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FOCUS NETWORKS


Issue 5, Aug/Sep 2009


REGIONAL FOOTPRINT TO GLOBAL PRESENCE


Interview: Tanuja Randery, Colt’s new global head of corporate business, explains her business strategy


centers and prides itself on having an Ethernet network across Europe. As a major regional player, the firm is solidifying its position through a global account infrastructure delivered at a local level.


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Randery sees the market shifting. While in boom times companies preferred the notion of flexibility and choice, in more stringent environments, the idea is to consolidate for reduced costs and clearer accountability.


This shift to focusing on a single supplier or single network reflects the new impetus in the cutting of management overheads. Randery believes strategy based on this and offering a consistent service will push large enterprises towards dealing with a single supplier.


Operating in a fashion-conscious industry, Randery points to a return to “pan-European and global network deployment and management”.


“These changes – which come as a result of the current economic situation and factors such as organisations maturing – will see companies move from the best of breed deployment option, using some national networks, to looking for a strong pan-European footprint,” Randery says.


This is, in part, driven by the desire for cost savings; no longer having to deal with 20 different suppliers when you can deal with one provider who can handle all the network management and overheads.


It is a business case, first and foremost, she says.


“There is maturity to some extent, but also having done it the other way, there now exists the facts in terms of efficiencies and costs – a buinesss case with which you can compare. Companies understand the baseline of what they are experiencing, for example, ‘If we do this we might lose flexibility’.


“Having 20 providers meant they could play it as they wanted to. With smaller players,


22 www.datacenterdynamics.com Randery: We are winning agains MPLS


you can reach the CEO and talk directly to them. However, despite the fact we have such breadth and depth, we still want customers to know who they are talking to. We address this issue by having both a global and a local account service and delivery mechanism – if a customer wants to speak with a Spanish person in a local dialect, we will deliver that to them.”


Customers are looking for a more consistent service (under the existing model) and depending on the provider, have experienced either a good or poor service. This has shifted to “now, give me a service level agreement, irrespective of geography”, says Randery.


This global account structure has only been in place since the first quarter of this year, but Randery sees it as a key differentiator even though others have global account progammes.


“You can have a global account programme but the question is what will you do with it? We are carefully focused on large customers, but we are more willing to adjust processes such as product development processes. In essence, we are conducting a conversation at a strategic level while having the closeness and willingness to be flexible and entrepreneurial.”


NEXT-GENERATION NETWORKS There is a lot of talk about next-generation networks and Randery believes that Colt has an advantage over all of its European territories.


“With our next-generation Ethernet-based Multiple sevice platform (MSP) we have the advantage of years of service provisioning and the ability to roll out services on our network at speed. We are winning against MPLS networks and we are installing more EPN networks in legal, finance and other sectors,” she says.


There is a huge focus and investment in terms of platforms, and a far greater focus on managed services. Colt has made operational improvements to put in those systems.


MANAGED SERVICES That final shift, when a company moves to managed services without the fear of losing control – people are getting over that really quickly, says Randery. They are really pushing for managed services. Just two years ago it was a struggle to persuade people to consider it. Now they are asking for it, she says. And this demand for managed services is taking Colt into new business areas.


“We will not touch the applications, but we will provide the platform and combine the network services. You begin to understand the requirements – we call it enterprise grade fashion because we have the core assets to deliver virtualisation, grid, proximity solutions, network, finance, storage, and so on.”


However, there is one thing that is not changing. “Demands are always high – I have never had an easy service level agreement discussion,” she says. 


anuja Randery recently took over as global head of corporate business at Colt Telecom. The firm, part of Fidelity, owns and operates 18 data


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