Ecosystem strategy essential for CSP success in B2B 5G

Platforms and value-add are crucial for not only success, but also survival, in many software categories today. I’ve done a bit of advisory and promotional work in this area. A platform with open APIs supporting a thriving ecosystem (think a healthy pond and wetland ecosystem with a variety of plant and animal life) brings value to both the suppliers and the users.

In the case of this research, we’re talking Communications Services Providers (CSPs) and what they need to consider for a strategy to make it in a 5G world. From the report summary:

Telcos losing ground in early enterprise 5G projects, must act quickly to recover position of influence as world emerges from COVID-19 pandemic

In brief—the news focuses on results of a global research study that includes some compelling data surrounding 5G in the atmosphere of Covid. 

  • Omdia believes that the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the ‘fast-forward’ button on enterprise demand for 5G technology solutions. Indeed, 5G investment in China is already recovering because the country recognizes the importance of accelerating the digitalisation of industries to guard against future risk.
  • Omdia expects this trend to unfold globally as COVID-19 makes digitizing the physical, enabling a work-anywhere economy and mitigating risk in supply chains through an ecosystem play more relevant than ever.
  • It also reveals that manufacturing, transport, utilities and energy/mining sectors account for nearly 80% of early enterprise 5G deals. As an enabler of business solutions, 5G’s value will be realized through industry specific processes, supply chains, partnerships, and applications.
  • The report also notes that the new 5G world demands CSPs to embrace platform-based business models and orchestrate partner ecosystems to meet specific enterprise demands. The report points to examples of how Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, and Telefónica are starting to form industry partnerships to access these verticals.

BearingPoint//Beyond, in collaboration with Omdia (previously Ovum), released a report May 5, 2020 outlining how Communications Service Providers (CSPs) must change strategies in order to drive revenues from their 5G investments. The study demonstrates alignment between CSPs and enterprises on the importance of 5G but reveals a worrying trend for CSP 5G revenues based on their roles in early 5G enterprise projects.

The report finds that 5G strategies focused on selling communications solutions only are failing and that only CSPs engaging partner ecosystems to solve enterprises’ business problems will be able to make up lost ground. Additionally, it identifies key vertical markets, uncovers initial success stories and opportunities and key learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Omdia reports that 72.8% of CSPs believe most of their 5G revenues will come from B2B, B2B2X or Government/smart cities opportunities. Earlier this year, BearingPoint//Beyond research showed that CSPs expect a 15% increase in current revenues from B2B 5G services. However, Omdia’s Enterprise 5G Innovation Tracker reveals that they’re already being cut out of strategic engagement and solution building with enterprise partners. In 40% of enterprise 5G deals signed CSPs were the secondary supplier. 32% were led by enterprises. Only 21% were led by CSPs.

“Only one in five early enterprise 5G deals are CSP-led, proving that the way CSPs want to sell is at odds with the way in which businesses want to buy. What’s deeply concerning is that some of these early deals, such as the ones we see in automotive, cut out CSPs entirely – even connectivity is being provided by other suppliers. Businesses want to buy complete solutions that fit their needs and help them solve business problems, rather than individual technology assets. This is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity that CSPs need to address fast and requires CSPs to collaborate with enterprises and SMBs to better understand their reality,” says Angus Ward, CEO, BearingPoint//Beyond.

The report emphasizes the need for CSPs to change their posture from ‘5G-first’ to ‘business-first’ thinking, focusing on applications and vertical-specific solutions. It finds that enterprises are already making the connection between 5G and applications. Omdia asserts that 5G will act as a catalyst for those enterprises that are still hesitant about the deployment of specific applications and will enhance certain applications that are going to be deployed anyway.

“CSPs will only realize value from 5G if they can identify, partner, codevelop, implement, and run a proposition with application-specific and industry-specific specialists,” says Evan Kirchheimer, Research Vice President, Service Provider & Communications, Omdia. “CSPs that can orchestrate such a complex web of relationships will be capable of capturing a greater share of the market and will not be relegated to being one of many connectivity providers competing solely on price.”

Omdia’s Enterprise 5G Innovation Tracker reveals that manufacturing, transport, utilities and energy/mining sectors account for nearly 80% of early enterprise 5G deals. As an enabler of business solutions, 5G’s value will be realized through industry specific processes, supply chains, partnerships, and applications. The report points to examples of how Deutsche Telekom, Verizon and Telefónica are starting to form industry partnerships to access these verticals.

