Transcript for Putting the CIO Back in Control of Their UC Strategy. A Discussion with Anthony Bartolo of Tata Communications
Jim Burton: Welcome to UCStrategies Executive Insights. This is Jim Burton, and I am joined today by Anthony Bartolo, President of Collaboration and Mobility Services at Tata Communications. Welcome, Anthony.
Anthony Bartolo: Thanks, Jim. It's great to be here.
Jim Burton: I have been doing some research for this podcast and realized that I didn’t know a lot about Tata Communications. Maybe you can help educate us on the larger Tata organization and then get us into a little more detail about Tata Communications.
Anthony Bartolo: Thanks, Jim, I appreciate the opportunity. I will try and be as brief as I can, given that the Company's history is some 140 years old. We are a $108 billion conglomerate that is made up of some 100 companies with a lot of household names that include Jaguar, Land Rover, Tetley Tea, Tata Consulting Services, which many would be familiar with, and a series of other companies including media, etc., and operating companies.
One of those companies is Tata Communication, which I represent. What Tata Communications does is we have some 710,000 kilometers of fiber and sub-sea and terrestrial fiber around the world. We circumnavigated the world. We can travel the world in less than 140 milliseconds all the way around. That means I am 70 milliseconds away from anywhere in the world. We have a very low latency network that's 100 percent and wholly owned by Tata Communications. We are the partner or our customers are some 1,600 telcos that leverage us. So when a telco, your local telco, needs to go outside of their geography to look global,they use us. As a result, 24 percent of the world's Internet routes come across our network. So we have a great purview of what's going on, what’s trending, and some one in ten international calls are done on our network worldwide. We connect some four out of five global mobile subscribers around the world. We have reach some 99.7 percent of the world's GDP using our network. It’s quite vast, as you would say.
Jim Burton: You mentioned mobility. I understand that you really are very, very involved… certainly it’s in your title, by the way. But you are very involved in the mobile market worldwide. In fact, someone described it to me once that you actually provide the backbone for a lot of the mobile service providers around the world. Can you discuss that a little bit?
Anthony Bartolo: Yeah. Actually chances are when you roam to where you are right now, we enabled that connectivity. I had mentioned before when somebody roams or uses their mobile phone outside of their home location, four out of five times, we would make that connection. We would recognize that you have moved out of that location. We would authorize the connectivity to your visiting carrier. That’s as a result of our reach with our carrier customers. Of the 800 or so MNOs around the world, we have customers with I believe all of them when it comes to their mobile network operations. This is something that we do on a regular basis. It is a core competency that we have. As we see mobility start to move up the mind share of a CIO, they start to come to us and look for differing solutions to help them.
Some of those additional solutions are solutions such as messaging. We aggregate messaging around the world. There is quite a large rise on application-to-person messaging, which we do a tremendous amount of. We aggregate. We can terminate with a high percentage and around the world; which is really important particularly for mission critical applications, whether it's notifications, or two-factor authentication. These are things that we do on a regular basis for our customers. We do that in aggregate on a global basis and not just within a singular geography.
Jim Burton: That’s great. As you can imagine, there will be questions about Unified Communication Strategies, that’s because that is our title; that’s who we are. But before I get into that, let me get into another area that is just such a hot topic in an area that I know you cover well, that is, SIP trunking. Give us some background about what you have to offer customers around the world with your SIP trunking and your voice over IP-type services.
Anthony Bartolo: Sure, it is a favorite topic of ours and of mine personally. Actually, it was the topic that moved me from a vendor to an operator. Because I found that as a vendor and as most CIOs would recognize, when they are trying to deploy a UC solution on a global basis, deploying a UC solution in one geography – yes, there is complexity associated with it. But that complexity is multiplied or magnified tremendously when you go across multiple jurisdictions where your local carrier can’t take you any longer, and they leave it up to your own devices to create that connectivity around the world.
What tends to happen is you then have to move into negotiating with the multiple carriers in different locations around the world. I felt that it would be quite powerful if you could create a singular global SIP offering where it’s one service that covers multiple countries around the world. In our case, we cover 94 percent of the world's GDP, where we can terminate long distance traffic, we can provide the phone numbers, and we provide a singular service level agreement on a singular contract. And more importantly or as important quite frankly, a singular operating procedure. If you can imagine what’s has been happening with SIP services today is the savvy CIO goes off and recognizes a SIP could actually give them much more flexibility and somewhere in between 30 and 50 percent savings that would help them fund their UC transformation. Then they have to go off and negotiate with a carrier in every single country that they are present. That is actually no mean feat.
Even if you are able to achieve that feat, there is no way you could get a single service level agreement that is consistent or on a single contract; or the operating procedure is going to be different depending on which carrier you are using. It becomes quite complex. What we did is we centralized the complexity and we distributed the simplicity of actually picking up a global SIP offering.
That has been growing quite substantially for us. Because a lot of CIOs, multinational company CIOs, see that as plug-and-play UC connectivity, which is quite powerful. Once they have that connectivity, then plugging in the solution that they've deemed appropriate for their organization is simplified tremendously.
