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November 8, 2023
At a press briefing in London, Orange Business ran through some wins in bespoke B2B technology deployments as an update to its ‘Lead the Future’ plan announced in February.
Aliette Mousnier-Lompré, CEO of Orange Business (pictured) led the briefing, alongside Usman Javaid, Chief Products and Marketing Officer, Orange Business, and Hriday Ravindranath, Chief Digital and Information Officer, Orange Business.
When it was announced back in February, the ‘Lead the Future’ strategic plan appeared to include a management shake-up and reduction, with the end goal being to ‘bring Orange Business back to market standards and profitable growth.’ It also targeted revenues of €1.3 billion in the cyber security market by 2025 through Orange Cyberdefense, and annual revenue growth of 7% between 2022 and 2025 as well as a ‘significant increase in profitability’ in Africa and the Middle East.
The key message from today seemed to be that it is progressing with these objectives, and is transforming itself from a B2B network player into a more broad technology provider, specifically an integrator.
Obviously there are a lot of firms that do things like that, but Orange positioned itself as ‘at the intersection between the telco world and IT world,’ – the inference being there are various benefits to having a foot in either camp when it comes to installing tech and connectivity upgrades to large businesses.
‘We intend to become the European leader in network and digital integration,’ said Mousnier-Lompré. ‘We are able to do this all over the world, including in times of crisis… we are in sweet spot that very few players worldwide are able to occupy.”
By way of illustration Orange provided a few examples of jobs they have picked up – though for some reason the names of the firms were kept secret. These included some component integration and end to end orchestration for a company in the food sector, a beverage firm who wanted to leverage AI to find out if its customers were happy, and some cloud and security deployments for a firm in the battery sector.
‘Orange business spotted very early the convergence between telco and IT worlds,’ added Mousnier-Lompré. The ‘three Cs’ – connectivity, cloud, and cyber security – were held up as the key pillars of their offering.
AI was another key theme that came out of the talk, with the firm eager to demonstrate how involved they are in the much-hyped sector. Orange business is one of few companies worldwide participating in Microsoft Copilot, apparently, and when building out AI functionality, the importance of looking at the infrastructure layer not just data layer was emphasised. The increasing use of AI will require more ultrafast connectivity than ever, as well as multi layered cyber security, and it will all need to be available in a self-service model via APIs, we were told.
‘We occupy the right sweet spot between telco and IT world,’ Mousnier-Lompré concluded, reiterating what it sees as it’s key differentiator, a point that was made once more during the Q and A session in which one member of the audience asked if they weren’t entering a bit of a bunfight in the IT integrator space.
A deal with VMware to deliver Flexible SD-WAN as part of it’s offering was also announced today. Of this, Jean-Noël Michel, vice president, Communication Services, Orange Business said: “In today’s digital-first business environment, the demand for a resilient, adaptable and secured network infrastructure has never been more critical. We welcome VMware on board Evolution Platform. Its SD-WAN offering will provide our customers with choice and interoperability, enabling them to build the ideal network for their business.”
The messages that Orange Business were keen to push today are that it is a heavy hitter in the B2B integrator space, and that it is delivering on its initial promise unveiled in the strategic plan in February. And it certainly seems to have a few recent and sizable customer deployments under its belt to demonstrate some of this – even if they did have to remain mysteriously unnamed.
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