|Issue:||Asia-Pacific II 2010|
|Topic:||Multi-carrier enterprise connectivity in emerging markets|
|Title:||President Asia Pacific|
Owen Best is the President Asia Pacific for Reliance Globalcom. Before Reliance Globalcom, Mr Best was Vice President of Telstra Japan and Regional Director for Telstra Korea. Mr Best has over 22 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry, and has worked extensively in the Asia Pacific region in various senior engineering and operational positions with Telecom Australia, Telecom Australia International, OTC, and Telstra. Owen Best earned a Bachelor of Engineering Degree (Electronics/Communications), a Master of Engineering Studies, and an MBA – all from the University of Queensland, Australia.
Emerging markets are increasingly important to the plans of many companies. Efficient communications are essential not only to integrate the enterprise’s local operation with the rest of the company, but also to integrate it into the local market. Global providers with experience of managing multi-vendor global networks work closely with local carriers to select the appropriate best-of-breed suppliers for each emerging market location and to integrate the solution under a single contract, with a consistent Service Level Agreement (SLA).
In the post global financial crisis economy, enterprises trying to expand their international businesses are increasingly dependent on the technological capabilities of their global data networks. The ability to reach into challenging locations within emerging international markets is driving the recovery of many global enterprises. The Middle East, Asia and South America are seen as lucrative commercial growth opportunities for businesses seeking to diversify their revenue streams and minimise individual market dependence. From a telecoms perspective, however, providing assured connectivity into these markets is often a daunting prospect for IT executives. Analysts expect that annual growth rates over the next five years for China, India and Brazil will range from 4-9 per cent compared to two per cent in established US, European and Japanese markets. In addition certain key vertical sectors, such as automotive, engineering and manufacturing, in these markets have often been overlooked as hubs for critical R&D activity; they have limited their opportunity for sales expansion by focusing on lower production costs, rather than upon the customization of their products and services for local markets. Deeper integration into these key growth markets and taking advantage of a wider variety of in-country manufacturing and sales locations can significantly increase sales in these growth markets. By learning from these markets and applying them quickly to expand into other emerging markets global companies can realize significant economies of scale for both local and international sales structures. Being able to answer these requirements and developing a core business competency to manage growth in these areas will become the vital differentiator to drive global business success in the coming years. To increase the agility of global organisations, and to prepare them to support cross-border business growth, calls for the creation of support processes and a global operating model that lets these organisations adapt rapidly and cost efficiently to changes in the business environment. Traditional Wide Area Network design and sourcing philosophies are not strong in this regard. A single, global, private network supplier is rarely sufficient to meet a company’s connectivity needs as it expands into less mature markets. The best service innovation often comes from from specialised local players that can quickly deliver solutions targeted specifically to local market conditions. Local providers can also create the most cost effective solutions and more efficiently match implementation and procurement to local conditions. The best solution, then, is to identify global providers with experience, a proven track record, managing multi-vendor global networks. The global provider selects the appropriate best-of-breed suppliers for each emerging market location and integrates the solution under a single contract, with a consistent Service Level Agreement (SLA). An experienced global supplier can flexibly resolve an organisation’s needs as they arise, change bandwidth requirements by site and move or add locations in accordance with business requirements. This globally managed multi-supplier approach for expansion in emerging markets provides an agile platform and delivers a competitive business advantage for borderless businesses. Delivering projects wherever needed It is essential to build and maintain a global business’ reputation for flexible project delivery to establish its credibility with customers and partners in new markets. Rapid deployment of solutions and ease of integration into existing networks is vital to achieving this, as are contracts flexible enough to deal with the inevitable changes in project requirements during the course of the project. This is especially important in emerging markets where adherence to strict project timeframes can be very challenging. Delivering projects to tight timeframes within emerging markets requires a provisioning approach that is both flexible and based on a proven understanding of the nuances of local networking markets. Working with a global provider that has established relationships local providers in the target market is essential. The ability to seamlessly merge the new connections into existing global networks is also crucial. The carrier’s ability to