Connected IT

Jean-Luc Lasnier, GM Orange Business Services Middle East & Africa discusses the enterprise communications solutions landscape in the region.

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Connected IT Jean-Luc Lasnier, from Orange Business Services MEA says that there is a move towards connected IT in the region.
By  Jean-Luc Lasnier Published  February 3, 2013

Jean-Luc Lasnier, GM Orange Business Services Middle East & Africa discusses the enterprise communications solutions landscape in the region.

What are the upcoming trends in enterprise communication solutions?

There is a move towards ‘connected IT’ which is where we see IT and communications converge and where Orange Business Services benefits by virtue of our role as operator and integrator. As with any high growth and developing market, the Middle East has a healthy appetite for the latest technology in terms of IT and networks. The shift from ICT Capex to Opex, the emergence and adoption of cloud, make the regional market especially interesting to Orange.

The market is deregulating and evolving quickly and deregulation brings new opportunities for customers in this region. Network and managed services for MNCs has traditionally been the core of our business in the Middle East and this continues to be the case. Devices are also increasingly playing a key role, and boundaries between the world of the Network and the world of IT are blurring. A key element of Connected IT is the ability to provide added-value integration around advanced workspace technologies: unified communications, collaboration and messaging, audio, web and video conferencing.

As the workspace continues to expand to include social networks, solutions need to be enriched and made available in the Cloud, as a Service.

With the introduction of new devices, new mobility services will not only provide global connectivity for mobile phones but also integrate fast-deploying smartphones and tablets, supported by enterprise-class security services including cloud security, identity federation, compliance, and mobile security in support of new BYOD policies.

What are the challenges in the region when it comes to cloud computing, unified communications, and videoconferencing solutions?
Market deregulation is still a weak feature of the market and governments are likely to move to take further action in liberalising the telecom market in the Middle East leading to the possibility of new services that we already see in Europe and North America, such as VoIP, and allowing companies to progress quickly to more sophisticated and complex ICT solutions, beyond connectivity to network based solutions, such as Unified Communications. There has been a slow shift to OPEX based services but it is coming and with strong demand for managed voice and video services.

When it comes to Cloud, we frequently see three main barriers cited in the adoption of Cloud computing in the region. First is the concern about security, based on the fact that an organisation’s data resides outside the company, but major Cloud service providers often offer higher levels of security than the customer organisation, backed by a contractual commitment to secure the data.

Secondly, decision makers are not always fully aware of the technical and other impacts of the Cloud. In the Middle East especially, a final potential barrier is the regulatory implications of the Cloud – which can be extremely complex.

What is unique about the Middle East market for Orange?
The MEA region is very diverse, socially, economically and technologically; this makes it an exciting and challenging region in which to do business.

There is currently an estimated $4+ trillion of ongoing construction projects in the MENA region and governments are driving investment in new infrastructure with a focus on healthcare, education and transportation, where Orange is well placed to support. Smart cities really are a distinctive feature of the GCC especially with a focus in Saudi Arabia, and where Orange Business Services has been active for several years.

We are bringing our global experience in smart cities – transportation, utilities, buildings and campuses, to the region and applying this in some very exciting new smart city developments in the region.

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