During the recent AT&T Analyst Conference, we analysts were all treated to 2 great shows – a tour of Yankee Stadium’s ICT systems (followed by an opportunity to watch the Yankees beat the Royals) and Kevin Peter’s annual spectacle of spherical geodesic references to make sure we all got one thing straight – AT&T’s network delivers value. 

Following last year’s event, I referred to the clear presence of AT&T Labs innovations (http://blogs.forrester.com/henry_dewing/10-05-24-att_business_solutions_drives_technological_innovation_practical_use) delivering value to customers. Keith Cambron, President and CEO of AT&T Labs, focused more this year on the importance, value, and urgency of the IPV6 transition, before Kevin delivered another rousing speech declaring “IT’S THE NETWORK!” more frequently and more emphatically as he went. While Kevin’s presentation was all style, he is a serious technology executive having received a master's degree in Information and Technology Management from the Stevens Institute of Technology. Kevin’s stump speech was followed by technical topics and serious presentation styles that illuminated his points. 

John Donovan, AT&T’s CTO, settled the audience down describing AT&T plans to deliver solutions using

  • AT&T’s Network as a ubiquitous, reliable, intelligent platform.
  • AT&T’s Cloud featuring multitenant, location aware, interoperable services.
  • AT&T’s Software meeting business and industry demands for value.

All of this to be delivered via an exciting portfolio of devices and endpoints that invite customers to experience the difference that the AT&T network is designed to provide.

I have heard carriers ranging from Orange to Telstra espouse the power and value of their network and have heard the top solution providers from Akamai to Google talk about how to eliminate the issues networks create.  Some network providers, like Amdocs and Ericsson, are delivering more and more robust OSS/BSS and even network operations managed services – eliminating the carriers role as platform.  Some carriers are focusing on delivering pure transport and networking services, focusing on developing a stable of partners to deliver business services.

In the end, business buyers will determine what constitutes value – and I plan to begin investigating that issue with an eye on publishing a research report at the end of the year about the value of networks and hyperconnectivity in a cloud economy.  If you would like to contribute to this research or have a strong feeling about it – please let me know at HDewing@Forrester.com, on Forrester’s Vendor Strategy Professional community pages (http://community.forrester.com/message/13677#13677), or in the comments section below.  I look forward to advancing the conversation with you.