Anecdotal evidence from several dozen Forrester IT client inquiries and consulting engagements during the past two years suggests that large MNCs are almost always multisourcing their international WANs and other global telecom services. We estimate that more than nine in ten large user companies (firms with 1,000 or more employees in overseas offices) buy international WAN, Internet access, and fixed voice services from three or more network operators or specialists. The larger the firm, the more likely they are to use one and sometimes two top-tier global telecoms providers (like AT&T, Verizon, BT, Orange) for multiregional international telecoms, and additional — often smaller players or VPN specialists (e.g., Level 3/Global Crossing, Azzurri, Virtela, Masergy) — for important international markets, or regional providers such as in Europe (e.g., BT Global Services, Orange Business Services, T-Systems) and Asia-Pacific (e.g., NTT, SingTel, Telstra). Global firms also increasingly are interested in buying some services from emerging market players like Tata Communications and Reliance Globalcom.
Global enterprises’ rationale for multisourcing falls into two broad categories:
1) Global telecoms — networks and comms apps running over them — are considered “too strategic” to entrust to just one service provider.
2) As we keep hearing over and over, “There’s not actually a truly global network operator — they all rely on others, sometimes many others.”
There are four main business and market drivers pushing IT to put – and keep - mobility front and center in their 2012 planning.
Enterprise mobility will dominate IP priorities in 2012. Moreover, this trend will continue during at least the next three years. Some of the big drivers for prioritizing mobility that we’ve identified during 2011 include:
1) Users are demanding improved mobility support: This includes supporting more personal mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), expanding use of mobile apps both inside and outside the office, and supporting new mobile operating systems, especially Android and Apple iOS in addition to BlackBerry.
2) The business is finding ways to deploy apps they want without you: IT needs a strategy for prioritizing mobile apps development and deployment. The business also needs updated guidance about who pays for smartphones and tablets, and the associated mobile services, endpoint security, and appropriate use of personal devices.
3) Customers are voracious about multichannel access to your content: Mobility will be key in social computing initiatives to drive deeper customer engagement. Customers (and suppliers) will love you for giving them great mobile apps like a product catalog, maintenance schedules, or project calendars accessible using their Internet-connected mobile device (smartphone, tablet).
How much of your IT operating and capital budget will go to UC related investments? I predict that spending by large distributed enterprises (defined as firms with 1,000 or more employees) on communications infrastructure and services will grow between 7% and 10% per year during the next three years. Moreover, there will be a gradual shift away from hardware to software, and wireless connectivity will account for MOST of the growth in communications services spending.
Momentum is building for broader UC adoption, and our Q1 2011 survey of 601 firms that have implemented or are piloting a UC solution showed that 55% of the respondents consider UC a top priority this year.
There are two BIG drivers of widespread UC adoption in large distributed organizations: Mobility and new business models (how UC technology and services are delivered). Mobility will become the “tail that wags the UC dog.” Why? Consider the management and usage cost efficiencies offered by fixed mobile convergence (FMC) technology — least-cost routing savings including reduced international calling and roaming charges, to name one.
Good news and bad: You — as a provisioner of technology to the business — will likely NOT be buying iPhones en masse to the resounding cheers of the business. However, given that the global media has induced any type-A tech consumers to lose sleep over the previous weeks and months leading up to today’s media announcement, SVM professionals can act now by:
Understanding the needs of various business user groups.
Working with EA and the business to develop emerging technology adoption guardrails.
Working with security and risk and infrastructure and operations colleagues to develop vendor risk assessments for non-IT provisioned vendors (ahem … Apple).
We looked at these steps in more detail in our upcoming report “Inquiry Spotlight: Enterprise Mobility Sourcing And Planning, 2010- H1, 2011.” BUT … we NEED your opinion too (and c’mon, it’s Apple; everyone has on opinion on this), so please weigh in on our discussion on our sourcing and vendor management community.
A growing number of workers own personal smartphones that they might want to use for work. However, IT support costs and security implications for personal mobile devices connected to the corporate network are unclear.
As a result, sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals need tools to improve visibility into the real costs of their firm's mobile program. Moreover, this challenge will grow as most firms expand their bring-your-own mobile programs during the next three years.
SVMs also want tools that improve transparency and accountability around mobile work apps for things like enterprise software license compliance by personal device users. Smart SVMs at firms with many or a fast growing population of mobile information workers have already studied or are studying ways to mitigate mobile cost and security risks associated with allowing employees to use personal devices like smartphones and tablets for work.
