Huawei has flagged up an increasing focus on enterprise IT in a greatly consolidated future communications and IT market.
Leroy Blimegger, global president for assurance and managed services at Huawei, told press at a managed services briefing today that it was expecting strong growth in the enterprise market -- but there would be fewer players in future.
"Larger global operators are saying that if you want to be their managed services provider, you have to be able to provide across multiple countries -- all of Europe, all of Africa, or whatever," he said.
Companies no longer want to manage different stacks of IT in different environments, with different providers in different countries. They are looking for the economies-of-scale that give them genuine cost and operational advantages, he suggested.
The addition of IT services to the comms technology portfolio represented 10 per cent of revenue in Huawei's last five-year plan, ending 2012. Its next five-year plan predicts it to grow to 40 per cent of turnover.
What might this mean for other players?
"Across Europe, the industry is aware there is going to be consolidation. I think it is better for the end users, it is going to be able to provide more value to the end user at a lower cost," said Blimegger.
The consolidation would take time to complete, he said, but that is the way Huawei believes the market is going -- towards a convergence of communications and IT that has been long discussed but not much in evidence.
"Will there be a future for the smaller provider? I hope so," he added. "Because I would add it's not a return to the [US] Ma Bell days, a few operators with a monopoly. I believe there will always be room. But will those smaller operators have their own networks? My feeling is 'no'."
Huawei itself is reflecting the convergence trend in its five-year plans and future strategy. Its network business now includes managed services and enterprise IT outsourcing arms.
Software-defined networking, branded Smartcom at Huawei, is one strand in the play, alongside business process outsourcing, operator system support services and -- eventually -- continuity of services, everything from data to voice and video, over a range of devices.
That's years away, said Blimegger, but he wasn't prepared to name a specific timeframe.
Huawei is speaking at the Managed Services World Congress being held in London on 17 and 18 September.
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