Speaking at the 2016 Telecom Review Summit, Gary Heffernan, senior managing director for Communications, Media & Technology, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America at ‎Accenture, gave a thoughtful keynote speech about disruption within the Communications industry.

He said: “There is no doubt that with the disruption and change that is going on around the industry, consumers have different and changing expectations of Communications Service Providers (CSPs).  I think the proliferation and explosion of devices, the explosion of consumption, and the explosion of experiences, creates a massive business upside for them, but only if they start to scale capabilities that will change their game on their customer experience.”

“I believe in the need to inject new DNA – being digital capability - in CSPs’ organizations - a change that is absolutely critical as we think about the next generation of telecommunications,” Mr. Heffernan told delegates at the Summit. He added that there is “great opportunity” in what he calls “B2B 2.0”. Around the world, industries are crying out for innovation, and CSPs have the opportunity to empower enterprises with connectivity as the IoT starts becoming reality, he said.

According to Heffernan, the Communications, Media and Technology industries are providing the majority of game-changing technology and innovation. If we’re going to seize the “B2B 2.0” opportunity, he explained – whether that’s in SME’s or large corporates – we need more of the thinking that was highlighted at the Summit.

This includes collaboration with governments, creating the right investment climate, and becoming more pro-active in orchestrating the eco-system, whether that’s with start-ups or whether that’s with new innovators. These factors are “crucial” said Heffernan.

“In relation to the ongoing changes in the Communications industry, you can see that some European CSPs now believe that they’re going to be in the banking business,” Heffernan explained. “You look at companies like Orange, who have announced their intention to be a key player in mobile banking: they have already established “Orange Money” in the Middle East & Africa and now want to take what they’ve done there to other parts of the world.

“I think what’s happening with VOD and OTT is worrying for these industries, but I think CSPs need to be very thoughtful in what areas they’re going to play – and making sure they’ve got the vertical capabilities, the security capabilities, and the aggregator capabilities to be successful in whatever bets they choose.”

Discussing Dubai’s smart city transformation, Heffernan noted that there is clearly a “lot of vision” in the region – particularly with Dubai’s ability to attract talent. Right now, he said, the Communications industry needs leaders, not administrators: “Leaders that are going to have a vision and have the courage to try new things, and the courage to really transform their capabilities.” The capabilities of the last 20-30 years will “not be enough to transform any telecoms operator into a digital visionary.”

It’s absolutely crucial, Heffernan said, for CSPs to make the right investments in training and capability, and create the right environment for investment. “I truly believe that the key driver between success and failure will be talent,” said Heffernan. He also emphasized, “the ability to nurture, retain and unleash talent, even if it means challenging all the fundamental assumptions in your organization.”

At HUAWEI CONNECT 2016 Huawei and Accenture underscored the momentum of their existing alliance agreement and expanded on their future goals. The two companies jointly provide verified enterprise SAP and Oracle cloud solutions which are based on Huawei FusionCloud solution for global enterprise customers' core applications to provide one-stop service.

As companies continue to manage ever more complex business environments, organizations are increasingly recognizing the enormous benefits of cloud and cloud-based solutions. Cloud computing has become a key contributor to agility and market competitiveness for these organizations.

Two years ago the companies formed a strategic alliance in order to address clients' cloud requirements and provide better cloud solutions. The alliance leverages Huawei's extensive experience in ICT infrastructure, and Accenture's capabilities in consulting, systems integration and outsourcing. Over the past two years, experts from Huawei and Accenture have worked side by side to develop enterprise cloud solutions to help clients reduce large capital investment in IT and meet flexible and scalable system requirements.

The successful cooperation between Huawei and Accenture is getting wide recognition from clients and the global market. Huawei and Accenture joint solutions have been applied to organizations from a variety of industries (such as finance, resource, telecommunications, media, manufacturing and government, etc.,) to improve their business competitiveness.

  • At Guangdong Cable, a Radio and television industry leader, Huawei and Accenture helped deploy an integrated budget management planning and support system.
  • In the resource industry, the joint team helped a large state-owned enterprise define its data center strategy, and design its cloud-based data center architecture.
  • At a communications service provider, the Huawei and Accenture strategic alliance team successfully helped fundamentally revamp the company's campaign management system. Enabling them to achieve extensive insights, initiate actions and improve monetization in an efficient and cost effective manner in the highly competitive business environment.

In 2016, Huawei and Accenture strategic alliance leveraged solution centers in Shenzhen, Milan and Manila where clients can develop solutions for specific requirements and better understand the end-to-end business benefits delivered through a cloud strategy. In addition, at Solium, a digital technology company integrated within the Accenture Cloud Business Group for Iberia, work is underway with Huawei on SAP/HANA, enabling consumption-based as-a-service cloud models with the primary client base being the financial services industry in Spain.

Huawei and Accenture will continue to focus on helping enterprise clients accelerate their digital transformation through cloud-based solutions. The alliance works to drive Community Clouds, IO Cost Take Out, and SAP/Oracle solutions on an enterprise cloud platform. With utmost sensitivity to data privacy and security, Huawei and Accenture strategic alliance solutions will optimize clients IT workload, reduce cost and leverage competitive advantages.

HUAWEI CONNECT 2016 was attended by over 20,000 industry leaders who discussed how to build a Better Connected World, and how to promote digital transformation in industries. 