We are pleased the AT&T iPhone monopoly is over (three and a half years later?!), but we do not expect that Verizon will aggressively pursue multinational enterprise (MNC) customers who frequently travel overseas with its soon-to-launch (data pricing not yet announced) iPhone service. The Verizon iPhone 4 will run on its existing EVDO network, so international roaming capabilities are limited since the CDMA-based cellular network platform is incompatible with the GSM-based networks used by well over 85% of the world’s cellular carriers. Verizon's iPhone won't work in cellular mode in most places outside the US and Canada. There's no such thing (yet — or likely on the drawing table) as a CDMA/GSM World iPhone, so the opportunity for your overseas iPhone travelers will be restricted to AT&T's network if your primary cellular service was purchased in the US (It should work okay in Wi-Fi mode for data, which helps somewhat.)
A second reason that enterprise iPhone users won't jump to Verizon is that they typically are bound by multiyear contracts (two years is the norm) – whether or not they are CLU (corporate liable user), and we anticipate that AT&T will play an aggressive retention game for North America-only enterprise iPhone customers.
Business users often view IT SVM as a bottleneck to getting new technologies that will make them more personally and professionally productive and that also will help ensure their firm’s competitiveness. Affordable mobile technologies like smartphones (Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, Apple’s iPhone, and Google’ Android are the most popular operating systems), cellular data air cards, network-connected PCs and tablets, etc. make it a lot easier (and hence more tempting than ever) to bypass IT’s seemingly archaic and slow-moving sourcing practices.
As a result, employees are increasingly bringing their own technology into the workplace. Forrester calls this trend “tech populism,” and it’s quickly gaining momentum. It might be a personal laptop sitting on the desk next to the corporate PC, or a personal smartphone that’s loaded up with self-purchased applications and freeware, either or both connecting to the employer’s guest WiFi Internet connection.
Additionally, more and more, traveling employees are leaving their business laptop at the office or at home -- relying instead either on their smartphone for simple email access during one- or two-day trips, complemented by personal thumbdrive memory sticks onto which reference and presentation documents have been downloaded and will be viewed (and possibly manipulated or transferred between multiple noncorporate devices) using a hotel, public kiosk, customer, colleague, or partner’s PC. So much for IT’s security policy enforcement! If a file or document can be downloaded onto a personal external drive, what happens to it afterward is at the discretion of the employee –- who after all usually is just trying to be more productive while taking better advantage of easier-to-use hardware and software tools than those provided by the company.
Enterprise telecoms market consolidation can disrupt your service delivery if your service provider is acquired by a competitor. Other disruptions that might have a negative impact on the quality of service delivery and/or account management by your provider of choice include your provider’s decision to spin off or sell assets and business operations that support services you depend on, or if they opt to exit a local market entirely – offering you just 60 days (and sometimes less) for you to make alternative arrangements.
If you don’t have a succession clause in your telecoms contracts today, consider adding one the next time you renew or sign a new contract for network and telecoms services, even if the service provider in question is not providing essential connectivity or other services. If you depend heavily on a single provider for supporting most of your network and telecoms service needs – such as local access, long-distance and international voice, and your data WAN – take the time at the earliest opportunity to discuss your options with your provider’s account team, with the aim of amending an in-progress contract. This should be done if you have more than 12 months remaining on a contract term, or if you have a revenue commitment that is less than 75% met. A clearly spelled out succession clause contributes to a successful commercial relationship between customer and service provider.
At Research In Motion’s (RIM) WES event last week (April 27-29, 2010), there was a customer panel session on individual liable versus corporate ownership of BlackBerry devices. The panelists included IT decision makers from the education sector, local government, and a large entertainment company. The panelist and audience comments validated the ongoing debate within many IT client firms about the values and challenges of managing an increasingly diverse population of mobile users in the enterprise. The debate around individual liable (IL) vs. corporate liable (CL) mobile device ownership and services payment is heating up.
Organizations of all sizes have a growing number of traveling employees, some or many of whom travel overseas. IT should learn from the recent Icelandic volcanic eruption which resulted in many airport shutdowns across northern and central Europe for several days. Hundreds of thousands of traveling iWorkers were stranded, unable to reach their travel destination or even return home. The fortunate ones were those who’d been