.

  • Businesses should assess their customer service requirements to understand how adding more real-time customer information to the process, in the form of fraud prevention, authentication, compliance applications as well as big data and analytics, may enhance sales, customer service and customer retention. For many organizations, historical analysis of data and basic customer profiles may suffice and little value may be added by enhancing their service levels with real-time solutions given the added cost. For others, real-time sophistication may be required to gain or maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  •  Potential buyers of advanced, real-time customer service applications should ensure that their channel(s) of choice are well-trained and certified to assist in the planning, purchase and implementation of such services, which may require a broad perspective of technology, security, privacy and legal matters that pertain to such systems. References from other purchasers should be solicited and verified.
  • Users may require additional professional services and/or in-house staff to implement advanced customer authentication technologies beyond resources already available within their organizations. This could substantially increase contact center operating costs that may not be recovered by the economic benefits offered by the new services. Therefore, a business case analysis should be developed prior to implementation of these services by each prospect.

URS Systems implement a customer and channel education program to introduce the benefits of real-time applications to customer service executives across vertical markets which have a proclivity to require high levels of analytical speed and efficiency in their centers. URS Systems also set up training for channel participants selling into these verticals.

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Thursday, 8 January 2015


Continuing evolution in mobility, software-based communications, architectural design, data analytics, and the user experience will keep us hopping this year.

Change will be the norm for enterprise communications this year, for sure. Let's look at the changes through some keywords: mobile, applications, architecture, analytics and experience.

  • Mobile: Mobile devices continue to transform everything. Almost everyone is using a smartphone -- aka, a smart, mobile, Internet-connected computer. The phone part of the device is not the first thing folks think about when making a purchase and is definitely no longer the first thing they think about for communications. That mobile computer is the go-to device for texting, email, instant messaging, Tweets, social posting -- all before voice or video even get into the mix. In 2015, the mobile device is likely to transform the communications architecture for mobile employees, as those people click to call from their mobile contact lists and mobile apps and click to conference from their mobile calendars.
  • Applications: Software applications have pervaded almost everything we do in a business setting. For example, customer relationship management apps keep track of customers and prospects; enterprise resource planning, logistics and point-of-sale apps keep track of inventory and product location; electronic health record apps track patient care; learning management systems manage educational experiences; and collaborative workspace products (i.e., those that include content management and process coordination) boost the output of development, marketing and professional services. The key for the communications industry is that these apps now have communications built into them. In many cases, the app becomes a communications substitute -- for example, a user tracks shipments in an app rather than by calling the shipment desk. In other cases, messaging, posting and peer-to-peer voice or video are built into the apps. In many cases, we won't even see this transformation happening, but it will -- and we can measure it.

  • Architecture: This year we will see a continuing shift in architectural design for enterprise communications. My expectation, based on our client experiences, is that in 2015 and beyond most IT and telecom teams will build their communications system architectures around directories, applications (increasingly cloud-based), gateways, and mobile devices (almost all cloud-based on cellular networks) in the cloud. Of course, it will then take several years for these architectures to shift the market for communications technology purchases. The architecture will still account for IP-PBX and video room systems, which serve specific functions, but the higher-level view will begin with organizational workflows and the design of communications solutions for those workflows and the people -- employees, customers, partners, citizens and so on -- who participate in them. Directories will support addressing; gateways will provide connectivity, protocol conversions, security barriers and some middleware; and the cloud will serve as a host and connection point for apps, devices and users.
  • Analytics: Now that almost everything is happening through apps (or the apps behind Web pages), companies are able to apply analytics engines to the massive data trails being created and use the analytical insight to guide or assist with processes, workflows and individual activities. This has been part of contact centers for some time and is now blossoming far beyond through digital marketing. In addition, analytics can now interact to shorten process times, lower costs, and reduce manual effort. Outside of the contact center, our industry has been a laggard in the use of analytics, but that will change, since there is so much to be gained by optimizing the flow of communications and by reducing the communications-based labor content that consumes as much as 21% of enterprise revenues, as I've noted previously. We probably can't even imagine all that will change based on analytics, but the application of analytics will be an investment criteria in 2015 and beyond.
  • User experience: My estimate is that we will look back on 2015 as the year in which the user experience for communications shifted to the application interfaces on mobile devices. I've described the reasons above, and I've seen plenty of evidence already. In addition, new methods such as WebRTC, new services such as Twilio and the creativity of the mobile device OS makers including Apple, Google and even Microsoft Nokia and BlackBerry are dramatically lowering the barriers to embedding communications functions.

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015


Today’s organizations might be perpetually connected to their customers, but a good business knows when to respect boundaries.  That interactions must add value to the customer’s experience, a good business knows that attempting to communicate with a guarded, disinterested customer is not only inappropriate but counterproductive.

Pivotal to recognizing such boundaries is understanding how—and why—they come to exist.  Standard business practice and societal conventions might provide good guidance, but they can never trump the will of the customer.  If a customer is particularly private and particularly disinterested in an open communication link, a customer-centric business recognizes, accepts and adheres to his stricter set of boundaries.

Similarly, if a customer demonstrates an unusual aversion to boundaries and conversational restrictions, the business should feel free to engage with a corresponding absence of inhibition.  In fact, its ability to call itself customer-centric might hinge on its ability to interact on the customer’s weird, unconventional terms. Even if those terms involve a bathroom encounter.

