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Mobile network operators in the enterprise segment

New enterprise opportunities are emerging for mobile network operators. Learn what strategies can lead them to success in this segment.

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Today, enterprises are driven and challenged by a growing need for globalization, operational and capex efficiencies, and convergence across multiple devices. Ubiquitous connectivity solutions are fast turning out to be a service differentiator that enables companies of all sizes to better fulfill customer requirements.

Mobile network operators (MNOs) need to pick a relevant portfolio of services that complement their existing capabilities and lead to sustainable profitability growth. Targeting the right segment of customers with customized service offerings should also help unlock significant value. Some of the services creating new opportunities for MNOs include:

  • Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications
  • Cloud computing
  • Big data
  • Telematics
  • Enterprise mobility

Challenges faced by organizations are creating new opportunities for MNOs

Business communication needs differ across industry verticals and also depend on the size of business. Enterprise offerings need to address these specific challenges, with customized communication solutions, based on industry requirements. Other challenges include:

  • A rise in the mobile workforce —It is estimated that by 2015, there will be around 1.2 billion mobile enterprise workers worldwide. Employees who work remotely require real-time access to content and applications on devices that vary in form factor and operating systems.
  • Speed — Faster time-to-market of services and real-time decision-making are the key requirements for businesses that are adopting new tools for improved productivity, greater collaboration and better communication tools for enabled business processes.
  • Cost —With growing macroeconomic uncertainties and competitive pressures, companies are carefully evaluating their cost structures and looking at ways to minimize expenditure.
  • Security – The proliferation of mobile devices as a preferred communication mechanism and the consumerization of IT are raising questions about control, security and support.

The mobile network operator differentiator

MNOs are gearing up for opportunities in the enterprise segment by leveraging their core competencies to build winning service portfolios that address the above challenges that organizations are facing. Mobility-based communication is becoming critical for enterprises with multi-geography foot prints and diversely spread workforces because they facilitate:

  • Collaboration
  • Enhanced productivity benefits
  • Reduced product and service time-to-market
  • Flexible working
  • Optimized operations, including logistics
  • Enhanced customer relationships
  • Streamlined supply chain management
  • Solutions for security issues

Critical success factors

MNO success in the enterprise segment requires the following:

  • Partnerships: Forming the right partnerships is crucial for operators to gain access to niche technologies and capabilities that are outside their competencies and allow them to focus on core capabilities.
  • Risk assessment: Operators need to protect the privacy of customer data to reassure end users and satisfy compliance demands.
  • Organizational change: Changes are expected in organizational structures as MNOs broaden their enterprise service portfolios, and a detailed plan and support is required to manage this change.
  • Project management / execution: With the time-to-market of service launches shortening and pressure to reduce cost, timely and efficient execution of projects is likely to be a differentiating factor among operators.
  • Changing metrics: As enterprise services require different types of connectivity, their usage metrics differ more when compared with the legacy customer bases of MNOs.

Key questions for MNOs seeking enterprise expansion

Before seeking enterprise expansion, MNOs should consider the following questions:

Forming partnerships:

  • In what instances should operators consider a partnership versus building / utilizing internal capabilities?
  • What parameters should determine the selection of a partner?
  • How can partnership risks be mitigated by the company?

Developing brand and marketing:

  • Building a brand as an enterprise carrier requires focus and investment. How should an operator go about achieving this in the least capital intensive manner?
  • In case of a global MNO, should it adopt a global-level branding approach, or leverage the existing mobile brand?

    Leveraging additional services

    • What criteria should be used to determine which services can be included when expanding a portfolio?
    • How can MNOs reverse the norm and make the mobility offering the central theme with WAN management capability as the add-on?

      Augmenting internal processes and networks

      • How can operators meet SLA levels with minimal financial consequences?
      • How should operators model the complex contract constructs to ensure billing accuracy and prevent revenue leakage?
      • Enterprise requires more out of the network in terms of contingency and resiliency. How should operators consider the cost of moving into this space?

        Critical resource management

        • Operators have to be aware of the cultural shift that servicing enterprise customers entails. How can new skills in network architecture, solution design and sales cycle management be brought in and managed?

          Customer centricity

          • How can operators align sales literature and activity with IT and network capabilities to ensure that SLAs are adhered to?
          • What measures are required to ensure the privacy and security controls around the services? Should operators consider generating assurance reports for customers?

            Quality of service

            • How can operators define quality of service parameters for newer services such as M2M and big data?