Expecting the unexpected: chaos, tigers and kids in the workspace

Three key trends are currently dominating corporate IT, said Vivek Badrinath, chief executive of Orange Business speaking at Orange Business Live in Munich.

It’s been a year of uncertainty: civil unrest and revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, floods, earthquakes and bombs in Asia. Consequently its vital to plan for the worst: it might not just be your communications that is impacted, it can be your supply chain too.

Another key trend has been the growing importance of emerging market opportunities. This is not just an opportunity for Western brands entering new markets, but rapidly growing corporates from the BRICS can now themselves break out into new (mature) markets.

And the workplace is changing: From tech-savvy millennials joining the workforce to the unstoppable rise of consumerisation, everyone including Orange, must embrace new working methods. Badrinath commented that you can no more stop an employee using Facebook at 11am (at work) than you can stop them checking their work emails at 1am on their corporate Blackberries. Work/life has completely blurred.

The impact this has on IT is that it has become C-level again. IT is strategic and a threat.

Badrinath also talked briefly about Orange Business’ performance and strategy. EUR 7.2 billion in revenues in 2010 has delivered a health profit (but not so healthy as to alienate the customers present in the auditorium.) Orange is no 1 in Telemark Data VPN Crystal Ball for the 5th year running and a leader in various Gartner quadrants.

The strategy for 2015 is to keep it simple and customer focused.

· Orange is investing in its network expanding capacity and coverage, and improving resilience to cope with unexpected events (such as 30% bandwidth increase in Africa and expanding Ethernet footprint to 70 countries).

· Orange is also focusing on emerging markets. For instance, it has been working on smart cities in the Middle East, telepresence rooms and M2M in Africa, helping deploy domestic networks for French banks in Russia, support MNCs with their IT operations in India and connecting shops and offices in China.

· Expanding connected IT services is another key focus. Examples include cloud computing, unified communications as a service, applications for selected vertical markets and partnering with specialists for B2B2C offers.

· Orange has now installed more than 400 telepresence rooms. Customers with Orange telepresence can interconnect with telepresence on Tata and Telefonica networks. Also, working towards allowing all end points – tablets to immersive – to interwork

· Orange has created a new “Global Mobility Services” group, with 50 people dedicated to MNCs.

Stewart Baines
Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.