Orange to Focus on SDx, DC and Cloud This year

Orange Business Services is a leading service provider having presence in various global locations. They are closely monitoring the technology evolution and partaking in the journey of the customers. We spoke to Chalapathi Rao, Country General Manager – India at Orange Business Services, to know his perspective. An excerpt.

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“Today customer views you not just for a product but what you offer as a package. That is where customer would differentiate and select.”

Chalapathi Rao,
CEO – India
Orange Business Services


How do you read into the post pandemic market growth?

Many enterprises were hesitant or holding back their digital transformation strategy, but the pandemic had advanced it. It is a positive impact of the pandemic. Post pandemic, there is a surge of activities that the enterprises are seen, especially in India. It has coincided with the make in India programs of India. There is a surge of activities happening in the ICT sector as well. There are also a lot of disruptive technologies available, which is making good solutions available in the market giving opportunities to the industry to innovate.

How do visualize the market opportunity for Orange Business Services?

In terms of the Orange portfolio, it is very rich as it is a global organization. Traditionally connectivity services was the basis on which many telcos have been built and we are no exception. The adaptation to the upcoming technologies and transition to the next generation services with the strength of the connectivity services is what Orange has done very effectively.

In terms of the enterprise part of it, which we call ‘Orange Business Services’ is almost a 30,000 people organization spread across multiple countries. While connectivity services is still there, we are reinventing the connectivity services into the next generation connectivity services which are Flexi SD-WAN solution, Flexi Lan solutions, etc. We believe that these are the technologies going to be the future. And there are other solutions including cloud, security and IoT. We have good success stories in the rest of the world. Obviously, in some of these solutions implementations, there has been a bit of lag in India, where my focus would lie for next couple of quarters.

How do you see the evolution of CIOs in digital transformation?

CIO is not a designation it is just a roll. Today, if I take CIO as a function, the issue is that there are many roles or functions in the organizations which have got many IT components as mixed. Today, if I go to a manufacturing of auto industry, if I just look at the marketing function, I don’t think for any of their promotions, they go to a CIO. They have an embedded and integrated system within that function, which is almost like a semi-CIO to take care of. So, the digital part of it, if only associated with the CIO, is probably fading away. There are many functions but each of those functions have got a flavor – the proportion can be varying but there’s a flavor of a digital transformation.

They all would be behaving like a CXO, so if today I don’t tap into those things, then probably there’s a good possibility that the bigger pie will be missing.

The conventional CIO might be reduced to the infrastructure management, which is critical and at the same time, that throws good opportunities for organization like Orange in terms of managing that piece and leaving the rest of the things of the core components of that system to the right functions.

As far as the Digital Transformation is concerned, where have the enterprises reached now.

I think it’s fair to say that the journey has begun. I don’t think anybody would claim that the goal is the end goal. They’re at different levels of maturity, but people are talking that by 2023, there would be a reasonable awareness and there would be a reasonable manner of digital transformation by 60% of the enterprises in different flavors.

The challenging part of it is digital transformation and technology are probably inseparable. As one starts a journey and goes through the process, there are technological changes which are bound to happen, and those changes would probably dictate the outcome. There has to be some core correction, which the enterprises need to be cognizant about.

At Orange, we give right technical advice in terms of implementation of solutions and then stay with the enterprises in their journey of transformation to adapt to any changes.

From Orange Business Services perspective, where do you want to invest more?

This financial year, our focus would be on SDx, data centers and cloud as more and more opportunities around these technologies would be available to us with minimal disruption. We have many success stories on the areas on a Global scale. As far as 5G is concerned, we are still looking at implications of the licenses because there are testing going on still having no commercial role out.

How many tech partners do you have?

We are almost working with 50 plus established partnerships including some of the startups and we have acquired one of cyber security companies. So, partnership is not an issue. However, for us the strength is integration. We would be working with the customer in perfectly designing solutions and getting these partners and ensuring that the solution works, is what our strength and USP. We have got successful integration case studies for various customers including government, large enterprises, public sector organizations, etc.

This is a very rich experience as far telco like us is concern and there might not be many in India with similar experience.

Do you also offer cybersecurity as a service?

Yes, we do have capability of completely running the SOC and the entire life cycle of the SOC can be managed by us. We have done it for some of our global customers and some of the services we are running out of India as well as India is one of the large delivery centers for Orange.

How are you present in India from resources availability point of view?

We have close to 4000 full time employees spread across multiple cities, but the concentration is of course in Gurgaon and Mumbai. Probably 80% of them would be in these two cities. However, we have presence in close to around 100 odd cities in India.  We do not own DCs in India, we manage many DCs for the enterprises.

What do you stand against the competition?

Today customer views you for not just a product but what you offer is a package. That is where customer would differentiate and select. That much of maturity the customer has these days. It is no longer a brand or a product engagement. Today, there are telcos which we complete. The same telcos we do borrow connectivity services and sometimes vice versa. So, the industry term for that is ‘coaptation’. That has been accepted.

Today we have 100 plus network interfaces in the country. If I want to seamlessly provision on somebody’s network, it happens quickly. From the feasibility part, if something does not fall under our network, we can look at from others network and do the needful seamlessly without taking the traditional rout of lengthy procedure.

What is your real challenge?

The organizations’ strategy is to convert the acquired customers to consume deep services from us. For example, a customer we have is taking basic services which we want to convert into a managed services customer. So, matching the requirement of the customers with the service capability of Orange is a real challenge. Of course, acquiring new customers is a challenge too.

What is your goal for this year?

“From a product portfolio perspective and offering , we have lot more to offer to the India Market. Our intent is to explore more into the high-potential market for continuous growth. We are also closely watching 5G Evolution in India.

What is your advice to the customers?

See one to advise the customers is that some of the enterprise relationships definitely need to be a long term. Currently there are there are some challenges which all of us face. So that understanding all of us need to have and should help each other. Digital transformation is a journey which requires a decent amount of time as it must be properly mapped.  We would definitely partake in the journey of the enterprises.

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