Displaying items by tag: digital transformation
Philippine telecom and digital services provider PLDT and its mobile unit Smart Communications announced a US$28.5 million partnership with global information and communications technology leader Huawei to transform the group's wireless service delivery platforms.
This project is part of PLDT Group's massive capital expenditure program for the continuing overhaul of its fixed and wireless networks infrastructure and their information technology system which is expected to exceed P50 billion in 2018.
"This partnership will enable PLDT Group's wireless services under the brands PLDT, Smart, Sun and TNT to become much more agile, efficient and resilient in developing and delivering a growing array of digital services,” said PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“Under the 15-month agreement, Huawei will improve Smart’s online charging platforms and electronic loading for prepaid subscribers,” added Ray C. Espinosa, PLDT Group Chief Corporate Services Officer. “This involves consolidating similar applications for different brands under one system and streamlining business processes through a unified platform and simplified processes,” he said.
As a result, PLDT, Smart, Sun and TNT will be able to offer more personalized offers and rewards for their customers. PLDT’s wireless services will also be able to offer bundled services more quickly and efficiently. All these will significantly improve customer experience, PLDT claims.
“Through this partnership, our customers will have quick and ready access to the services that they value and enjoy,” said PLDT Group Chief Business Transformation Officer Victorico P. Vargas. "This is part of our broader effort to overhaul our IT systems so that we can leapfrog our ability to deliver best-in-class wireless services.
“By leveraging deep understanding of PLDT and our worldwide experience, Huawei proposed our industry leading OCS and eLoad Solutions to accelerate PLDT’s evolution in the digital market through this transformation program,” said Mr. Wilson Zang, President of Huawei Revenue Management product line. “Huawei is confident we can successfully deliver this critical program in a timely way together with PLDT.”
Huawei Revenue Management Software Solutions, including OCS and eLoad, enable the services of more than 1.7 billion subscribers at over 190 CSPs, across 107 countries. Huawei is enabling the digital transformation of Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and on the evolution of revenue management towards the monetization platforms of the future.
Ericsson is undertaking a massive transformation project to modernize and manage the network of TELE-POST, the main telecommunications provider in Greenland. The deployment of Ericsson Radio System will increase the speed and capacity of mobile broadband services for subscribers and enterprises, while at the same time expand coverage for better services in remote villages. Furthermore, Ericsson Radio System will be used for Fixed Wireless Access in a number of settlements.
“Our strategic goal is to improve customer experience significantly over the coming three years,” said Stine Bosse, Chairman of the Board, TELE-POST. “We will improve living conditions and create new opportunities for the Greenlandic people. To enable this, a number of transformation programs are to be conducted within our company. Our new partnership with Ericsson is one of the most important components to achieve our strategic goals.”
The full-stack Ericsson NFVi solution will also be implemented as part of the project enabling services such as Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and local switching. The NFVi includes the network function virtualization infrastructure based on Ericsson BSP 8100, Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment and a range of virtualized network functions such as the Ericsson virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) and Virtualized IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS).
“This project is evidence of our global reach, technological skills and capabilities,” said Per Narvinger, Head of Northern and Central Europe, Ericsson. “We will improve connectivity across this massive island, home to the second largest body of ice in the world. Together with TELE-POST, we will deliver innovative mobile technology to some of the most remote residents in the world, and open up a world of possibilities for local enterprises.”
Kristian Davidsen, Chief Executive Officer, TELE-POST, said the company is “committed to providing Greenland’s residents and businesses with the best possible mobile connectivity.”
With Greenland's extreme weather conditions, where many places are isolated geographically and only can be reached via boat or helicopter, the operator needs a robust and high-quality network with market-leading solutions that will take us into the future.
“We feel that Ericsson is the best suited partner to address the unique challenges in Greenland, while securing a successful network transformation,” said Davidsen.
Huawei exec touts cloud services as growth area
Chinese telecom equipment provider and smartphone maker Huawei aims to take on Amazon and Alibaba as a global provider of public cloud services, the company said in April. Edward Zhou, Huawei’s VP of Global Public Affairs, reiterated this to Active Telecom recently, saying Huawei can provide more trustworthy cloud services based on its legacy telecom experience.
Huawei used to provide cloud infrastructure for its customers but now also provides cloud services. In April this year, the company said it would expand cloud computing with a dedicated division, with the purpose of strengthening its public cloud offering, which involves shared data infrastructure, as opposed to dedicated infrastructure built for single customers.
“We believe we can provide more trustworthy cloud services based on our telecom background,” Mr. Zhou told Active Telecom. “Telecom services are very different from traditional IT services, and we draw upon this experience to build better, more reliable cloud services.”
