I state up front that I am not a primary telecommunications analyst – but I have friends who are (give me or Bob Hafner a call to discuss). But, in the last 6 months, I think I have either met with, or spoken with every major telecom provider in the world. They all have the same question – “what is the real opportunity for us in the cloud?” With few exceptions, I have had to tell them much the same thing – “get closer to the ultimate consumer” if you want to be relevant long term in anything. See my post in cloud infrastructure commoditization to see where this goes.
So, the nice thing is that all these companies have some thing to offer from network to carrier relationships to governance to deep customer knowledge. And guess what – they all know how to be service providers (See my post on ISVs failing this test).
I keep looking at this and trying to ferret out the real opportunities for telecom companies with cloud computing and so far, I can’t say that I am convinced they will be able to beat IBM at the “Enterprise” cloud game, but I can say that if they are bold (and if they can weather the economic crisis), then there are several areas of key interest from my perspective:
1 – The network touches almost everything – think about it.
2 – Do your carriers have deep relationships with the ultimate consumer that you can leverage?
3 – Can you do something that others are not good at, given your historical position as pre-cloud service providers (i.e. billing support, customer service, monitoring, provisioning, metrics, payment model)? If so, you might find an entry point.
4 – Are you doing all you can with context awareness and communications-enablement?
If all these things are on your drawing board, then you may find an easier entry to this cloud game than others who are not looking at them. But be warned – these things are not a secret, and you either have the ability to generate interest by delving into them, or you need to partner with someone who can. Those who are giants in this area – and you know who you are – make haste.
The clock is ticking – and you need to make a splash before all the other emerging cloud players make this a moot point.
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