Reader's Poll

Which of the following technologies/concepts are likely to witness significant traction this year?
Any data to show


Tele Data

Mobile Subscribers Yearwise comparision

  • JUser::_load: Unable to load user with id: 1679

Enterprise Opportunities: Targeting the EBS segment to drive profitability

December 10, 2015
E-mail Print PDF

Indian enterprises are increasingly looking at new technologies for the digital enablement of their services and business operations. With the telecom market shifting away from being purely voice-led to becoming data-oriented, operators are formulating various strategies to leverage this enterprise advantage. The large-scale adoption of virtualisation, cloud services, big data analytics and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications has opened up new avenues of growth in this segment. Moreover, as the government’s Digital India and Smart Cities initiatives start gaining traction, the demand for these enterprise-based offerings is expected to increase further. Industry experts share their views on the growing market for enterprise business services (EBS), the current and emerging trends, key challenges and future outlook…


How important is the EBS segment for telecom operators? What are the key opportunities that this segment offers?

Hemant Joshi

EBS is an important segment for telecom operators as it contributes significantly to their revenues. The enterprise industry is currently worth Rs 450 billion and is growing at the rate of 10 per cent per annum. The key opportunities offered by the EBS segment are unified communication, cloud computing, M2M services, enterprise mobility, converged services and telematics.

Sridhar Krish

Enterprise business-to-business (B2B) services complement the business-to-consumer (B2C) segment of telecom service providers. While telecom operators around the world have built their infrastructure to provide voice and data services to retail customers, EBS has evolved as a separate business unit within telecom companies to meet the specialised voice and data requirements of enterprises. EBS generates high returns on incremental investments by delivering larger capacities and better grade of services for B2B customers. While telcos in India have faced hypercompetition on the consumer side, their enterprise business has retained margins and provided the much-needed support to the overall bottom line.

The increasing demand for the internet has provided the biggest opportunity for the enterprise business segment. Internet penetration in India is very low particularly in small and medium businesses (SMBs). Apart from this, there is a continued demand from medium and large corporates for enterprise-wide MPLS networks. Large corporates have now shifted their focus to increased reliability by aiming at redundancy and high uptime. With the increased dependence of businesses on data networks, chief information officers now have a greater responsibility towards running data networks with zero downtime. Thus, there is a need to increase the availability of MPLS networks that are carrier agnostic both at the core and the access. Moreover, there is a thrust on rural banking and with new banking licences being issued, the banking, financial services and insurance segment remains a key component of MPLS services.

With the increased penetration of smartphones, laptops and handhelds, enterprises are upgrading to wireless local area networks (LANs) to support the bring your own device concept. Managed wireless LANs are emerging as a new segment in line with the increasing demand for high-speed wireless internet access.

What are the current and emerging trends in the adoption of services such as cloud computing, virtualisation, big data analytics and the internet of things?

Hemant Joshi

Enterprises are adopting emerging technologies like cloud computing and data analytics for profitability as well as for increasing the ease of doing business. Some of the key drivers for the uptake of these services are reduced IT infrastructure, a flexible work environment, improved accessibility and better cost management. Further, these technologies facilitate monetisation of data, customer analysis and determination of key performance indicators.

Sridhar Krish

The demand for these services is directly correlated with the increase in internet penetration, cloud ecosystem maturity, and the overall awareness of cloud services. Even at its current stage of maturity, cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a viable proposition for most enterprises in the SMB segment. Cloud IaaS provides SMBs with access to technologies they would otherwise not be able to afford. Moreover, the Indian SMB market provides a number of opportunities to vendors offering IaaS. Cloud IaaS will complement their current portfolio and offerings, increase bandwidth usage and improve customer stickiness. Cloud-based services in the country will expand in the coming years with the increase in internet penetration, maturity of cloud offerings and awareness, particularly in the SMBs and e-commerce startups that are mushrooming all over India. IoT will require a robust wireless data network in order to offer reliable services. With the increase in 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi network penetration and improved device ecosystem, we will see IoT implementations on a large scale in the next two to three years.

Harsh Marwah

The industry has seen cloud go from being a newcomer to becoming a part of the established order. Verizon has conducted an analysis of cloud usage within our customer base and found that:

  • Cloud is changing how business is conducted (69 per cent of enterprises say cloud has enabled them to re-engineer one or more of their business processes).
  • Cloud improves business operations (88 per cent of enterprises say they moved mission-critical workloads to the cloud because it improves the responsiveness to their business needs and 65 per cent say it improves their overall operations).
  • Cloud supports mission-critical workloads (87 per cent of enterprises use cloud for mission-critical workloads).
  • Adoption of private cloud is on the rise (44 per cent of enterprises are either currently using or plan to implement a private cloud solution).
  • No one cloud fits all and enterprises are embracing a multi-cloud strategy (53 per cent of enterprises use two to four cloud providers, while 26 per cent use more than 10).
  • Cloud use in enterprises continues to grow (84 per cent say their cloud usage has increased in the past year while half of the enterprises say they will use cloud for at least 75 per cent of their workload by 2018).
  • Security is not an implementation impediment. In fact, 80 per cent of enterprises say their cloud environment is as secure (40 per cent) or more secure (20 per cent say “a bit more secure,” 20 per cent say “much more secure”) as their on-premises infrastructure.
  • Enterprises believe the network is critical to the success of cloud projects (86 per cent of respondents say the cloud infrastructure is as available/reliable as their on-premises infrastructure).

