When examining the vast array of Cloud providers in the industry, it’s the network that continues to permeate conversations and is often touted a key differentiator — a win, in fact — for the telcos.
This article is part three of a three part series on telcos as Cloud providers. Read Cloud on call: Should you go with a telco for Cloud? (Part 1) and Cloud on call: Should you go with a telco for Cloud? (Part 1).
Ovum senior analyst, Claudio Castelli, points to the network as the key element placing telcos in a prime position to offer Cloud services to customers.
“When you talk about Cloud there is a service that’s provided — it could be an application, computing, storage, it can be a lot of different things, infrastructure or even software-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service — but to deliver that, you have to have the network and the data centre,” Castelli says.
“Telcos are well placed because they basically own the network. A lot of them have worked with data centres and so they’re used to that type of hosted service or hosted facility.”
Gartner analyst, Rolf Jester, agrees with this idea, but notes the telco’s lack of experience with complex IT solution selling.
“What they’re typically good at is selling a service that’s highly standardised in a very repeated way to lots of customers with economies of scale, but IT comes from the opposite end. It comes from everything being complex; even messy sometimes.”
IT companies such as Fujitsu, Melbourne IT, IBM, HP and CSC have a long management history, following decades in the business and experience running major data centres resulting in the delivery of reliable infrastructure service outcomes.
As a result, they have established disciplines, service management methodologies, proprietary tools and methods that have been built up over some time.
All that makes for a potent argument in favour of the traditional IT house as provider of choice for the Cloud, argues Jester.
Castelli agrees, noting a services outfit, such as Fujitsu or Melbourne IT, has experience in existing processes and key infrastructure as an advantage and simply cannot be matched by the telcos alone.
Yet, contrary to the view of Macquarie Telecom's Aidan Tudehope that telcos face a cultural hurdle in the shift to offer Cloud services, Jester claims the telcos’ structure and marketing prowess are important strengths.
“In the big scheme of things it’s the market access that these companies have, the customer base and the potential market access through their channels and the whole engine that’s behind those channels that services the customers, provisions the service, meters the servers and then bills the service — all that kind of stuff,” he says,
“Obviously there are many imperfections in those things but that’s what these companies do for a living; they are, in theory, good at that.”