More Telecoms Look to the Cloud
Telecoms like Verizon and CenturyLink have joined Time Warner Cable in what's turning out to be a highly competitive cloud computing market. These popular domestic telecommunications services have snapped up cloud service and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers like NaviSite, Qwest, and Terremark in hopes of competing with companies like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, HP, and Google to name a few and to make up for their flagging revenue from traditional services.
Why would an enterprise that's already satisfied with their cloud service provider chose to switch over to a carrier provider? The answer is infrastructure, security, and the potential for a unified communication platform. ComputerWorld consulted with independent analyst Bob Rosenberg, who predicts that telecoms have an edge over other cloud service providers because they have trusted wired networks. Enterprises have depended on many of these companies for decades to provide telephone and internet services with good results. Their proven dependability and security is a key component in attracting customers looking for a "low-latency connections for large amounts of data transfer." Having a trusted name can do a lot for enterprises or consumers that are nervous about the security aspect of cloud computing.
According to Dan Bieler, an industry analyst at Forrester, telecommunication service providers also have the potential to offer enterprises entire communications systems in which they can host software programs on their infrastructure. He says, "This could include enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) services, plus additional complimentary services related to connectivity between multiple locations, data transfer security and software management on top of that." Add in the ability to connect multiple devices or even purchase devices and plans, and it's a one-stop shop. This could be a real selling point for midsized and larger enterprises looking a trusted, secure brand that can offer them an all-in-one package.
If the big carriers play their cards right, they could effectively change the playing field or at least create a niche that web-based cloud service providers can't fill. The trick may lie in providing the right package for the right price. Web service providers like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Google have all drastically cut their prices in the last few months to attract customers. They are also rapidly expanding their services to appear more appealing in an ever-tightening market. Microsoft recently announced that it will be adding an extension to its Team Foundation Service Platform in order to give the developers the ability to build apps in the Windows Azure public cloud. Amazon's CloudFront now has the ability to stream live content to Apple iOs devices and Microsoft Silverlight customers.
If domestic telecomunnications providers can play on their strengths and their legacy and give enterprises something they can't get with web-based cloud services, they may be able to create a real twist in the race for customers.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.