Orange pursue transformation

Orange Business Services positive about the year ahead.

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By  Sean Robson Published  May 10, 2009

Orange Business Services positive about the year ahead.

As many enterprises and businesses proceed with more than a little pessimism into 2009 Orange Business Services (OBS) is extremely confident that the year will present them with a world of new opportunities.

"Quite simply put, even in a period of crisis people communicate and so it's not unusual to see a telecoms company do well in a period of downturn. Our activities have not been too challenged by the global crisis and if I look at this region in specific, we grew by double digits last year and acquired a record number of new customers in 2008," said Lionel Reina, vice president Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Orange Business Services.

Orange created an emerging market division two years ago and the idea behind it was to bring an increasing focus to this region and others. It is one of the company’s growth engines.

Reina believes it important to differentiate between that which is happening worldwide and which is taking place regionally. "I consider the region to be in the transformation stage and I would not even call what is happening here a crisis, we are not in crisis mode. If a country and region has a positive GDP growth, then you cannot call it a crisis. However I do think the region is going through a period of adjustment," explained an upbeat Reina.

As many companies consider freezing investment or even cutting back on spending and staff OBS will continue to grow and invest in the Middle East. "We will grow organically in 2009 and our business forecast remains double digit growth. The particularity of what we are doing here is that we recruit for execution as opposed to sales. The pipeline and existing customers we have allow us to grow organically in double digits and we will make sure that we have the specialists on the ground to deliver the projects," said Reina.

Reina's organisation is focused on three major segments; firstly the enterprise segment for network services and international connectivity, secondly it is working with operators to help them to transform their businesses and finally it remains involved in the real estate sector.

While OBS retains its focus on these three key sectors, Reina has already identified some new areas of growth that the company will be pursuing, notably in the managed services arena. Reina sees a wave of IP transformation taking place across the Middle East and with it he believes comes a base for the provision of managed services.

"At the base of IP transformation is managed services. In times of crisis people do not want to spend CAPEX and our own model of managed services is OPEX based. Therefore the strategy we have to provide managed services to corporations will continue to be successful and increasingly successful. It's because you increase simplicity, my job is to reduce complexity, and managed services is the way to it," Reina explained.

OBS has not yet seen a major dramatic reaction from its partners to the global malaise and instead the service provider believes that enterprises are setting about transforming the infrastructure in order to optimise results.

Reina and his staff are working hard at acquiring new customers while at the same time developing the business with existing customers. "Each year we acquire a number of new customers so we are qualifying the companies we want to deal with on a long term basis. The fact that we have been here for quite a long time has allowed us to secure and retain very loyal long term customers who keep coming back to us for new services," said Reina.

Reina has seen an increase of late in the amount of companies asking about value added services but insists the base offerings of network managed services remains OBS' major priority.

Of late the region has seen a number of major international players eager to make inroads into what is regarded as one of the few remaining lucrative markets. OBS though believes its long and succesful association with the region will continue to stand it in good stead in the future.

"Orange created an emerging market division two years ago and the idea behind it was to bring an increasing focus to this region and others. Therefore emerging markets is one of the four key divisions in the company and will continue to remain so. What we have seen since creation is that it is one of the company's growth engines and we believe it will remain so," Reina concluded.

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