Because of Orange's position and role as a telecoms operator and IT integrator, we cover the security of IT infrastructure from all perspectives, including data centres — the questions of where they are sited, how they are backed up, and the recovery strategy, are all part of what Orange does.
What are you doing differently in the growing smart cities space, and what are the challenges there?
Smart cities is a really interesting segment for Orange in the GCC, and this tends to be more localised customer businesses working with local developers and allowing Orange to explore two major areas in which we have an especially strong offer; M2M and e-health. In the Middle East, there are two major issues — security and water — and these are where Orange has really distinctive know-how. The Orange approach is only to go to market when we know we can deliver — for example, M2M and smart metering, where Orange has solid experience and capability — and our high levels of customer satisfaction reflect this approach.
What are you doing to capitalise on the opportunity of cloud in the Middle East?
Orange has recently launched a new CIO user group in the Middle East and the forum has already discussed cloud, an area in which the group's members have registered a lot of interest. But the region does not yet appear to be ready to invest in or develop this interest. The sense of giving up ownership of data is a concern, so the first step of outsourcing some elements like data centre recovery initially may be a starting point. These CIO customers have already outsourced their network to Orange, but it will take more time to build trust and confidence in cloud.
What does Orange Business Services offer in security and managed services?
These must be integrated and delivered as a service, and incorporated into the overall infrastructure, which is what Orange does with our MOFA clients, for example, who are especially tough on security. This is understandable when you consider the importance and sensitivity of their roles and the data they use.
What are you doing in Africa?
In Africa, Orange Business Services' business is performing very well with solid double digit growth and, in 2012, bandwidth was increased significantly. We have witnessed a significant increase in the average size of our deals, which are now more in the range of $10-15 million, and we have invested significantly in the MEA region to achieve this. We have been operating in Africa for 50 years and today Orange Business Services operates in 52 countries supporting MNCs in South Africa, principally because this is the preferred regional HQ location for around 70% of MNCs working in Africa. Orange supports the Sub Saharan market from South Africa and only sells where the business arises.
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