Brownlee Thomas, Ph.D., Dan Bieler, Henning Dransfeld, Ph.D., Bryan Wang, Clement Teo, Fred Giron, Michele Pelino, Ed Ferrara, Chris Sherman, Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Orange Business Services (Orange) hosted its annual analyst event in Paris July 9th & 10th. Our main observations are:

  • Orange accelerates programmes to get through tough market conditions. Orange’s’ vision in 2013 is essentially the same as the one communicated last year. However, new CEO Thierry Bonhomme is accelerating cost saving and cloud initiatives in light of tough global market conditions. The core portfolio was presented as connectivity, cloud services, communication-enable applications, as well as new workspace (i.e., mobile management and communication apps).
  • Orange proves its capability in network-based services and business continuity. Key assets are its global IP network and its network-based communications services capabilities. In this space, Orange remains a global leader. These assets form the basis for Orange taking on the role of orchestrator for network and comms services, capabilities that have (literally) weathered the storm, proving its strength in business continuity.
  • Questions remain regarding end-to-end ICT integration capabilities. Orange’s strategy messaging suffers from absence of demonstrated IT application integration skills. Orange’s workplace offering is maturing, including its transformation capabilities for workplace services. However, they use a narrow definition for workspace, which excludes important IT offerings including desktops and office applications. We wonder how Orange can offer end-to-end workplace services if it doesn’t integrate the end-user infrastructure, and Orange will find it difficult to compete with IT service providers who provide both global UCC and desktop management.
  • Orange’s enterprise mobility solutions are firmly positioned. Orange has built out a consistent estate for supporting the Internet of Things. Mobile enterprise services also include lifecycle management for devices, cost control, and mobile device management. But Orange stops short of integrating business applications like ERP, where Orange provides neither solutions nor partnerships in this space.
  • Orange bets big on cloud but provides few details how they’ll get there. Orange has not clearly mapped out which specific services and operational initiatives will be central for reaching expected revenues of € 500 million from cloud services by 2015. In particular, in Orange’s emerging markets sweet-spot Asia, enterprises are only beginning to understand their own cloud computing needs. Orange’s cloud organization also needs to boost its vertical focus to introduce innovative cloud offerings.
  • Orange’s information security offerings lack differentiation. Orange’s information security offerings include the common foundation of monitoring and consulting services. With their global IP network vantage point, Orange is ideally placed to deliver “clean pipe” Internet services: Orange’s DDoS protection service can leverage their large global footprint and control over the infrastructure to gather intelligence and exercise defensive measures, putting them farther up the stack than most non-telco competitors. However, Orange’s lack of a comprehensive endpoint security strategy will be seen as a detractor when compared to other global telcos offering more complete managed security services.
  • Orange’s smart cities portfolio takes shape but the strategy remains amorphous.  Orange has developed a portfolio of smart cities solutions – mostly based on pilots across France and in the Middle East – and they have also announced several key partnerships. But there’s a lot more to do to define a comprehensive strategy demonstrating that Orange gets it regarding smart cities, and that they can leverage all their assets to help cities deliver “smart” (and capitalize on the opportunity).

To be successful Orange needs to provide a clearly articulated and comprehensive strategic vision that includes how it plans to integrate cloud, network, security and mobility offerings. We don’t believe that Orange has already reached an innovation plateau in terms of its enterprise offerings, its go-to-market strategy, and its delivery approach. Ideally, former CEO, Vivek Badrinath, recently promoted to the executive leadership role for Orange Group Innovation, will help boost Orange’s capabilities in these areas.