What we know as the ‘telecoms’ business is an intriguing game — saddled with 100 years of doctrine and fraught with modern identity crises, but also rich with opportunities for those capable of seizing them. As the dividing lines between Telco, IT and Media become fuzzy, new players emerge and incumbents are forced to adapt, continually reshaping our idea of what it means to be in the industry. This is why I find Service Providers such a fascinating area in which to work right now. It’s also why I’m delighted to be joining the EMEA Service Providers team at EMC as Senior Technology Consultant.
For those who know me mainly from my background in IP networks, or have a less than broad understanding of EMC, this may sound like a curious move, so I thought I’d explain a few of the reasons behind my decision and how it aligns my job with what I believe about service providers and their future.
We live in the wake of relentless commoditisation: a new era of large scale utility computing, a subsequent phase of war in the industry, and software continuing to eat everything else for lunch. Spending time with colleagues, customers and vendors, I often find myself thinking about these issues and the fundamental changes that are happening in the way we consume IT to get things done in our lives – it seems clear that the future power, relevance and profitability of many organisations will depend on how they respond to this stuff.
Cloud is replacing products with services, throughout the entire IT stack. As value chains evolve, previously solid business models are starting to look a little wobbly. Looking around the workplace we see business productivity gains being delivered from everywhere except the IT department. Incumbent service providers and vendors need to pay close attention to these changes and their impacts.
When it comes to steering through waves of change in the industry, EMC seems to be one of the few big vendors that is consistently smart at the top level. The company plays a strong strategic game and is always thinking several steps ahead. They’ve got an impressive track record of shrewd moves and timely acquisitions, with a diverse collection of technology under their umbrella.
The EMC and VMware magic trick is knowing how to make the most of today in mature infrastructure markets, making smart purchases to stay at the front, but also having the forethought and discipline to sow seeds for tomorrow, such as the Cloudfoundry ecosystem, that with sufficient nurturing will help the business reach escape velocity from past success.
EMC’s appetite for the long-term view was recently underlined by Paul Maritz, a big-time advocate of developer-centric thinking, moving from VMware to become EMC’s Chief Strategist. Interestingly this is the same man who “was prepared to stand in front of VMware’s core customers (IT ops people) and tell them they were not where business value lies” (redmonk.com).
The EMEA SP unit is quite a fresh venture and I’m excited to be on-board, with the chance to build relationships and understand the businesses of some major EMC partners and customers. I’m sure we’ll be having plenty of fun juggling the assortment of opportunities and threats in the service provider space, the legacy and the next generation technologies, the old business models and new ones.
So with sadness I bid farewell to Exponential-e, on my last day here, having worked with some great people and experienced so much change along the way. I will continue to watch the company’s progress with interest.
See you all in EMEA…