Insider data theft and malware attacks top the list of the most significant concerns for enterprise security executives, a new report from Accenture and HfS Research reveals. Of those surveyed, a majority (69 percent) of respondents experienced an attempted or successful theft or corruption of data by insiders during the prior 12 months, with media and technology organizations reporting the highest rate (77 percent).

This insider risk will continue to be an issue, with security professionals' concerns over insider theft of corporate information alone rising by nearly two-thirds over the coming 12 to 18 months. Additionally, the research shows that a budget shortage for hiring cyber-security talent and well-trained employees is hindering the ability of organizations to properly defend themselves against these attacks.

The survey, "The State of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust 2016'", was conducted by HfS Research on behalf of Accenture. More than 200 C-level security executives and other IT professionals were polled across a range of geographies and vertical industry sectors. The survey examined the current and future state of cyber-security within the enterprise and the recommended steps to enable digital trust throughout the extended ecosystem. The findings indicate that there are significant gaps between talent supply and demand, a disconnect between security teams and management expectations, and considerable disparity between budget needs and actual budget realities.

"Our research paints a sobering picture. Security leaders believe threats are not going away, in fact they expect them to increase and hinder their ability to safeguard critical data and establish digital trust," said Kelly Bissell, senior managing director, Accenture Security. "At the same time, while organizations want to invest in advanced cyber technologies, they simply don't have enough budget to recruit or train skilled people to use that technology effectively. To better manage this security problem, businesses will need to work in tandem with the extended enterprise ecosystem - business units, partners, providers and end users - to create an environment of digital trust."

Despite having advanced technology solutions, nearly half of all respondents (48 percent) indicate they are either strongly or critically concerned about insider data theft and malware infections (42 percent) in the next 12 to 18 months. When asked about current funding and staffing levels some 42 percent of respondents said they need more budget for hiring cyber-security professionals and for training. More than half (54 percent) of respondents also indicated that their current employees are underprepared to prevent security breaches and the numbers are only slightly better when it comes to detecting (47 percent) and responding (45 percent) to incidents.

The report identified five significant gaps disrupting the ability of enterprises to effectively prevent or mitigate well-organized and targeted cyber attacks, including:

  • Talent: Thirty-one percent list either lack of training or staffing budget as their single biggest inhibitor to combating attacks.
  • Technology: Firewalls and encryption top the list of the most important technologies to combat cyber threats, but the largest increase in deployments anticipated in the next 12 to 18 months are in the areas of cognitive computing and AI (31 percent) and data anonymization (25).
  • Parity: An enterprise is only as secure as its least secure partner, yet only 35-57 percent of all enterprises said they assess ecosystem partners for cyber integrity and preparedness, with BPO partners being the least vetted and credit partners being the most vetted.
  • Budget: Seventy percent cite a lack of, or inadequate, funding for either cybersecurity technology or security talent, including training.
  • Management: While 54 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that cybersecurity is an enabler of digital trust for consumers, 36 percent believe that their executive management considers cybersecurity an unnecessary cost.

"While the gaps we identified can be overcome, they do collectively underscore the need for an inherently different approach, one that includes more robust risk management measures and the development of digital trust," said Fred McClimans, research vice president, Digital Trust and Cybersecurity, HfS Research. "There is an important opportunity to address these gaps by rethinking how digital trust and security can be holistically woven into the enterprise fabric through the integration of automation and AI solutions as well as through business partnerships and processes."

Accenture launched its Digital Acceleration Center in Dubai Internet City, which will support the United Arab Emirates' vision for a nation powered by innovation, digitization and smart technology by helping with the creation of digital companies.

The Digital Acceleration Center will showcase next-generation software and hardware technologies that are blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds and redefining the user experience, such as advanced analytics, wearable technology, network systems, robotics and the Internet of Things.  In doing so, the center will empower companies to quickly achieve their vision of becoming a digital business and ultimately help them enhance their customers' experiences.

By combining the excellence of Accenture's services and solutions-including leading capabilities in digital marketing, mobility and analytics-with its deep industry knowledge, the Digital Acceleration Center will help Accenture's clients in the region accelerate their path to a digital future. In addition to showcasing the latest innovations, the center will host tailored sessions for clients in which Accenture specialists will help them develop customized solutions based on the needs of a digital world, such as enhanced user experience, omni-channel delivery, connected products, data management and monetization, and other Internet of Things-based solutions.  These innovative solutions are aligned with the UAE's goal of becoming a smart, connected nation.

Accenture has been working with businesses, organizations and government entities across the region to help re-imagine how they serve their connected customers and operate their always-on enterprises.  At the Digital Acceleration Center, executives can explore new possibilities for transforming their companies with digital technology with industry experts. They will be able to interact with demonstrations of the latest services and solutions and better appreciate the potential of digital technology for their businesses.

Accenture's Digital Acceleration Center is located in Dubai Internet City, a part of TECOM. The center will be a digital innovation hotspot for regional organizations, positioned at the heart of this business ecosystem where it can foster conversations and facilitate connections to explore new ideas in smart technology, thereby boosting digital innovation.

The center will offer Accenture's clients access to industry solutions that capitalize upon the increasingly connected world. These include: Connected Workforce, which converts static procedures into more effective, step-by-step, multimedia-facilitated procedures enabling real-time feedback and more accurate digitally updatable documentation; Connected Health, which involves systematically applying healthcare IT to facilitate the accessing and sharing of information and to enable the subsequent analysis of health data across systems; and Connected Fashion, which enables users to control the design of specially made fashion garments via an application on their mobile device.

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Telecom Review Summit 2016

Digital Magazine

Feb 2017

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