Other businesses must take note. Customers will use Twitter for urgent, conversational matters.  When doing so, they will expect the business to take urgent action.  To successfully satisfy today’s omni-channel customer, a business must be capable of meeting the demands of that urgency.

The customer needed action; he did not simply need to be heard.  If the business operated in accordance with standard boundaries – rather than the unique ones of a customer in a unique situation – it potentially would have shied away from the action that needed to be taken.

While few businesses will find themselves in this particular predicament, virtually all businesses will encounter scenarios in which standard norms, expectations and policies will prove insufficient.  The mark of a customer-centric business comes from its ability to adapt to the specific needs of its customers.

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015


In recent years, enterprise-based offerings have emerged as a strong component in operators’ service portfolios, with the Indian telecom market moving away from being purely voice led to becoming data oriented. This trend, coupled with the growing demand for communication services and technology platforms from enterprises across various verticals, has made a strong business case for operators, who have been struggling with dwindling profits. The introduction and large-scale adoption of virtualisation, cloud services, big data analytics and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications have opened new windows of revenue and growth opportunities for operators.

The enterprise market in India is estimated to grow at 10 per cent annually over the next five years. The contribution of this segment to operators’ total revenues currently stands in the range of 8 per cent to 12 per cent. This number is set to grow manifold as contemporary enterprise solutions such as cloud-based storage, data centre services and managed services gain traction.

Operator performance and strategies

Telecom operators have formulated various strategies to leverage the enterprise advantage. Some have defined their focus in terms of audience; Bharti Airtel, for instance, continues to stay focused on small and medium businesses (SMBs) while BSNL and RCOM have a strong presence in the government domain. Others have differentiated themselves on the basis of service offerings. Videoconferencing has found favour across all industry verticals. Enterprises are also shifting from traditional leased lines to multiprotocol label switching solutions in a big way. In addition, operators are investing significantly in the areas of integrated platforms and converged services. The IP transition of enterprises is giving way to a greater deployment of unified communications.

Key trends

  • Evolving managed services models: Managed services have become a norm for large enterprises, which have been outsourcing their communication needs to telecom and IT partners in a bid to focus better on core areas. However, the scope and nature of managed services have evolved significantly as operators have expanded their offerings from traditional managed network or application services to managed videoconferencing, managed security and managed cloud.  Enterprises today demand network optimisation, custom reports and regular auditing of networking infrastructure in addition to network monitoring and uptime.
  • New focus areas: With enterprises demanding applications that can perform real-time tracking and capturing of meaningful data, cloud-based services and big data analytics are witnessing increased uptake. Vodafone India has announced its plans to start a cloud services marketplace to widen its range of offerings to corporate and business customers. In another instance, Tata Communications recently became an authorised partner of Google Cloud Platform. Under the terms of this agreement, Google’s new service, Google Cloud Interconnect, will connect with Tata Communications’ IZO Public platform, which enables companies to set up cloud computing facilities.
  • Growing enterprise mobility market: The enterprise mobility market has expanded significantly as enterprises move beyond emails to adopt enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, supply chain management, sales force automation, etc. Insurance, pharmaceuticals and logistics companies have emerged as the biggest users of such solutions, owing to a strong field sales force. In fact, several companies are now planning to mobilise these solutions and make them accessible through employee handsets. The bring-your-own-device concept is also finding favour among several enterprises, though security remains a concern. By mid-2015, the Indian enterprise mobility market is expected to reach $1 billion, as per some industry estimates.
  • M2M and the internet of things: The industry is optimistic about the wide-scale adoption of M2M solutions across automotive, utility and retail verticals in India. For instance, Vodafone India has put bar-coded SIM cards in Mahindra Reva cars through which information like service requirements, battery charge and remote instruction downloads for maps can be retrieved on a real-time basis. Enterprises in the logistics, manufacturing and transportation industries are also increasingly adopting M2M services to automate processes.
Government emerging as a key vertical

With the launch of its ambitious Digital India programme, the government has opened new doors of opportunities for the telecom and IT sectors. The programme requires creating digital identities, making documents and certificates available on a cloud platform, making government services available on online and mobile platforms on a real-time basis, ensuring electronic and cashless financial transactions, and the seamless integration of government departments. Government businesses are already moving from e-governance to m-governance models, wherein most services can be accessed through handsets.

The Rs 1,130 billion Digital India initiative aims at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. This cannot be done without the active participation of the telecom sector. Government departments will turn to operators in large numbers for the deployment of cloud and storage solutions, big data analytics, etc.
The establishment of 100 smart cities, as envisaged by the government, will also require significant support from telecom operators in terms of M2M communications and converged platforms. A smart city makes extensive use of information and communication technology (ICT) to facilitate advanced communications infrastructure like back-end intelligent systems to manage traffic flows, real-time monitoring and video surveillance to ensure public safety, and the installation of utility meters and systems for traffic information.

The way forward

Owing to its potential for high revenues and margins, the enterprise segment will attract significant attention from operators in the coming years. Factors such as digitisation, ICT adoption by government agencies, the upgrading of IT infrastructure by large and small companies, the usage of enterprise mobility solutions and the adoption of cloud services will drive growth in the segment, thereby promising a significant revenue potential for cash-starved operators in the future.

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