rapidly deploy back-up solutions when unforeseeable delays occur is critical to ensure acceptable project completion. Service assurance Responding to business requirements in an accurate, timely and consistent manner across multiple geographies can be a significant challenge, but standardised processes and systems can enable this. Ensuring network availability and reliability in emerging markets is even more critical as fledgling operations look to gain market share. When working with local carrier partners in emerging markets, globally consistent SLAs, delivered by local customer service staff, are vital to dependable business outcomes. A service provider that offers completely transparent fault management, which can be monitored via a centralized reporting portal, will significantly increase the efficiency of global IT and enable users to concentrate on key business deliverables rather than carrier management. Service assurance commitments must also be consistent regardless of the carrier, the technology used and the physical location of the site. Future-proofing network costs Fully understanding the costs of entry into emerging markets is essential to making practical business decisions. These markets are especially prone to rapid changes in costs and availability as new providers and technologies become available. Local providers often present the lowest cost option, but initiating and managing new relationships can involve a multitude of hidden costs. Low cost solutions must still perform to acceptable service assurance standards of course, but a careful selection of solutions based on price and performance criteria will deliver material benefits. When evaluating providers for emerging markets, it is important to take a consultative network design approach that lets one compare local providers, comparative prices, and performance and delivery criteria. When working with global carriers it is especially important to simplify the task of dealing with a complex carrier mix from your IT teams by implementing comprehensive analysis, systems and processes specially designed to manage multi-carrier networks. The most important consideration when future-proofing your network cost in emerging markets is the management of the rapid price and service availability fluctuations typically encountered in developing regions. Service providers that annually review their pricing, service and technology option, and adjust your solution to reflect this, can materially reduce costs over the lifetime of your engagement and ensure continued lowest cost of network ownership. Collaboration services International business needs to maximise the efficiency of its geographically dispersed global workforce resources; this is best achieved by enabling members of virtual project teams – wherever they may be – to share knowledge effectively. Powerful applications and services that allow widely dispersed teams to collaborate and provide simultaneous input into complex design, building, logistics and project activities are now available, but these require reliable high bandwidth connections. By providing users with high bandwidth services and optimising capacity through prioritisation of business critical traffic, both workforce efficiency and business revenues increase. The best results come from leveraging multiple local Ethernet providers and other high bandwidth options in emerging markets to obtain the most cost-effective services that match the specific business requirements for each regional office. By connecting these local providers to a VPLS/Ethernet global backbone, application aware networking with caching, compression and protocol optimisation ensure bandwidth is allocated appropriately to the most important traffic and that large files are easily transferred without degrading other services. Wider benefits Clearly, adopting a multi-carrier approach has a series of business benefits for the global enterprises, but just as important are the variety of additional, softer benefits that come along with it for the local markets themselves. By recognising the ability of local providers to better provide in-country services in emerging markets than the private global players, and integrating them into international solutions enterprises, is effectively breaking down barriers to international competition and giving local providers a high profile customer reference. In addition, the multi-carrier approach lets local carriers compete for the international business of locally based enterprises by giving them the ability to deliver the entire range of global carrier services. A multi-carrier network approach recognises and rewards service, delivery and commercial innovation, and levels the playing field considerably for local providers in emerging markets. There are also other benefits for the local economy. By utilising more locally employed and trained personnel, local carrier partners foster the growth and development of emerging market economies, improving the standards of training, education and technical ability, all of which further empowers local economies. Perhaps the clearest benefit of multi-carrier network management approaches is the environmental benefit. By using the existing infrastructure of multiple local carriers, the usage of existing bandwidth capacity is maximised and there is little likelihood that new cables deployments will be needed. Ultimately, using multi-carrier networks to expand into new markets – especially emerging markets – brings benefits to the enterprise and makes a positive contribution to local communities, their economies and the local environment.