Orange blossoms under new leadership
More than €4 billion of ICT budget was corralled in the room as France Telecom Group CEO Stéphane Richard took the stage. The location: Orange Business Live, an annual gathering of the company’s biggest multinational customers, held in Munich.
It’s been years since a chief executive of the France Telecom group has publicly addressed this client segment. But the underlying meaning was clear: Richard sees enterprises driving future profits for the €45 billion (US$63 billion) group, related to its Conquêtes 2015 strategic goals.
Connected verticals will drive growth
Revenue-generating models won’t just be sell-to: B2B2C deals will drive the digital ecosystem, Richard said. So will focusing on connected verticals - industries where telecom innovation can effect profound business transformation.
Smart cities, smart metering, m-health and m-money are among the bets Richard is placing – particularly in emerging markets. And he’s looking to Orange Business Services to manage the plays.
That activity is well underway: Vivek Badrinath, CEO of Orange Business Services, has already carved a distinct path for the enterprise group since taking the helm in April 2010.
The vertical emphasis was visible at Orange Business Live, with sessions on health, maritime, manufacturing and automotive, and enabling technologies like cloud computing, M2M and NFC (see the Poken NFC business card given to Orange Business Live attendees).
New tactics are needed
Badrinath doesn’t claim deep expertise in connected verticals; he’s seeking it. Specialist partners include SITA (aerospace), Sorin (health) and Véolia Water (water management). Other partnerships in transportation and maritime are also mooted.
That’s a logical approach. Because continued success in the enterprise segment requires new tactics:
• Generic enterprise services are only a foundation for growth: Unified communications and connectivity services like IPVPNs and Ethernet will drive liquidity (note: more than 70% of Orange’s 2Mbps+ connections are now Ethernet).
• Serving communities must be the mission: Technologies like cloud computing and M2M are powerful, but loyalty and margin growth lies in serving the needs of specific communities, as we noted in Dumb Pipe or Dumb Cloud: Same Danger.
• Partnering includes everyone: Partnering isn’t a ‘supply-side’ activity. Multi-sided business models must be de rigueur – and that’s where enterprises and telecom firms share risk – and mutual reward.