Tailor-made cloud services are fundamental to Huawei’s offerings, Zhou said. “We make customizations based on our global version,” he said. Providing more security in its cloud services is also very important for Huawei’s customers today, Zhou added, because cloud is still a relatively new technology and Huawei needs to ensure that its customers are protected.
“Cybersecurity is a very hot topic for all countries and companies,” Mr. Zhou said. “Inside Huawei we have a very strong team dedicated to cybersecurity for our solutions and products – security is imbedded in these offerings. We believe high quality includes high security.”
Consultancy firm Gartner predicts the market for public cloud services to reach $383 billion by 2020 from $247 billion this year. Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent from 2017 estimated spending of $3.5 trillion. By expanding into cloud computing, Huawei hopes to diversify away from its hardware focus and develop software-based revenue.
The company’s strategic focus will be on its telecom partners’ cloud transformation, Eric Xu, deputy chairman of Huawei’s board and one of three rotating chief executive officers, recently told Reuters. Xu reflected Zhou’s view that Huawei’s global network of telecom clients gives the firm a distinct advantage.
“Huawei as a brand is strong because it is not only about consumer smartphones. We have three different business groups: carrier, enterprise and consumer,” Mr. Zhou said, discussing the company’s future aspirations. “I think our strategy to build the brand revolves around quality – it is Huawei’s highest priority. We aim to deliver higher quality than other players in this market.”
Huawei has established its services in more than 170 countries around the world, aiming to become a “global iconic tech brand”. The company does face challenges, however, said Mr. Zhou. For example, Huawei often faces data protection rules and other regulatory barriers in some countries that it operates in. The company’s strategy is to follow the local rules and cater to local needs.
“We try to provide governments with expertise and knowledge about technology to support government initiatives,” Mr. Zhou said. “Many countries are talking about digital transformation and we have the technology and expertise to offer them support. We are very happy to contribute some of our value to governments pushing for change.”
Huawei’s broader vision, Zhou said, is to facilitate the Internet of Things (IoT) era, where everything will be connected by sensors. He said Huawei is a top investor in R&D (research and development) and focuses on bringing together the world's best intellectual resources to strengthen its innovation capability.
“Thanks to the emergence of new technologies including 5G and NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT), it will be easy to connect everything and create more value,” said Zhou. He added that the company also aims to support the development of cloud computing technologies – adding intelligence to cloud services.
“Everything will be connected and intelligent,” said Zhou. “That’s our larger vision.”
Huawei and American IT company Riverbed announced an important partnership that will bring together the power of Huawei’s CloudEPN (Cloud Enterprise Private Network) and market-leading Riverbed SteelHead, which accelerates the delivery of applications, to make it easier for enterprises to manage their networks and optimize performance in the cloud.
Huawei recently introduced its CloudEPN solution, which includes SD-WAN and cloud-based VPN solutions, and is designed to simplify network management for the enterprise, enabling businesses to innovate more quickly and achieve greater agility.
The solution provides on-demand interconnection between branches, branches and data centers, and branches and the cloud, delivering application-level network-wide intelligent path selection, smart acceleration, open universal computing gateways and cloud-based visualized operations and maintenance.
Huawei's AR1600 series and AR650 series open universal computing gateways, support the on-demand deployment of Huawei and third-party VASs (Value-added Service, such as vFW, vWoC), and enable flexible orchestration and automated delivery through Huawei’s Agile Controller so that they can be provisioned in minutes. This solves the issues of slow and inflexible service provisioning in traditional solutions.
Riverbed SteelHead, the industry's leading solution for accelerated delivery of applications across the hybrid WAN, speeds the performance of cloud applications by overcoming the combined challenges of bandwidth limitations and latency on the WAN. This improves the experience for end-users – regardless of their location within the network and the devices used to access the network – boosting enterprise productivity.
“Huawei has maintained a strong relationship with Riverbed for years,” said Li Xianyin, General Manager of Huawei Enterprise Gateway Domain. “We are delighted to be working together to innovate in the fast-evolving networking and cloud application technology space. Together, we can offer what the customers are looking for – simplified network management and accelerated delivery of applications.”
“By combining our industry-leading SteelHead technology with Huawei's leading-edge CloudEPN solutions, we’ll be able to bring new services to market more quickly and address some of the most critical needs our customers are facing as they move to the cloud and embark on digital transformation,” said Paul O’Farrell, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Riverbed SteelConnect, SteelHead and SteelFusion Business Unit.
“We’re excited to be collaborating with Huawei in an area Riverbed is particularly passionate about – the future of networking – and we’re looking forward to exploring new opportunities for development in the future.”
