?By Deon Liebenberg, Executive Vice President of Africa,?Vodafone?Global Enterprise
?Many multinational corporations have a patchwork of different wired, wireless and cloud service providers around the world. This patchwork can grow every time a new office is opened or an additional market foothold is gained, and new suppliers, contracts and bills are negotiated to support the communications?needs of the growing enterprise. ?The result can be time, money and resource wasted on managing an unnecessarily complex infrastructure.
The complexity makes it tough for CIOs to gain insight into critical resources, such as the network, and harder for CFOs to monitor usage and expenditure to see precisely where savings can be made. Unpredictable operational costs aren?t the only downside. Having a spread of communications service providers makes it difficult to break down the barriers between different devices and communications methods. When these are united into a single, intelligent and completely configurable service, businesses can benefit from increased productivity and overall business process streamlining. When communications platforms aren?t united it can negatively impact the end user experience, turning what could be an intuitive and contextual experience into something altogether more disjointed.
Working with one single global service provider to provide total communications – fixed line, fixed data, mobile voice, mobile data and broadband, as well as cloud and managed services – across every office and in every market, means the simplicity of?only ever dealing with one supplier, one bill, one single global contract and one global point of contact.
This not only takes away the pain of expensive, patchwork communications, but means that game-changing services and applications, such as CRM systems andcloud-based unified communications can be embraced to help provide a competitive advantage.
To avoid ending up with a fragmented and complex communications landscape, businesses should adopt a consolidated strategy that?addresses the total communications needs of the enterprise.
Why have business communications become so fragmented?
New market footholds are certainly adding to the fragmentation of enterprise communications, but changes closer to home are making things just as complex. Hunger for cloud services and applications across departments such as marketing and human resources has meant that a growing number of people now have a say in procurement decisions. This is creating a bigger patchwork of providers, less centralised visibility over the communications environment and more potential vulnerability for the business.
This is further confounded by needing to cope with the demands of four generations of people in the workplace. While the Baby Boomers and Generation X are generally more accommodating to the commands of the IT department, Generation Y and the Millennials are more fearless technology users and, consequently, less inclined to comply with tight corporate control over how they work, where they work and the devices they work on. These are generations that want to use social media and cloud-based applications to communicate, collaborate and share. They expect to be able to bring personal consumer devices into the workplace. And with limited responsibility they are less concerned over the security implications of this for the business.
As a result enterprise communications have become a complex web of services and applications and a balancing act between the needs of the business and the needs of the people who work within it.
A roadmap to consolidation
Businesses can untangle this web and reconcile these competing demands by consolidating their connectivity and communications services.
Put into practice, this means that if a business wants to keep expanding into new markets, but needs to keep the cost of its network and ICT spend down, it can establish one single Wide Area Network across all of the countries it operates in. By doing this the business can consolidate the management of its network, which provides greater visibility of cost. This also enables the business to establish a standardised operating model to support faster, more efficient deployment of critical business applications.
By streamlining communications infrastructure into one strategy a business that wants to meet demand for flexible working without impacting team collaboration, can integrate fixed and mobile communications into a single, intelligent and completely configurable service. This ensures calls and messages can always be routed to reach employees and it enables teams to use a range of collaborative tools such as instant messenger, video conferencing and enterprise social media apps on any device, through the same unified application.
And by bringing all communications together a business seeking to improve internal processes or create better customer-facing products and services can deploy technologies such as Machine-to-Machine (M2M) using one global SIM card and one single supply chain across all markets.
Connected whenever, wherever, whatever to whoever
Enterprise communications needs aren?t going to get any less complicated. Economic uncertainty means businesses need to constantly evaluate the markets they operate in ? and act quickly to expand operations and communications across the latest emerging economies.
Ever more tech-savvy generations armed with connected devices will continue joining the workforce, seeking better, more efficient ways of working. And the uses and applications of cloud, M2M and data analytics will only become broader as costs come down and understanding of the benefits goes up. Only the businesses that are ready to meet these challenges with total connectivity will stay at the forefront of?tomorrow?s?uncertain world.
Executive Vice President of Africa,
Vodafone Global Enterprise
Vodafone Global Enterprise is a division of the Vodafone Group, dedicated to delivering total communications services to the world?s largest multinational corporations.
Based in South Africa, Deon leads Vodafone Global Enterprise’s operations across the continent with key hubs in West Africa (Ghana), North Africa (Egypt), East & Central Africa (Kenya) and Southern Africa (South Africa).
Since his appointment in 2013, Deon has focused on driving our efforts to expand, extend and enhance our capabilities and resources across Africa. Deon is no stranger to VGE as he was previously the Managing Executive for VGE at Vodacom in South Africa, and CEO for the Vodacom Business Africa Group of companies across Africa. Deon has more than 20 years? experience in the ICT and Telecom Industry, earned working at some of South Africa’s leading operators and multinational telecom service providers. During his career, he held a number of sales and business development positions at Vodacom and other organisations such as Telkom SA, Motorola (Pty) Ltd. and BlackBerry. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of the Free State as well as a Bachelor of Business Management and Administration and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University Of Stellenbosch.
Deon is a highly-respected leader in the ICT sector, having built up a reputation for his ability to grow small companies into large market players ? a skill which is likely to serve VGE well in its plans to further entrench itself in Africa. Deon is passionate about customer service and providing innovative communications solutions to transform businesses. He leads a dedicated team of over 200 people and manages relationships with leading telecom operators across the region