“The promise of enterprise 5G is there for the taking, but CSPs must realize they will need to master ecosystem orchestration, including joint go-to-market with vendors and cocreation with customers,” says Dario Talmesio, Principal Analyst & Practice Leader, CSPs Europe, Omdia.

Omdia believes that the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the ‘fast-forward’ button on enterprise demand for 5G technology solutions. Indeed, 5G investment in China is already recovering because the country recognizes the importance of accelerating the digitalisation of industries to guard against future risk. Omdia expects this trend to unfold globally as COVID-19 makes digitizing the physical, enabling a work-anywhere economy and mitigating risk in supply chains through an ecosystem play more relevant than ever.

“The report notes that the brave new 5G world demands that CSPs be brave. CSPs have to embrace platform-based business models and orchestrate partner ecosystems to meet specific enterprise demands. This requires a change in mindset, experimenting with business models, accelerating testing and monetising speed to test and monetize new offerings that are co-created with ecosystem of partners and underpinned by the right IT platform to support these new ways of working,” concludes Ward. “Fundamentally, CSPs must become 5G ecosystem orchestrators. That’s the only way they can hope to meet enterprise business needs and re-integrate themselves into enterprise 5G value-chain as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Download a free copy of ‘Industries and enterprises are ready to reap the benefits of 5G’.

BearingPoint//Beyond Infonova Digital Business Platform

While researching Bearing point, I found this information about its platform. So, here is a bit further information.

BearingPoint//Beyond’s  Infonova Digital Business Platform is 5G-ready, enabling Communication Service Providers (CSPs) around the world to create, experiment, launch, and monetize new 5G offerings at speed and at scale. The Infonova platform has already been selected by major CSPs, including NTT Group and Tata Communications.

To monetize 5G at scale, CSPs must ensure that their operational and business support systems can meet four main requirements:

  • Orchestration and delivery of complex solutions spanning both different types of networks (e.g: 4G, Fiber,5G) and different sources of services (e.g. edge, AR, VR)
  • Flexibility in charging and monetization capabilities enabling CSPs to bundle and price anything from network slicing and consumer IoT, to industrial IoT solutions
  • The development of partner ecosystems enabling CSPs to truly co-invent and co-create joint solutions with multiple third parties that better fit customer needs
  • Increased operational agility and speed with cloud native solutions

The 5G-ready Infonova Digital Business Platform has been designed to deliver precisely these capabilities, enabling CSPs to:

  • Reduce risk by rapidly experimenting, launching and monetizing new offerings and scale with success, due to its SaaS delivery model
  • Achieve fast and simple integration with their business and operational landscape by using a comprehensive library of Open APIs and a flexible microservices and containerized architecture delivered in cloud native environments
  • Offer advanced charging and billing capabilities ready to support any pricing model, including network slicing offerings
  • Bundle anything with connectivity – especially important for consumer IoT, OTT services and enterprise solutions (e.g. Industrial IoT, Autonomous driving) – as a result of its flexible catalogue
  • Access comprehensive order management and service fulfillment functionalities, managing the challenge and complexity of dynamic 5G service activation, diversity of devices and network functions
  • Support multiple business partners on a single platform, allowing CSPs to easily and dynamically exchange offerings, orchestrate and monetize B2B2X, B2B, IoT marketplace, B2C and wholesale 5G use cases with an ecosystem of partners

Book Review: Build Your Own Business

Blog Review Start from Zero

The other day, I received a review copy of Start From Zero: Build Your Own Business, Experience True Freedom by Dane Maxwell.

A further subtitle could be become a millionaire while working only 2-3 hours a day.

Or, become a millionaire by joining his site.

Three basic components of his book include—writing effective ad/marketing copy, make the calls, buy his system. (Not to be cynical. All God’s children need to earn an income somehow.)

Much of the first half or so include ideas I first picked up in the 1980s from Napoleon Hill, Denis Waitley, and Brian Tracy. Then he, a little later, added ideas on neuroplasticity—the finding that you can change and grow your brain through reading and experiences.

His outline of ideas are:

  • The Three Rocks
  • What you don’t need
  • What you do need
  • 4 Brains
  • 7 Skills
  • 15 Examples (people who have done the work and succeeded)
  • 4 Growth Levels

If you are younger and just beginning, this book offers many tried and proven tips. Read it and take a few ideas and put them into practice.

If you are older and have been studying building businesses, most likely you’ll find little new—unless you find motivation from examples from life.

I picked up at least one new idea—questions to ask while doing some market research. Sort of looking for those delicious morel mushrooms in the spring that pop up unexpectedly, ideas are there for the finding.