The joint Huawei-Riverbed solution will deliver a superior WAN experience for enterprises as they continue to move applications and infrastructure into the cloud, giving them greater agility, flexibility and the ability to innovate more quickly.
MegaFon, one of Russia’s leading telecom providers, posted positive results for Q2 2017, with revenue up 13.9 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) to reach RUB 89,689 million. OIBDA increased by 15.8 percent y-o-y to reach RUB 34,236 million. The company has denied recent press speculation regarding the possible resignation of its CEO Sergey Soldatenkov.
In an effort to reassure its shareholders, MegaFon said recent reports and media speculation published in Russian business daily Vedomosti on the possible resignation of the company’s CEO are inaccurate. Sergey Soldatenkov has the “full support” of the board of directors, the company said in a press release, who have been “encouraged by a number of improvements in performance.”
“Shareholders are satisfied with the company’s development and support the management and specifically Mr. Sergey Soldatenkov,” said Mr. Streshinsky, Chairman of the Board of Directors at MegaFon. “Competent implementation by the company’s management of the new strategy made it possible to turn around negative sector trends in 2Q 2017, and the situation in the company’s business and on the market has shown the first signs of improvement.”
According to the press release, the Board of Directors is looking forward to Mr. Soldatenkov “leading the company forward in implementation of its 2020 development strategy.” In May, MegaFon announced a new strategy for its development over the next three years, to transform from a traditional telecom operator into an integrated digital services provider.
In terms of financials, Mr. Soldatenkov said the company has “reached a turning point where we see signs of recovery in our overall mobile revenue which has been declining during the previous quarters.” Mobile data and VAS services were the strongest revenue drivers, he said, as customers “continue to recognize the high quality of our 4G/LTE network.” MegaFon is also focused on increasing efficiency and improving margins, he added.
In August, MegaFon became one of the first operators in Europe to launch a commercial Gigabit LTE network in partnership with Nokia. The peak data download speed reached 979 Mbps using Nokia Air Scale. The test was conducted using Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium smartphone, using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which was the first commercial mobile device in Europe which supports Gigabit LTE.
Nokia Flexi Multiradio modules were used as the base station, which are equipped in most of the sites of the Moscow MegaFon branches, and the Nokia AirScale system module is already in place in order to support the path to 5G.
The demonstration, according to Nokia’s vice president, Eastern Europe, Demetrio Russo, was “another important step towards the launch of MegaFon’s 5G network.”
Russo noted that Nokia was “excited by the cooperation involved in this project, the successful implementation of which will make it possible for MegaFon to offer its subscribers a unique experience of using modern broadband services during the transition to 5G.”
In June, during the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, together with Huawei, MegaFon demonstrated the operation of a 5G network at 35Gbps, achieving what was then the absolute record in Russia for mobile internet speed.
Spark, New Zealand’s leading telecom operator, reported an overall net earnings increase of 13 percent to $418 million, Spark Chairman Mark Verbiest announced on August 18. The results for the year ended 30 June 2017 were in line with expectations and mark further progress in Spark’s long-term digital transformation.
“It’s been another year of relentless focus on delivering for our customers in very competitive retail markets and on positioning Spark well for the digital future,” said Verbiest.
Spark’s revenue growth for FY17 was solid at 3.3 percent taking revenue to $3.614 billion, on the back of continued strong performances in IT services, up 19 percent, and mobile, up 5.6 percent. This performance, together with a continued focus on cost, helped to drive overall EBITDA growth of 3 percent, to $1.016 billion.
Despite the increased EBITDA, costs were up in 2017 compared to 2016, said Verbiest, reflecting higher short-term costs needed to successfully address customer service challenges experienced last year and to manage the workload arising from strong growth in Telecommunications-as-a-Service and IT service contract wins. In addition, there were costs related to the large-scale migration of customers off copper to wireless or fiber, and from Yahoo to SMX email.
“While we’re proud of what we have achieved so far, and we’ve continued to execute our long-term strategy well and deliver good financial results, there are signs that fresh impetus is needed for the next phase of our transformation,” said Verbiest.
Spark Managing Director Simon Moutter said, “Operationally, we have made some big moves. The successful launch of our ‘Upgrade New Zealand’ program saw wireless broadband connections grow to 84,000 (up 72,000), and fiber connections grow to 172,000 (up 73,000) –meaning around 37% of Spark’s broadband base is now off copper.”
Moutter added, “We also successfully migrated 800,000 customer email accounts safely to New Zealand-based provider SMX, and entered new partnerships with Netflix and Spark Arena to complement our Lightbox and Spotify value add-ons.”
