We are currently building and operating Gujarat’s SWAN & SDC: Orange Business Services

Bala Mahadevan, CEO, Orange Business Services, India
Bala Mahadevan, CEO, Orange Business Services, India

“We are currently working with Gujarat Government – building and implementing their Wide Area Network and we will be operating their state data centers and wide area networks for the next five years,” says Bala Mahadevan, CEO, Orange Business Services, India. In conversation with Ankush Kumar, he shares the company’s expansion plans in the country and key projects with some of the state governments under Digital India programme.

Tell us about the presence of Orange Business Services on a global platform? Which geographical region would you term as a future cash cow for your business?

Orange is many things to many people in different countries. In France we are everything for everybody which means we are into enterprise and government. We are like the BSNL of India. We are into landline, mobile, DFL, city, government, defense and many others. If you go outside of France, in the home market, we are a big mobile player. Like if you go to Poland, we are one of the top two mobile players. This is the same thing in UK as well. In some of the other countries, you will find that Orange is known as a network service provider.

Africa is a big market for us and we are probably the strongest network player in that geography today. We recently even made some acquisitions in Africa. Africa stands out to us among the 220 countries as a deep investment turnaround.

What are the core businesses of your company? How do you see India as a market for your solutions?

We are a network service provider and that is our DNA. So as network service provide we have a large outreach very similar to our peers. We cover 220 countries and we have operations and workforce in 166 countries. We serve about 3,700 enterprise customers around the world. That is our network lineage.

Apart from that we are also a bank, Orange acquired a bank recently called Groupama bank along with which we now have a banking license. Mobile banking payment systems in Europe and Africa is very similar to those in India like Airtel money. We have named it Orange money and since a lot of telecom players need a bank to process various transactions so we are a bank ourselves now. Today we are a communications integrator which means it’s just about the network, it’s not about bandwidth and type sizes or tops and capillarity. It’s about what runs all around the network as a whole. Then we started to get into the communications integrator space where we would offer specific solutions in the areas of video, contact center solutions and managed services.

Today we are more than a telecom operator and IT integrator. We are right in the middle of digital transformation so our area of focus is expanding into various other areas such as data centers and cloud, opportunities where IT and networks converge very easily.

In India, we do not have any B2C operations but only have B2B starting in 2007. So in this B2B space in India we have the ILD/NLD and ISP license. We have 14 pops in India, NNI in India which is all that we have from the networks assets in India. Today our focus in India has expanded beyond network and we now play in the private sector as well in the public sector and is all B2B.

Tell us about your foray into smart cities. What opportunities do you see for Orange?

We started off few years back in this area and instead of looking at it as smart cities, we rather see it in a broader angle as Digital India. Smart city is just a small component of Digital India for us. So let me give you an example of what we do as a part of Digital India. There are states be it Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, we are building and operating state data centers at those places. The latest and the biggest one we are working on is at Gujarat. We are currently building and implementing their Wide Area Network as well as we will be operating their state data centers and wide area networks for the next five years. This is about data centers but if you take another angle of Digital India in security and surveillance solutions for example we have implemented surveillance systems for the Bihar police in the city of Patna. Another example as a part of digital India is the coal India. Orange is providing fleet management systems to help Coal India to track vehicles, reduce pilferage and increase efficiency

Could you elaborate more on your solutions being used in the Coal fields?

We are working with couple of coal fields out of many where we are deploying solutions which stitches together GPS, infrared cameras, automated mailing systems, invoicing applications and control centers which monitors the movements of these trucks to make sure they are not going all over the place. When we take Digital India, we could not get into the GDP but we have selected those areas where we have global assets. We provide solutions for all these sectors and then comes smart cities.

What are the areas you would be focusing in the next few years?

We have multiple businesses in India and one of them which is about the traffic network business which we have tripled over the last five to six years. We also have the SI business which we have tripled as well. Then we have over 2500 people in Orange in what we call our major support center in Gurgaon & Mumbai. They are responsible for the global delivery of our global customers’ network. So it’s very much like what a software company does where they have a global delivery model and here we use India’s advantage to deliver it to the world. So this is a different plan where we continue to invest in our backend delivery operations for the world from India. We are now doing R & D and lab work in India as well. So this has a different investment and a growth pattern. We expect to grow 20 percent every year in India and we expect to keep up with that pace throughout.

How do you see competition in the market ? What is the USP of Orange solutions ?

We have different competitors, especially on the system integrator side. The field is very competitive and what we don’t do is fill it with bandwidth anymore because it is commodity and if we look at customers, they are going through a digital transformation, changing their models. We not only deliver but do it in a safe and secure manner. Our USP is that we offer end to end solution for digital transformation from global network, internet hybrid network, cloud, security, contact centers and many more. If you get into contact center, we are not only able to aggregate traffic and deliver it all around the world but we work in the contact center and through our SI business we set up the contact center infrastructure and then we program it and also have people who run it efficiently. So it’s not just the last mile but we cover end to end to the last inch.

Anything significant that you are doing in area of data security?

We are doing a lot of work on security and it will always be part of our network. Last year security had been called out in Orange as a specific business unit in itself. Post that we have made several acquisitions in the security as the latest ones acquired are Atheos and Lexsi. So we basically provide security as a service, security audit, security infrastructure and implementation. We have the most robust threat assessment in the world. We carry the responsibility of security along with the network so we have to be ahead of the competition and it’s a vital part of our company’s growth.

Do you have a focus on start-up’s ?

We have specified funds for startups and we have put together many start-up and accelerator that we have invested in already. I would like to call out that we have recently made investment in bitcoin technology. It is also available in the public domain. In fact we have a specific set of companies in which we have invested in through our start-up programs.

Please Wait while comments are loading...