Smart Cities to drive ICT spending: Derek Hao, Huawei

By Nandita Singh

Technology spending among Indian companies is expected to grow significantly in 2016, says Derek Hao, Head of Solution Sales-South East Asia at Huawei in an interview with Voice&Data, while sharing how Huawei is poised to leverage the emerging opportunities in India.

Voice&Data: What are some of the notable changing needs and expectations of enterprises when making ICT purchase decisions, and how are you responding to those needs?

Derek Hao: Technology spending among Indian companies is expected to grow significantly in 2016, and we are very optimistic about the opportunities arising from this market.

India is one of the fastest growing markets in Asia and we are expecting initiatives like the Digital India, Smart Cities to drive ICT spending in 2016.

We  offer a broad portfolio of ICT solutions that cater to global vertical industry and enterprise customers across government and public sector, finance, education, ISP, power, energy, large enterprises and small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs). Our portfolio covers enterprise networking, cloud computing & data center, enterprise wireless, network energy and infrastructure services and unified communication and collaboration.

Voice&Data: What new opportunities and challenges do you see presented (for enterprises) by programs like “Make in India” and “Digital India”? How should that, in your view, shape the ICT buying decisions of enterprises?

Derek Hao: We are quite excited about the Indian Government’s initiatives like Digital India, Smart Cities, where Huawei has a global experience and we would like to contribute towards enabling this vision. Our Joint Innovation Solutions & Demo Center in Bengaluru is a testimony to Huawei’s commitment to partner in the Government of India’s Digital India vision by strengthening the ICT industries ecosystem in the country. It is the first such solutions, center for the industry offering comprehensive ICT solution benchmarking environment in India and resources that include Campus, Datacenter, Cloud Computing, ISP, IoT and all vertical solution to enable faster and timely POC. The center, through its Joint Solution Innovation program aims at enhancing customer experience by co-operating with Indian as well as global partners and providing localized solutions services and training support.

Building closer relationships with our clients in Indian markets is the key to understanding local market industry drives and business challenges so that we propose solutions that address their business needs. Huawei sharpened its competitiveness leveraging the innovation and integrated solutions and won increasingly wider recognition from customers. Key products and solutions, including video surveillance, safe city, cloud computing, storage, and agile networks, are being widely applied in Smart City, Finance, Education, and ISP markets around the globe.

Voice&Data: What are the key technology trends? How mature are the various “digital” themes of social, mobility, analytics and cloud now for the consumption of enterprises?

Derek Hao: Technology is moving at a rapid pace than ever and India’s ICT marketplace is seeing some significant shifts in the last few years. Social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and increasingly the Internet of Things have become driving forces behind the rapid evolution of digital businesses.

Some of the fast emerging themes that reflect the shifts being seen among the digital power players of tomorrow are:

  1. The Internet of Me is changing the way people around the world interact through technology, placing the end user at the center of every digital experience.
  2. At the same time, digital devices on the edge are powering an Outcome Economy and enabling a new business model that shifts the focus from selling things to selling results.
  3. The Platform (R)evolution reflects how digital platforms are becoming the tools of choice for building next-generation products and services—and entire ecosystems in the digital and physical worlds.
  4. The Intelligent Enterprise is making its machines smarter—embedding software intelligence into every aspect of its business to drive new levels of operational efficiency, evolution, and innovation.
  5. Advances in more natural human interfaces, wearable devices, and smart machines are extending intelligent technology to interact as a “team member,” working alongside employees in a Workforce Reimagined.

India is a significant market for Huawei and as a global ICT leader is well poised to address challenges faced by Indian ICT industry with products and solutions across verticals like BFSI, Power, ISP and Education.

Voice&Data: Considering the disruptions posed to businesses due to rapid digitization of the marketplaces, how do you work with enterprises to future-proof their ICT investments?

Derek Hao: In this evolving digital era, ICT has fully combined IT and CT, and is shifting from a support system that bolsters enterprise operations to a production system that drives business growth. This makes ICT a driving force rather than a hidden factor to business success, from business opportunity analysis to development platform innovation. To make customer business agile, Huawei incorporates new technologies, into a wide range of one-stop innovative ICT products and solutions, including agile network and collaboration. Huawei also teams up with ISVs to develop BDII-based, customer-centric solutions, driving ICT transformation across a variety of industries, such as Safe City, finance, energy, transportation, education, manufacturing, and ISP.

Digitization is bringing a more permanent change to the IT buying process, one that will create a far more complex sales environment for technology providers. Whereas responsibility for managing and maintaining a website can shift, organizations transforming work processes through digitization must retain authority over those processes. While this shift in buying power presents new opportunities for technology providers, most are not set up to sell to these new buyers.

By leveraging our strong R&D capabilities and comprehensive technical expertise, Huawei’s strategy in the enterprise domain focuses on close cooperation and integration with partners to deliver a wide range of highly efficient customer-centric ICT solutions and services that are based on a deep understanding of customer needs. In line with our strategy, we offer a broad portfolio of innovative ICT solutions that cater to global vertical industry and enterprise customers across government and public sector, finance, transportation, energy, large enterprises and Small and Midsize Enterprises (SMEs). Our portfolio covers enterprise networking, Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C), cloud computing & data center, enterprise wireless, network energy and infrastructure services.

Voice&Data: For enterprises, how good is a pay-as-you-go model versus the more traditional models like license-based? Should it be a combination of two? What would an ideal mix be like?

Derek Hao: As the technological landscape of the world slowly evolves, we are witnessing the popularity of newer and short term subscription models amongst individual users as well as a few smaller enterprises globally. While this short term version might have gained traction amongst the smaller organizations due to upfront return on investment and low capital expenditure, it is still the traditional model that is working well with a majority of the large enterprise clients by committing to longer term goals.

The difference between the two is fairly simple, where one involves an upfront/one time investment, the other model revolves around a periodic investment (usually at intervals of a year).

We at Huawei feel that the license based model is far more beneficial for larger organizations as it provides them with a secure storage facility along with a long term commitment that does not need constant attention from the enterprise.  We are also constantly innovating at Huawei to create innovative offerings that appeal to our clients.

For instance,

  • Huawei Cloud Computing Solution provides horizontal / vertical access, and data convergence. It reshapes the IT infrastructure of conventional data centers, helping enterprises to simplify management and create business value.
  • Huawei FusionSphere cloud operating system incorporates the virtualization platform and cloud management software, and implements unified operation and management.
  • Huawei FusionCube integrates computing, storage, and network resources in an out-of-the-box packaging. It implements end-to-end consolidation of underlying hardware and various upper-layer applications. It is easy to deploy and offers scalability.

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