The company has seen a strong take-up of Telecommunications-as-a-service offerings to Government with 100+ customers connected to solutions that contribute towards delivering more customer-centric public services, Moutter said. The company also made material improvements in key customer service metrics including call wait times.
“But we still have a long way to go,” Moutter claims. “In an exponentially evolving digital world, where change is the new normal, the complexity of fast-changing technology has customers grappling with the pace of change.
“Meanwhile, customer preference is shifting rapidly to wireless, enabled by high-speed mobile coverage. In mobile and broadband particularly, commoditization pressures mean more and more New Zealanders are buying their mobile or broadband services based primarily on price.
“Increasingly, the companies most likely to win are those that cut through complexity to deliver a highly automated and slick digital self-service customer experience, and who have a simpler proposition to sell, maintain and support than their competitors.”
Over the next few years, Spark plans to put more resources into digitizing and simplifying its products and services to materially lower its cost of operating and put more power into the hands of customers. Spark’s other focus will be to better leveraging its brands, meeting the needs of all parts of the market.
Spark’s third new area of focus will be to meet the growing customer appetite for wireless technologies. Moutter said the company will increase its emphasis on investment in this area to deliver improved mobile and wireless broadband services. “By 2020 we aim to have 85 percent of our broadband customers migrated away from copper onto fiber or wireless technologies,” he said.
Mr. Verbiest said the future looked bright for Spark. “Spark is in a great position to navigate the new digital era. We have a strong balance sheet. We have invested well in fiber and wireless data network leadership,” he said. “Our aim is to accelerate change at Spark, and work hardest where we can make the biggest difference for our customers.”
Ericsson has become a member of a consortium led by operator Zain Kuwait. The consortium will carry out a large digital transformation project for local utilities. The project will be completed by 2024 and as the sole technology partner, Ericsson will deploy a new smart metering solution.
The Enterprise and Cloud Billing solution implemented by the consortium will make it easier for the Ministry of Electricity and Water to collect revenue and distribute energy consumption over time. It will also improve the accuracy of invoices and give customers access to real-time information about usage. Around 800,000 new smart meters for electricity and water will be connected over Zain’s upgraded infrastructure.
Furthermore, the cross-industry Ericsson Multiservice Delivery Platform will help digitalize channels for consumer interaction, offering personalized and user-friendly services for all types of devices through self-service portals. Additional Ericsson solutions will provide important features for areas such as customer care, post- and prepaid services, performance management, event planning, and analysis of network data.
“We have worked closely together with Zain Kuwait from the start of this digital transformation initiative, and we have made a long-term commitment to enable new revenue streams,” said Wojciech Bajda, Head of Customer Unit Zain, Ericsson. “We really look forward to being part of this project and to help develop the smart city infrastructure.”
Ericsson will also provide a range of Managed Services for improved network operations and security, and for Internet of Things applications.
Saudi Arabia’s STC shared its Q2 2017 financial results showing a 7.9 percent net income increase compared to the same period last year to reach SR 2.4 billion (US$640 million). STC Group CEO Dr. Khaled H. Biyari said the results reflect the company’s move to embrace digital transformation and Saudi Vision 2030.
“The financial results achieved for the 1st half of 2017 reflects the efforts being made to constantly evolve, improve and develop the company’s strategy and operations and achieve the best returns for the shareholders,” said Dr. Biyari in a statement. “Despite the various difficulties facing the sector, STC sponsored programs contributed to improve operational efficiency leading to improved income and margins.”
For the first half of 2017, STC’s net income reached SR 4.9 billion, an increase of 6.6% compared to same period last year. Earnings per share for the first half of 2017 grew to reach SR 2.45 compared to SR 2.30 for the comparable period last year.
Dr. Biyari said, “The whole region is moving towards digital transformation through elements of the fourth industrial revolution, here comes the importance of governments in the region to provide the right environment and stimulate investment in digital infrastructure.”
STC embraced Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative, he said, and the national transformation program 2020 through multiple initiatives, which include deployment of broadband throughout the Kingdom. Saudi Vision 2030 is a national plan to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.
STC recently signed with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to provide high speed broadband with fiber-optic technology to more than 2 million homes projected to cost up to SR 7.3 billion.
The company will also “continue to invest in promising technologies and digital sectors, particularly in areas that enable the company to benefit from their assets and infrastructure and help enable growth and expansion of investments in different areas,” said Dr. Biyari. The latest company announcement was establishing a $500 million venture capital fund (STV) to strengthen this trend.
In accordance with the approved dividend policy for three years starting from the 4th quarter 2015 which was announced on 11 November 2015, and having been ratified during the General Assembly Meeting on April 4th 2016, STC will distribute a total of SR 2,000 million in cash dividend for Q2 2017, representing SR 1 per share.
