Three years ago, Orange Business Services announced its 'Conquests 2015' strategy for high growth in several areas, one of which being to generate revenues of €1 billion ($1.34 billion) in emerging markets. CNME catches up with its MEA GM, Jean-Luc Lasnier, to see what part this region is playing in that plan.
How long has Orange Business Services been operating in the region?
Orange has been operating with a presence in the region for more than 20 years, and more than 50 years in Africa. But the latest chapter of the story really began in June 2006, when France Telecom rebranded all of its global B2B operations under the Orange brand, and instilled the Orange values into the new global B2B organisation, including greater customer focus, simplicity and ease of doing business, with a single point of contact and billing. Since then, growth across the region — with a strategic focus on the markets of the UAE, KSA, Turkey and Qatar — has been very solid and sustainable. However, to support the goals of Conquest 2015, we need to accelerate this growth strongly, and have been looking at three main areas to help drive the business forward through a classic marketing approach — with a focus on the go-to-market strategy for the region, defining and refining the appropriate service portfolio, and defining and segmenting target markets.
What is the company's current strategy in the Middle East?
Our go-to-market routes are adapted to each of our focus markets. We sometimes go direct and sometimes through partners, such as Etisalat in the UAE. Orange operates in a 'co-peting' environment, sometimes partnering and competing with organisations and channels — so Orange serves some business customers directly and others through partners. With telcos in the region, the relationship can be more complex and multifaceted; we may be selling our network and services to them and through them, and the partners sometimes jointly invest with us in infrastructure, such as submarine cables.
What services do you offer, and where?
We continue to serve our traditional MNC customers, such as those in the key verticals of oil and gas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), mining, banking and finance, industry, and offering network/IT infrastructure and data centre services. Our new customer segments in the region, such as new smart cities, bring a clear focus on to the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, where there are especially large investments being made. In terms of services for MNCs, Orange covers IT and telecoms, and network services, such as telepresence and VOIP — Orange has the license to offer VOIP in the UAE — and data centres. In terms of markets, the regional markets are maturing and there are increasing concerns about IT security, following some high profile cyber attacks recently.
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