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Wed 4 Nov 2009 04:00 AM

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Is the future of services Orange?

Orange hopes money ploughed into its IP network here will reap rewards

Is the future of services Orange?
“The Middle East is showing a huge amount of growth for the company and we are the biggest ICT employer in this region..” Ahmed Hamzawy, head of Middle East and North Africa and General Manager for the UAE at Orange Business Services. (Rajesh Raghav/ITP Images)

Orange hopes money ploughed into its IP network here will reap rewards.

“We are just shifting the way that we serve the enterprise customers because we are very close to our customers in general and we are trying to shift the focus in order to provide services that can answer the challenge today,” claimed Ahmed Hamzawy, head of Middle East and North Africa and General Manager for the UAE at Orange Business Services.

This assertion from the Orange Business Services leader is in response to the changing landscape and how the company which offers a variety of IT and communication related services has been working to maintain an edge in the market. This is an edge that the vendor is adamant it has carved thanks to almost two decades in the Middle East ICT market and Hamzawy is keen to point out that his company is not a ‘Johnny-come-lately’ to the sector here.

“The Middle East is showing a huge amount of growth for the company and we are the biggest ICT employer in this region. We have around 2,000 skilled people around the Middle East and North Africa region and we have been here and we are not a new-comer to the region,” stated Hamzawy.

“We have more than 500 customers in the Middle East and North Africa and we offer a set of services within the management services which is solely aimed at the enterprise customers. The other line of business is related to our services towards the operators. We are an operator in ourself and we are also an integrator at the same time, so we package our confidence and expertise to transferring know-how to some of the operators, either incumbents or new challengers, in order to help them in building new revenue streams and stand out against the tough competition.”

The company says that it is investing in upgrading its next-generation converged IP network in the Middle East and Africa, an expenditure that should allow it to provide more services in the future.

One such service that the vendor very recently announced is Network Boost which offers end-users network acceleration and optimisation managed services such as application prioritisation, management and accompanying SLAs to ensure required quality for critical applications. On top of that, Orange Business Services is looking to strengthen its managed services offering with an embedded security element which will help distributed and branch networks better deal with security threats on a 24/7 basis.

Orange already has the end-users lined up to benefit from these new services.

“On network boost we have Carrefour and Majid Al-Futtaim, which is one of our biggest customers in the region and they are our customers on the network boost in order to enhance the performance of their applications,” revealed Hamzawy.

In addition to boosting the pace and quality of network application traffic and offering security services to the end-user, one growth area that the investment in their network will also allow Orange Business Services to focus on is Telepresence and video conferencing.

“Our network will integrate what we called a multi-cast type of feature which will help on the video and type of content contribution on the video service — on Telepresence for example we have SABIC,” added Hamzawy.

Orange is confident, and with such customers as Majid Al-Futtaim and SABIC on their books, perhaps rightly so, that enterprises really need to invest in such services as it is offering in order to reduce the CAPex of their operations. And, in everything, apart from possibly the telepresence option, this might well be the case as the Middle East IT market opens its ears to managed services much more than it has done in the past.

“We are confident that we will continue seeing double-digit growth because we have a very strong services portfolio and second of all we will be focusing on a fewer amount of customers where we will build a strategic relationship. We can adapt our services towards the challenges that those customers are experiencing,” ended Hamzawy.

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