In the book, he mentions that as people grow in business, the move from reading 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss to Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio. This book is sort of a 4 Hour Work Week. Once you get moving, you’ll grow more by reading Principles and other such books.

Manufacturing for Good

Here is one for all the politicians who think you can snap your fingers or wrinkle your nose and start producing overnight. This is a fascinating, first-person story about a software developer (Radek Pietruszewski) who became infatuated with 3D printing, learned CAD and CNC, joined a Hacker Space, and then saw how to meet a need during this crisis.

The Podcast is a weekly conversation between Radek and his boss Michael Sliwinski who is developer, founder, and CEO of Nozbe (affiliate link–the personal productivity app I use). They are both Polish. Radek recently moved to Warsaw to be closer to the hacker space. Michael now lives in Spain. You can also find them at @MSliwinski and @radexp. I’ve listened to them since episode 1. This is episode 206.

Oh, they speak English better than some Americans I know, a fact that also fascinates me.

206: Radek’s Face Shield Factory

Radek has started a job in manufacturing… pro bono manufacturing of face shields for hospitals in Poland.

No, really. Over the last few weeks, Radek has been applying what he’d learned about CAD, laser cutting, and lean manufacturing at the Warsaw Hackerspace to set up a face shield production line.

In three weeks, they produced over 30 000 face shields.

They had just discussed a book on Lean. The story reveals challenges and problem solving of starting a manufacturing process to make face masks for hospital people who were in desperate need. Those of us who have worked in manufacturing recognize the problems and should respect how this team of beginners creatively solved all the problems along the way.

One interesting nugget was that they were quickly told not to go to hospital administrators. They would only be a bottleneck. So, the group actually found lower level workers and delivered boxes of masks to their houses for them to take to work and distribute.

Makes me wonder about how I’ve killed time during the pandemic.

Enterprise Help for Remote Work

Supplier companies have been working to find innovative ways to support the newly remote work force. Some of us have been set up for years for remote work with appropriate security and workflow. Others by the thousands were forced into it in order to stymie the spread of the Coronavirus. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has responded in many ways. Here is a new program.

We knew we could help, so we have made HPE Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) Advanced FREE OF CHARGE for all HPE customers and partners through December 31, 2020.

This will empower administrators to manage their environments in a safe and reliable manner through HPE iLO’s robust remote capabilities via a rich remote server management experience that’s easy to use – and it also provides end-to-end server security.

To learn more how HPE iLO Advanced can help our customers and partners, and to learn how to register for the free trial, you can read the recently posted HPE community blog.

Here is an excerpt from the blog post by Sandy_Ono, VP Marketing Strategy, eCommerce, and SMB Marketing worldwide at HPE.

In today’s environment, many HPE customers and partners have been faced with new challenges, such as closed offices, inaccessible server rooms, and and/or work-from-home mandates. And like many businesses across the globe, they may find themselves needing to quickly adapt to continue to serve their customers’ needs. If you are an HPE customer or partner (or plan to be), know that we are here to support you, so you can focus on your customers.

Here is one way we can help. We have made HPE Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) Advanced FREE OF CHARGE for all HPE customers and partners through December 31, 2020. Normally offered at a cost, this server management software enables you to configure, monitor, and update HPE servers (see footnote) seamlessly – from anywhere. This will empower administrators to manage their environments in a safe and reliable manner through HPE iLO’s robust remote capabilities via a rich remote server management experience that’s easy to use – and it also provides end-to-end server security. When paired with our FREE HPE iLO Amplifier Pack software, this license provides scale and additional recovery capabilities to support your business continuity.

HPE Supports IT Scaling for the Newly Remote Workforce

I’m getting a ton of press releases regarding a company’s response to the current situation. Many are just a way of using current medical terms as “eye candy” to attract attention to an otherwise mundane announcement.

This list of actions byHewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) hits an area critical to supporting a workforce newly working from home thanks to COVID-19. Recognizing the growing need to deploy or scale remote workforce infrastructure to meet stay-at-home and social distancing policies, HPE is releasing a more powerful virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution and offering flexible financing terms and new pre-configured solutions to increase flexibility and accelerate delivery for customers. HPE’s range of VDI solutions, advisory services and financing enable customers to rapidly design and tailor their VDI rollouts to meet users’ needs, keep their network secure and conserve capital.

Available now, HPE Financial Services is offering new, innovative financial and asset lifecycle options including short-term rentals and 90-day payment deferrals on VDI solutions. HPE VDI solutions are also available as-a-Service through HPE Greenlake to support customers who require financial flexibility in their remote workforce roll out.