Jim Burton: Well, you actually have started into my next question, and that’s what you do to help the CIO develop and implement their Unified Communications and collaboration strategy. But I am sure you have got more to talk about how you help them, because there are so many of these companies that are all over the globe. Even if they are in another part of the world from one location, and maybe they have only got two major locations, it seems like you are in a really good position to help them develop a UC strategy, and then deploy, and implement it.
Anthony Bartolo: We have two fundamental principles. One is take a holistic approach or a holistic perspective when it comes to deploying your UC strategy or really your applications. What are you trying to deploy? Are you trying to deploy a contact center application or an IP telephony application, or a unified conference application? Or, it could be a video conferencing application.
We tend to, as technologists, we tend to look at just the application. We look at the up time of that application. But we should – we often neglect the fact that application sits on top of a data center that rides on top of SIP trunking; and that rides across APLS or IP. Or, it rides on top of fiscal transport. They miss the context of that stack. They just focus at the top layer application. But if you really think about it, whether the application goes down or any one of those elements underneath go down, the same result happens to the end constituent.
We believe in taking that holistic perspective. When we offer the services to our partners or CIO customers, it is all encompassing. It is that full stack; which is quite important to consider. A, for simplicity and B, for service level agreement perspective; and C, the cost efficiencies associated with that.
Then the second philosophy is modularity. We are very big on (that) it is really important how something is deployed. Because it determines how it is consumed. If you deploy something in a modular manner, it allows the CIO to deploy their UC strategy. Every CIO from a multinational has a UC strategy, otherwise they would not be a multinational. You must have some type of communication and collaboration strategy to get you where you are. If you want to transform or enhance that particular strategy; if somebody is asking you to rip and replace everything, and therefore by default you are adopting someone else's UC strategy in order to make the transformation. Or, can you take a particular module or consume the pieces to execute your UC strategy?
We go by the letter. We are fairly agnostic. We package each of our solutions in a way that you can consume them as one separate entity. Or you can consume the whole lot. It’s up to the CIO and the strategy they are trying to deploy. More importantly, what their constituents can consume themselves. Sometimes the best of technologies don’t really get accepted too well if the culture of your entity is not as accepting as you would hope them to be. It is important to be flexible and be modular based on their capacity to accept the solution you are deploying.
Jim Burton: Yeah, I would agree with that. But one of the other areas that I think is important too is we are seeing Skype for Business get a lot of traction. I understand that you actually can provide those services around the world as well.
Anthony Bartolo: Yeah. We see the same traction. It is a tremendous amount of traction. I think Skype for Business offers the potential to have that full integrated stack within an enterprise. We have deployed, well, the first global Skype for Business offering, as I said, on a global basis. Multinationals have locations obviously around the world. But they are also quite acquisitive, also quite inorganic. They could be acquisitive, or they could dispose of assets pretty quickly.
Having a solution that allows you to quickly adapt when your Boardroom makes a decision on an acquisition and allowing you to add users quite quickly on a global basis… or turn up a site pretty quickly without deploying significant CapEx, is actually quite powerful. We have deployed that global Skype for Business on top of that network I just articulated a little bit earlier of the 710,000 kilometers of fiber that provide the capillarity to this. Very few places around the world we cannot reach. That lends itself pretty well for something that is globally popular as Skype for Business.
Jim Burton: This brings us to the question of if I am a CIO; and I would really would be interested because I have got a global presence, how do I engage with Tata Communications?
Anthony Bartolo: There are multiple ways, but the best way is to probably reach out to your sales representation. The chances are we are in a country that you exist today. We also have a series of partners. Those partners may be resellers or systems integrators. We are not really a huge marketing machine.
We are so used to partnering and enabling others to offer full stack solutions that we partner pretty strongly. It is in our DNA. A lot of our products are white label enabled. Reach out to your local constituent in your geography. They can either point you to a partner that can serve your needs the best. Or, it could be a direct relationship which we do for MNCs quite often.
Jim Burton: Well, I know that Tata Communications is going to be at the UC Summit. We have a lot of channel partners that will be there. I know that they are going through some big transitions right now from what they used to resell someone's product. They used to be an Avaya or a Nortel reseller. And this market is completely changed. Now they are moving into a state where they are a solutions integrator or a systems integrator providing managed and professional services. It looks to me like you are in the right position with that partner attitude and with the products to help them be more successful. I think you are going to find a really good audience. I look forward to spending some time with you at the Summit in a couple of weeks.
Anthony Bartolo: I do, too. I look forward to being there. I think that based on the response that we have been getting over the last, particularly the last couple of years, I think the offering definitely resonates. Look, the UC is going into a renaissance period now. I think we can see the benefits that it could bring to our constituents. Hence we are well deserving of that renaissance period.
Jim Burton: That’s great. Well, Anthony it sounds very exciting. I think there is a lot of things in the marketplace that you are well positioned to help customers with. As you mentioned, helping CIOs develop and deploy their UC strategy. Thank you very much for your time today. I look forward to seeing you at the Summit.
Anthony Bartolo: Great, I look forward to it, too.