This blog is by Thorsten Robrecht, VP at Nokia Networks, commenting on the new Partner Business Unit of Nokia Networks. Twitter: @trobrecht
Partnering for growth… You might think that says it all, but you’d be missing an important point. Partnering is our wake-up call! Why? Because the telco industry is at a turning point – boosted by virtualization – and partnering is our strategy to accelerate growth as telco goes IT.
Vendors and operators in the telco industry have traditionally been protective of their systems and businesses. The old philosophy of one company offering everything the customer needs has died along with the dinosaurs. A more open way of doing things was adopted, reflecting the fact that one size doesn’t fit all: customers demand choice.
Now, the accelerated pace of change in today’s world of communications demands we go even further. Much further. Innovation is coming at us from all directions – and in all telecom business and technology areas.
We need to bring the pace of change of the internet era to the telecoms world and we need to stay lean and agile. Let’s be realistic – no vendor can develop the best of everything in-house nor meet the market needs quick enough or cost-effectively. Trying to do so will slow innovation, which is the opposite of what is needed to help operators deliver the ever-better customer experience that will keep them competitive and profitable. Our agility has been hard won through a sharply focused portfolio and flexible organization developed over the last years.
Right now is exactly the moment for the telco industry to open up and do things differently. Nokia Networks dares to go where no other vendor has gone before – opening our doors for the benefit of our partners and customers, as well as for ourselves, of course.
New era of collaboration
To make the change, we’re creating a new Partner Business Unit where we take the lead in shaping how companies in the telco world will collaborate in the future. This business will be a focal point for our growing network of partners and will be responsible for a new way of working with them. In short, we are introducing unprecedented openness and opportunity.
We are starting to work with new as well as existing partners in 4 different ways, some evolutionary and some more revolutionary. We are calling these 4 ways "Extend", "Embed", "Plug In" and "Channel".
Extend: We add market-leading partner products and services alongside our portfolio to extend more complete solutions to operators, without compromising our quality requirements. Certifying partners to work with us will create integrated solutions that are fully tested, fully functional and fully supported.
Embed: We embed partner products and components into our portfolio to strengthen our offering. This enables us to tap innovation of specialists in their fields, also from outside our industry, to offer operators unique capabilities in optimizing their customers’ experience. We take advantage of our selected partners’ best-of-breed technology building blocks inside our products rather than developing an in-house alternative.
Plug In: We are opening up some previously internal Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to allow our partners – potentially even our competitors – to plug in their hardware or software modules. This will encourage true cross-industry innovation in a way not seen before. Operators will also be able to easily implement their own innovations, something that closed interfaces make difficult. Our Liquid Applications which puts an IT server inside the base station, for example, is open to run third-party applications that can give an operator a compelling competitive edge.
Channel: In a very new approach for us, our selected partners will include our solutions and innovations into their portfolios, so they build the best value propositions and address markets in which we are not yet active.
Extreme innovation awaits
Changing to such a highly open approach is very attractive to third parties. Our partners will gain the support of our global presence and services to help them win new business: in effect, our customer base becomes a new market opportunity for them. Smaller companies and even start-ups without the resources to scale up to tackle international markets will now be able to confidently win business from our global customer base, with our backing and support to ensure robust, long-term performance for our customers. Think of the extreme innovation this alone will bring to the market.
We continue to strengthen development and innovation efforts in specific business areas and technologies where we make a difference. And in those areas where partners excel, we extend, embed or plug in into our business to ensure agility and flexibility.
But we’re not changing everything. We’re not changing our commitment to quality – in fact, we’re demanding that our partners achieve the exact same levels of excellence. And we’re not changing our drive for innovation – we’re accelerating it. We’re forcing the pace of change, pioneering the adoption of internet-age practices adapted to a carrier-grade world. We’re focusing our expertise on the areas that we do best and where we can make the biggest difference. We are bringing the power, learning and mass-creativity of the internet age to advance our telecoms world.
Welcome to the new era of collaboration!
To share your thoughts on partnering, join the discussion with @NokiaNetworks using #NetworksPerform.