SAP is partnering with oil giant Saudi Aramco in creating a new solutions platform to enable Saudi Aramco to launch a digital business marketplace with thousands of Saudi Aramco buyers and suppliers in partnership with SAP Ariba.
Saudi Aramco says the move forms part of its digital transformation strategy and will help it and its global subsidiaries to manage and simplify real-time collaboration between their buyers and suppliers.
The deal will make it Saudi Arabia’s first company that will run solutions on the SAP Cloud Hub, which will launch shortly as part of SAP’s four-year SAR 285 million investment plan in the Kingdom. As a result, the firm will be able to run cloud-based business applications to optimize business processes and costs, and enhance customer and supplier relationships.
Using SAP Ariba, Saudi Aramco can capitalize on several solution functionalities, including e-Bidding, e-Sourcing, Contracts Life-Cycle Management and Supplier Onboarding, to create a collaborative supply chain environment that will enhance supply chain efficiency and open wider business opportunities for the local and regional supplier-base.
SAP Ariba combines industry-leading cloud-based applications with the world’s largest Internet-based trading community to help companies discover and collaborate with a global network of partners. Companies around the world use the software to simplify inter-enterprise commerce and enhance the results that they deliver.
“Saudi Aramco is showing global leadership in digital business innovation in the oil and gas sector. Through the SAP Cloud Hub, SAP continues to co-innovate with the Kingdom’s leading players to drive Saudi Vision 2030 digital transformation and support Saudi job creation through our academies,” said Ahmed Al-Faifi, Managing Director of SAP Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen.
“Using the Ariba business platform, Saudi Aramco buyers and suppliers can gain new levels of business competitiveness, and simpler, smarter sourcing. SAP fully supports Saudi Aramco’s digital transformation agenda for long-term and sustainable business and economic growth” said Mohammad AlZaubi, Global Director for Saudi Aramco, SAP.
Through the SAP Ariba source-to-pay applications, buyers and suppliers worldwide have benefitted from 60 percent lower costs, at least 50 percent greater efficiency, at least 5 percent more sales, and about 15 percent improved customer retention.
While 84 percent of global companies say that digital transformation is critical to their survival in the next five years, only three percent have completed company-wide transformation efforts, shows a new study from SAP. The study, supported by Oxford Economics, was released at SAP Leonardo Live, held July 11–12 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Significantly, the results could spell possible peril for companies lagging in digital transformation: those that have embraced mass digital changes reported significantly higher levels of market share (85 percent vs. 41 percent) and profitability (80 percent vs. 53 percent).
Companies named as the leaders in the survey expect to see roughly 23 percent more revenue growth over the next two years than the rest of the organizations surveyed. The study also found that digital transformation was cited as a top-three driver of future revenue, across all industries and among companies of all sizes.
“SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart” is the most comprehensive of its kind. Based on survey results from more than 3,000 senior executives across 17 countries and regions, it identifies the challenges, opportunities, value and key technologies driving digital transformation. The results also identify the Top 100 companies — called Digital Leaders — who are best at connecting people, things and businesses.
Digital Leaders hold four key traits, according to the study. They see digital transformation as truly transformational: 96 percent of Leaders say digital transformation is a core business goal, compared to 61 percent of all others. The transformation extends through their company, to how they interact with customers, suppliers and partners.
Digital Leaders also focus on customer-facing functions first: 70 percent of Leaders say digital transformation is already delivering increased customer satisfaction vs. 22 percent of all others. The customer experience is the gateway to a successful digital transformation. They also prioritize talent: 71 percent of Leaders say that digital transformation efforts make it easier to attract and retain talent vs. 54 percent of all others. They also spend more on retraining the existing workforce than their peers.
Finally, Digital Leaders invest in next-generation technologies: 50 percent of Leaders are already working with artificial intelligence and machine learning, compared to 7 percent of all others. They are also investing more heavily in Big Data and analytics (94 percent vs. 60 percent) and the Internet of Things (76 percent vs. 52 percent). Using a bimodal IT architecture lets them run legacy systems efficiently while rapidly integrating new technologies.
“Digital transformation is no longer a choice, it’s an essential driver of revenue, profit and growth,” said Vivek Bapat, senior vice president, global head of Marketing Strategy and Thought Leadership, SAP SE. “Executives need to move from simply understanding the high stakes to activating complete end-to-end execution across their business. This requires innovative breakthrough technologies, investing in digital skills, and retraining the existing workforce. The next two years will be a key inflection point, which will separate the digital winners from those left behind.”