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Cloud allows telcos to address ‘unloved’ SMEs

Tech giant warns of obstacles to overcome before telcos can tap into cloud revenues.

As telcos continue to ramp up their cloud activities, HP this week said that hosted services represent a prime opportunity for them to readdress what the tech giant considers to be the “underserved” small and medium-sized business segment.

“All telcos are struggling with shaping their SMB offerings,” said Erwan Menard, vice president and general manager of communications and media solutions at HP. “SMBs tend to fall between the cracks in the marketing.”

Speaking to Total Telecom on the sidelines of this week’s Mobile World Congress, Menard emphasised that telcos can tap into new sources of revenue by operating as a “one stop shop” for SMBs – offering a raft of bundled services beyond voice and data, covered by an SLA, but priced low enough so they are affordable to smaller companies.

“The Web-based [cloud services] guys can’t bundle things with communications,” he said. “The SLA with Amazon stops at the door of the data centre – telcos can offer services end-to-end.”

However, Menard also warned that there are still some significant obstacles for operators to overcome before they can be competitive in cloud services.

“Some players have to consider whether they have the right skill set, because cloud services are a hybrid IT/telco model,” he explained.

“Then they need to ask themselves whether they have the sales force to go out and sell it,” he continued. “Then there’s solving the integration of cloud services into their own back end.”

Menard said when it comes to gearing up for cloud services, some telcos are further ahead than others, and that this is likely to drive partnerships within the cloud ecosystem.

Finally, Menard insisted that there is still confusion over what exactly cloud services mean to companies.

“Cloud still needs to be communicated more clearly,” he said. “They need to be explicit – it’s a cost reduction opportunity, and a new revenue opportunity.”

Originally posted at: http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?ID=462680&mail=455&C=0

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