Shali Thilakan, Managing Director India, Cable&Wireless Worldwide
Cable&Wireless: Customer centricity initiatives will become a priority in emerging markets in 2011
What are the specific demands of your enterprise and carrier customers in markets like India, China, Africa, the Middle East and Brazil?
There has been a growing demand from our existing customer base into these geographies and increasingly we see a greater need to not just help extend their connectivity but also provide managed end to end solution for their data, voice and business applications. We have the right partnerships and mindshare in these markets and have been able to seamless offer solutions in these geographies.
In general, there’s been an increase in demand for managed service solutions, next-generation product and solutions offerings as well as unified communications. In the enterprise space, there’s been explosive demand for bandwidth and for next-generation IP based solutions. We also see greater exploitation of network with applications, propelled by companies wanting to become more efficient and cost effective by making better use of communication solutions.
Partnerships continue to be the mainstay of our approach towards building collaborative relationships with regional telecom carriers, and we will continue to forge good relationships with in-country carriers to meet our customers’ mission critical communications needs.
What are the latest trends in these markets?
A: There are three main trends in the telecom industry in India and the Asia Pacific at large. First, we see an increased demand for next-generation IP based solutions with enterprises. Second, there is a growing desire for multinational companies to have greater flexibility and agility in their infrastructure globally. Also, companies are looking to become more efficient and more cost effective by making better use of communication solutions. And finally, there is a steady and building appetite for managed services and companies want to focus on their core businesses and want an expert to manage the rest.
In the carrier world, we are looking at India closely as the 3G roll out should trigger demand for more bandwidth products. We also see a drift in India from the DIY model to scalable and efficient managed service out sourced model.
The year 2010 was not a good year for many telcos. What are your forecast for 2011? Which are the main geographies / countries to excel in performance?
In the last three years, we have made focused and informed investments into India, China, Asia and Africa. These markets have done well in 2010 and will have sustainable demands in the 2011 and going forward as well. We have the right products sets that deliver cost effective solutions and help customers deliver their objectives in the said region.
We believe Asian market will continue to enjoy another solid year of strong growth. For us, global markets including India, Singapore, China, Africa and the US are the key markets for growth. We also believe customer centricity initiatives will become a priority in emerging markets in 2011.
Consolidation is in the offing for many mobile operators. What about telcos like C&W?
We do not comment on acquisitions or take overs. However, we are always on the lookout for good opportunities to further grow our business and offering to customers, and will evaluate possible avenues as they come.
What are your expansion plans in markets like India, China, Africa, the Middle East and Brazil?
We have grown significantly the business in the Asia Pacific in the last few years. The Asia Pacific has always been a significant contributor to Cable&Wireless Worldwide’s global business, and India is one of fastest growing markets for us globally.
Analyst estimates are very positive as well. According to media reports this year, IDC has predicted the spending in enterprise networks to grow by over 13.1% in 2011 reaching US$15.1 billion. Growth will be driven by continued spending in datacenter networks, continued migration to an all IP platform and branch office network investments.
For the coming year, we will continue our focus on growing our suite of global networking offerings to businesses and carrier customers. We will continue to extend our core competencies globally, and delivering to market services aimed at driving adding value in networks & service investments for our global customers.
Geographically, we increasingly look at delivering more localised product and service offerings, and continue to collaborate with local partners to deliver these to meet local market needs. For eg: Last year in India, we announced the set up of a new Global Markets Solutions Centre (GMSC) in Bangalore. GMSC serves as an innovation hub for offshore product development for our global markets those outside of the UK including Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and North America. The Bangalore centre primarily looks at developing new, standardised and repeatable solutions specifically made for our global markets customers. These solutions are developed by combining the strengths of C&W Worldwide’s core product development, consulting, engineering, and emerging technologies teams and some will be built in collaboration with C&W Worldwide’s clients and business partners across the globe.
Our focus on delivering solutions to enable customers & businesses to manage their telecoms spends, and improve business efficiency remains.
What are your green initiatives?
At Cable&Wireless Worldwide we are fundamentally committed to going green in our business. In our operations in Asia Pacific and abroad, we have dramatically reduced energy consumption by adopting ICT technologies and practices that balance environmental and business goals. Our success has led us to extend this approach to the services and products we offer clients.
We also believe in practising environmental stewardship. In fact, we have used MVC ourselves to save money and reduce our carbon footprint as an organisation. As a user of what we ourselves sell, we have made VC easy and accessible with suites in the United Kingdom, Europe and key sites in Asia, Australia and the United States. We have some 50 VC sites globally, and video conferencing facilities in all our UK locations. We also have permanent VC links on our system to suppliers in India.
In February last year, our CEO led a worldwide meeting for colleagues in Bangalore, Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK on video conference. We have also converted our monthly operations meetings between colleagues in London and Bangalore to video conferences, saving an estimated 120 days of management time.
In the Asia Pacific and India, we are also collaborating with Reagus to provide MVC solutions which give businesses of all sizes the opportunity to take full advantage of this technology, and the green benefits associated with it through its meeting facilities and business centers.
Do the green projects excite your customers?
Yes they do. And increasingly it is part of most of our customer’s corporate policy.
We are assisting customers achieve their agenda of Go Green” and increasingly we see RFP’s that require us to be adopting Go Green” initiatives. We are glad our offerings play a role in helping customer achieve these goals.
They also get excited with the options we provide. For instance, we advise businesses looking to reduce their energy consumption to start by optimising their data centre infrastructure. Where possible, data centres should be consolidated onto fewer, more technologically advanced servers, which release less heat and deliver greater performance per watt of power dissipation. They should also use a technique called virtualisation, which splits one physical server into multiple virtual servers for better utilisation.