IoT uptake is being fuelled by a mix of technological, political and social factors, which are driving more organisations to adopt IoT-enabled solutions. For example, the use of social media and mobile technology has transformed consumer and citizen expectations. Also, the declining costs of sensors, connectivity and processing power have made IoT a more viable proposition for a broader set of organisations. The changing regulatory requirements across a number of industries are also making an impact.

Which enterprise verticals are witnessing a significant adoption of these services? What are the key challenges faced by operators while catering to enterprises?

Hemant Joshi

The key challenges faced by operators while providing EBS are security, low bandwidth, skill shortage, vendor pricing models, frequent change and upgradation in technology and lack of strong network coverage across the country.

Sridhar Krish

We see SMBs and e-commerce startups as the biggest drivers of cloud services.

Harsh Marwah

The government, in the past 8-10 years, has built a huge amount of infrastructure in terms of state wide area networks, state data centres, common service centres and the national knowledge network. It has come out with a very ambitious initiative around cloud, known as Meghraj.

The manufacturing sector in India is fast moving onto the cloud in terms of three things, one of which is CRM on the cloud. The entire supply chain for manufacturing is leveraging cloud in a big way. And lastly, there is a huge amount of data that exists within a manufacturing organisation. Business intelligence and analytics is another area that is leveraging the cloud very effectively because the cost of computing and storage is extremely compelling in a cloud scenario.

Companies in other verticals such as retail are using the cloud to leverage a huge amount of mobile assets in order to have end-to-end coverage and grow their business. Cloud is also currently playing a significant role in the health industry.

What changes do you see in the EBS scenario as the government’s Digital India and Smart Cities initiatives gain traction?

Hemant Joshi

The Digital India and Smart Cities initiatives are strategic projects which would require huge investments and private participation. Under these initiatives, EBS will play a crucial role in security, mobility and digitisation.

There will be opportunities for telecom-managed services in cloud-based storage, M2M applications, user application, financial services, m-Governance, m-health, online education, among others, which will contribute to the operators’ revenues by opening up new revenue streams.

Sridhar Krish

Service providers will have to work closely with public administrators, system integrators and technology providers to support the Digital India and Smart Cities initiatives. This will require integration capabilities, and the involvement of multiple service providers and technologies.

Harsh Marwah

According to industry analysts, the market for smart city solutions is projected to grow by more than 20 per cent annually from 2015 to 2020. However, urban areas are still suffering from the effects of traffic congestion, aging infrastructure and inefficient use of resources. Together with cloud computing, and M2M systems, these solutions form integral components of a smart city. Technology is going to be at the heart of smart cities as they facilitate a higher standard of living by connecting various devices. With a budget of Rs 480 billion allocated for the development of “100 smart cities”, India is all set to witness the next phase of digital evolution. This will create new revenue streams for telecom providers, infrastructure vendors and application providers and, at the same time, encourage a tremendous amount of technological innovation, which will be in the interest of all.

What are the key challenges faced by operators while catering to these enterprises?

Sridhar Krish

Making the organisation ready to produce and carry huge data volumes at the lowest cost from both mobile and fixed consumers and enterprises is the biggest opportunity as well as challenge for operators today. At present, networks are skewed more towards voice traffic. Their ability to match the exponential growth in internet and data traffic is also a challenge along with building huge optical fibre capacities both in access and core networks. Indian operators need to deploy 10x capacities to match the increased internet usage, and this will require huge investments. In addition, the industry needs to develop a cohesive approach and seek government support for creating simpler right of way solutions and regulations to protect operator investments. Operators should not be required to duplicate investments in laying optical fibre stretches multiple times as this increases costs for end-consumers. We should look for long-term solutions that can sustain us for the next 20-25 years. The industry will benefit from the creation of a common duct infrastructure in all cities and development of duct capacities alongside highways that are easily accessible to all operators. This will eliminate the cost of repeated optical fibre laying, facilitate maintenance and reduce network disruptions.

Harsh Marwah

Many companies lack sufficient experience with cloud projects, especially those involving mission-critical applications and major transformation. Managing risk remains a “go to” topic when discussing the cloud. Some vendors have launched specialised solutions tailored to specific security and compliance needs.

With regard to IoT, one barrier to innovation is that developers of new IoT solutions have to go through multiple channels and cumbersome processes to access the tools they need to create and launch applications. Another impediment to widespread IoT deployment is the cost of connecting to a wide area network compared to other networks like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 

What is the future outlook for EBS? How can operators leverage these services to drive profitability going forward?

Hemant Joshi

Increased mobility, a flexible work culture, adoption of M2M, and digitisation of services will shift the supply-push model of the enterprise business to a demand–pull one. To provide customised and flexible services to enterprises, operators need to upgrade network infrastructure and adopt new technologies. Profitability will be driven by technology, network speed, security and innovative services. Operators can leverage the huge database by implementing data analytics solutions.

Sridhar Krish

EBS will continue to be a vital part of telco offerings. With increased data capabilities of telecom operators, internet, MPLS networks, wireless LAN services and IoT will become their key offerings with significant revenue potential. Newer access technologies like 4G will enhance the implementation of concepts like telecommuting.

 Your cart is empty

Monday morning

Monday morning