The 'Big 5' network topics

NME takes a look at the main topics that have dominated headlines this year and that we think will be causing waves for enterprises and vendors in the months to come.

Tags: Fujitsu Technology Solutions - UAEJuniper Networks IncorporatedNComputingSymantec Corporation
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The 'Big 5' network topics
By  Imthishan Giado Published  November 23, 2010

Mobile workforce

What do you think?

Ahmad Al Mulla: Interesting, but the definition is important. There should be a mobile workforce only where it is required for the business, not to save money. I don’t think that will take shape. Nowadays, a lot of people worry about knowledge and so on.

Jan Stoetzl: It’s been a pretty strong market. We’re been reselling things like tablet PCs – which to an extent are now called iPads – since many years and we’ve seen very good use cases for it. It’s a growing market.

Samer Shaar: As a company, we are highly dispersed in our coverage from Africa to the Middle East. Without mobile computing, we cannot deliver in an efficient or effective way. It’s not a trend, it’s a way of life.

Is it hype?

Al Mulla: It’s not hyped enough, I don’t hear a lot about it!

Stoetzl: The iPad is being perceived as a disruptive technology in this market but I would only see it from a content perspective as disruptive. You may read newspapers on it but for all business use cases, the technology has been there for years and we are doing business with it.

Big next year

GV  Rao: Why not, if the model is yielding sufficient benefits?

Stoetzl: Tablets or any devices with a touchscreen will be a growing market.

Vendor consolidation

What do you think?

Johnny Karam: Take a datacentre with all the software and hardware that they might have from security to data management to storage management. You could have a strategy of best of breed, but you’ll end up having 200 software applications, which will add complexity to your environment which will lead to higher operational costs and less flexibility.

It’s a cycle we’re going through, the market has always been like this. I would call it a self-refining process that is happening today. What’s happening is like evolution – eventually the customers will benefit from that market consolidation.

Nick Barley: There’s a lot of companies out there with a lot of money right now looking to fill out their product portfolios. We’ve always had consolidation in the industry. It cycles – I used to work with Oracle many years ago and I remember doing a press tour with Larry Ellison who told press that he writes software, not cheques.

I thought that was a brilliant quote – and then two years later he went and bought almost every IT company on the planet with cheques. These things go in peaks and troughs all the time.

Samer Shaar: It’s not only the acquisition that drives the growth of any company. We believe big time in partnership and that’s really expanding our ecosystem. I’ve been through many such consolidations, seven or eight in my life, and I vote for the opposite direction on that. Big is good, but small and creative is the better choice to my end-users.

Ahmad Al Mulla: In IT, it’s different; mergers and acquisitions don’t exist – it’s only acquisitions. The reason for this is that newcomers emerge in the niche fields such as cloud computing or value added applications. Consolidation is a good thing and a negative thing at the same time. For me as an enterprise user, I don’t have to go to many suppliers and have contracts with fewer ones, giving me one point of contact.
The disadvantage is that you don’t have a lot of room for negotiation with the prices. I think it’s more positive than negative because of the integration of solutions. We use SAP – if they acquire something like Business Objects it’s good for us because you have tighter integration.

Is it hype?

Jan Stoetzl: It’s the details. These companies being acquired are a maximum of three digit million business, most are in a two digit million business. They are being bought by companies which are in a two-digit billion business, so it’s not like two giants joining forces. It’s a big one buying a small one. That doesn’t threaten the market.

Big next year

Johnny Karam: Not much as this year, I would think, but we will definitely keep on seeing on some of the consolidation happening.

Jan Stoetzl: People want a single source of buying and they don’t want to deal with a 3Par and a Dell or an HP. Hopefully they want Fujitsu but it’s a common habit that you consolidate across the business like this.

Paul Gullett: If you look at big companies over the years, the best technology is never invented inside the large organisations. It’s invented by clever people who work elsewhere and that’s always been the strategy going forward for large organisations.

Social media

What do you think?

Johnny Karam: If you take Twitter, we are tweeting as Symantec. It is marketing, getting your messages out there and keeping the customers and media of what is happening today. As Symantec, we have some internal ones that we’re using and we encourage employees to use them. Adoption depends on the individuals and how much they want to jump on it.

Ahmad Al Mulla:  My favourite topic! It has a lot of promises but it also has a lot of uncertainties. Let’s look at LinkedIn. It’s good for forming groups, it’s good for recruiters, it’s good for enterprises but it can also be misused in a lot of ways. You can create a virtual person, so there is a risk that people have to take. But I think that the use of it will increase. In this region, it’ll be a little bit slower. Places like the US are definitely more into Twitter and Facebook.

But there is no structured approach for using it in enterprises. That’s what’s going to evolve. Over the next two years, people will talk more about how to utilise corporate social media.

GV Rao:  I personally don’t see a major benefit to the corporates; rather, I see a disadvantage to the corporate sector.  Even if you try to restrict on time to use the social networking, it is very difficult to get the justification that an employee is using exclusively for official purpose.  I do not agree in giving these sites to most of the corporate except those who are directly related to the marketing or promotional related.

Stoetzl: We are using social media to a large extent. We have a number of sites online with Facebook and Twitter. Internally, people can use it as a communication platform but it also strongly targets the analyst community and our customers. We see the benefits.

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