HPE is also offering new, pre-configured VDI solutions to support small, medium and enterprise customers.  Built on either HPE ProLiant or HPE Synergy servers, these solutions can start as small as 80 users and scale to over 2,000 remote workers and are designed for Citrix and VMware environments.

HPE also announced a new, higher-performing VDI solution to support power users working remotely. HPE Moonshot now ships with the new HPE ProLiant m750 server blade and delivers more than a 70% performance advantage and consumes 25% less power than the previous generation. In virtualized desktops and applications where density and efficiency are paramount, the new HPE ProLiant m750 server blade can support nearly 33% percent more remote workers on 25% less power.

“The urgent global response to COVID-19 has pressured our customers to rapidly implement and expand secure, remote work options for their organizations. I’m proud that our team at HPE is delivering a breadth of solutions, services and expertise to help our customers support their employees and operations during this critical time,” said Gerald Kleyn, vice president and general manager of Moonshot, Edge and IoT Systems at HPE. “Our infrastructure solutions, which provide industry-leading remote management, security, and automation capabilities, help businesses quickly deliver virtual workspaces to their remote staff.”

The new virtualized solutions can be easily accessed and managed virtually, to power a range of remote use applications in markets like banking, healthcare and education. These applications include electronic trading, telemedicine, support for remote workers in temporary medical facilities, and e-learning for digitized classrooms and curriculums. The remote support capabilities of HPE’s VDI solutions have been essential to customers recently, including a large banking institution in New York that is required by local government to have staff work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a hospital chain in Switzerland that is expanding its remote IT staff to manage its infrastructure for critical medical systems.

HPE’s fleet of virtual desktop infrastructure and digital workspace solutions are built to deliver secure, efficient access to applications and data and are designed to support a wide range of user requirements across healthcare, government, financial services, education, manufacturing and retail.

HPE also offers a range of advisory and professional services to assist customers to design, deploy and manage their remote work force initiatives, and was recently recognized as a leader in IDC’s first Worldwide Digital Workspace Services Marketscape. With hundreds of digital workplace experts globally, delivering over 500 projects per year, HPE has deep expertise in helping organizations establish secure, reliable connectivity for remote workers, quickly implementing remote workplace options with partners such as Microsoft and Citrix, and enabling workforces to quickly adapt to remote workplace tools and practices.

HPE is committed to helping communities, customers, and partners during this time of global uncertainty. HPE is applying its time, talent, resources, and technology to address the challenges presented by COVID-19. To learn more please visit the HPE COVID-19 microsite outlining these initiatives, and see the latest blog from Antonio Neri, HPE President and CEO.

Rockwell Automation Numbers

I ran into a long-time acquaintance a couple of weeks ago (before the coronavirus impact) who told me he was all-in investing in Rockwell Automation. The stock had been slowly oscillating between the 170s and 210 for some time. He felt it was destined to keep growing beyond 210.

Note: before retirement, he owned a Rockwell distributorship.

That piqued my interest. When I saw the latest analyst briefing, I took a dive. The transformation of the business is almost startling.

Sales by region must be a bit disappointing as former CEO Keith Nosbusch made it a goal to reduce dependence upon North American markets. For the last year, NA sales are almost 60% of total, with EMEA at 19% and Asia only 14%. However, sales were edging close to $7 billion with a target to top $7 billion this FY. That is good growth.

Breaking out sales by type of industry, hybrid is 40%, process 35%, and discrete at 25%. I imagine if I were to ask 100 people in the industry, more than 90 would guess that Rockwell was still a predominantly discrete automation player.

Showing the general state of manufacturing, Rockwell is strongest in Food & Beverage (20% of sales) followed by Oil & Gas (10%) which is approximate equal in share to automotive. I don’t know if that means the large investment that Nosbusch made in process industry acquisitions is paying off, but it apparently is.

Like many colleagues, I was shocked at the huge valuation Rockwell Automation placed on PTC when it invested $1 billion. But when I saw everything ThingWorx (and the rest of the PTC IoT portfolio) could do–meaning the company could stop many development programs saving a ton of cash–Blake Moret’s (current CEO) move looked very smart.

I like to point out to my close Rockwell acquaintances that I had renamed my site “The Manufacturing Connection” before they announced the “Connected Enterprise” strategy, we both agree that “connections” are where the action is.

Since I’m not an investor in individual stocks, I’m not making any recommendations. But I’d have to say that my old acquaintance is looking pretty smart.

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