Enterprise & OTT Services

April 15, 2013

Over-The-Top services is a big topic in the mobile operator industry due to the negative effects on networks and revenues. If you reflect on what’s been written and said, most of the discussions don’t explicitly segment consumer and enterprise. If we were to separate the differences between these two markets, the major buckets would look something like this:

Consumer Behavior

  • Cost optimize as much as possible with a goal of a free service (such as Skype)
  • Will defer certain broadband behavior or actions (use of free Wi-Fi hotspots to offset impact on plans)
  • Unpredictable quality… is acceptable

Enterprise Behavior, though influenced by consumer demand for ease-of-use, focus more on:

  • Cost optimization
  • IT Services are important
  • All actions are urgent and/or immediate
  • Quality must be consistent, good and highly predictable and repeatable
  • Keep it simple, or new devices, applications or services will not be used or adopted

The behavioral drivers are the opportunity cost of time and brand identity. Enterprise users want high quality mobile services that work, with no limitations, wherever they are.

There are a number of examples of enterprise behavior to illustrate these points:

  • RCR TV – Telecom Talent Wars webinar series on Go-To-Meeting where a number of the participants, even though they are stationary at computers, are using cellular for the audio and wired broadband for connectivity. Personally, I most often use my mobile for audio, both to show respect for viewers, and other participants, and to protect my personal brand by having quality audio.
  • Apple’s iMessage has been a runaway success in the Enterprise because it was implemented underneath the SMS interface. This translated into traffic shift to OTT without the device owners being involved because of Apple’s dominance in the enterprise. It also is critical to note that even though iMessage is an island, the iOS device falls back to SMS when it talks to a non-iOS device, without any actions required by the person sending the text message.

Mobile operators have less to be concerned about with OTT communications services in the enterprise because the tools usually require the device owners to install something new and train themselves on it. Deploying new tools, and getting their usage ingrained into an organization is one of the hardest tasks in enterprise IT. If the OTT tool replicates a consumer grade communication feature of the mobile device, and is not a mandatory part of daily workflow in the person’s role, chances of success are low. There may be islands of OTT, but moving everyone is extremely hard.

At SpiderCloud, we have adopted a similar philosophy to services with the view that any Unified Communication should become a “Clientless UC” experience where the consumer interface integrates to the enterprise platform. By taking this path, enterprise IT has little of the OTT support burdens that greatly reduce success in the present UC strategies.

Many enterprise device owners will continue to be very resistant to adopting multiple tools. Enterprise IT, when presented with service packages that allow the consumer interfaces to accomplish functions that OTT solves for, will approve those packages instead of using Capex funding to build and run the OTT services themselves.

The important thing to remember is that “a new and more important role is emerging for mobile operators where enterprise mobility and value-added IP services is part of the ‘package.’ Mobile is the heartbeat of any organization, and wireless is the digital oxygen that our devices breathe at home and on the road.”

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @EMobilityInside
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