NTT is prioritising the delivery of ‘high-value’ services across Asia Pacific in 2020 through a deepened focus on the core segments of software, cloud, consulting and globally delivered support offerings.
Wrapped up as a premium managed services package, the global system integrator (GSI) is also placing cross-sell high on the agenda, with plans in place to sell across the entire portfolio to customers currently engaging with legacy brands such as Dimension Data and NTT Communications.
“We see immense growth potential in managed services as enterprises continue to embrace the flexibility in selecting technologies and processes suited to their business with a cost-effective, on-demand service wrap,” outlined John Lombard, CEO of Asia Pacific of NTT.
Asia Pacific has been cited as the fastest growing managed services market in the world with Lombard attributing such growth to the increasing complexity of enterprise technology systems and tools.
“We will also continue to invest in our existing strengths, such as to integrate and globalise our core data centre business and grow our security business into a market leader,” he added.
From an internal perspective, the technology provider is also adopting a shared services model at both regional and global levels, designed to benefit from economies of scale. Centralisation efforts will span departments such as HR, marketing and IT, in addition to legal, finance, procurement and the Digital Proposal Centre (DPC), in an effort to reduce duplication while improving cost efficiency and productivity.
”We have extensive capabilities in end-to-end ICT solutions and services, as well as a strong focus and investment in innovations,” said Lombard, when speaking to Channel Asia. “NTT can offer our clients greater value through stronger brand strength using local expertise.”
In parallel however, Lombard said NTT continues to work closely with customers across the region to address individual challenges related to the Covid-19 outbreak, ramping up business continuity planning and implementation procedures in the process. Central to this is providing a continuity of service at enterprise level, alongside enhancing security measures and extending services capabilities to aid user response efforts.
Through Covid-19, and the rising challenges impacting CIOs, NTT’s ‘high-value’ customer commitment is already being put to the test in Asia Pacific, acknowledged Lombard.
“NTT’s critical business processes and information resources have formally developed business continuity plans that ensure prompt and effective continuation of critical services in the event of a disruption of service,” he explained. “They identify and document the priorities, procedures, responsibilities and resources to assist the organisation in managing a disruptive incident, while implementing continuity and recovery strategies to a pre-determined level of service.”
Lombard said the provider’s global delivery centres, network operations centres, data centres and security operations centres are all operating as normal, albeit with strict staff schedules and restrictions in place.
Housing a 40,000-strong global workforce, NTT has employees operating in more than 70 countries delivering services to over 200 nations across the world. Aligned to government advice, the business has implemented work from home policies if applicable, in addition to deploying split-shift workforce patterns in critical operations centres.
“Staff can securely access the NTT systems, platforms and data they need to be able to continue to do their jobs and are supported by world-class collaboration tools,” Lombard added. “We’re also extending services for clients to minimise the impact of the disruption on their organisations. Providing secure remote working, digital events and meetings and remote client experience platforms and supply chain management.”
‘Data, edge and security’
Aside from addressing the immediate impact of Covid-19, Lombard said CIOs remain focused on ensuring long-term growth through a commitment to “data, edge and security”.
“Edge processing is having a pervasive impact on the industry,” he explained. “Currently, we already seen massive changes on the edge that are dynamically transforming the technology landscape, which includes 5G, Wi-Fi 6, the Internet of Things and audio-visual technology. There will be a profound impact on how we design and run everything, with a value derived from new data collected and processed.”
Meanwhile, Lombard said data “has and will continue to become the centre of the IT universe”.
“Organisations that don’t build disciplines around data will find themselves swamped by its scale,” he cautioned. “Data strategies must consider architecture for capturing and managing data, then make it widely accessible to create new value.
“This opens up new frontiers, where extreme data and applied technology explodes to bridge the digital and physical, bringing exciting ‘phygital’ intersections.”
A recent case in point is NTT’s work with Major League Baseball (MLB), with the provider’s Ultra Reality Viewing (URV) technology helping create a new fan experience where audiences can view sports content as if they were watching it live - a feature that is perhaps more widely required in the age of Covid-19.
“Data modelling will encompass all systems and processes, with application into areas previously unthinkable at speed previously unforeseen,” Lombard added. “Large-scale data will also allow new technologies to enable greater predictive capabilities and security.
“Cyber security is one of the first IT functions to harness the power of data together with machine learning, analytics and artificial intelligence [AI] to become more programmable and predictive for detection and prevention.”
Delving deeper, Lombard said that during 2020, hybrid will become a reality for most large-scale organisations, in a move which will see everything used in the context of the "merits and strengths" of each architecture. The aim, according to Lombard, is to form a truly hybrid computing model.
“Computing model evolution raises big questions on the impact of applications, workload and the broader business,” he said. “The answers will inform important decisions about investment, operations, security and skills.”
In contrast however, Lombard acknowledged that customers remain challenged when implementing an omni-channel strategy due to silo management. As a result, businesses must optimise multi-cloud environments to support the infrastructure and workflows behind customer journey management.
“Managed services leveraging automation, AI and machine learning will also address performance, cost and complexity challenges associated with multi-cloud,” Lombard outlined. “The shift from a multi-cloud to a hybrid cloud environment is likely to become a popular strategy with our customers but it will also create new challenges for them to manage data, infrastructure performance and cyber security.”
In response, Lombard cited software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) as “fundamental” in enabling hybrid cloud strategies in a cost-effective manner, without sacrificing application performance and end-user experience.
“The days of providing only system availability are gone, to be replaced with deeper and far more strategic engagements,” he added. “Technology providers are now required to do more than simply deliver a set of technology services.
“They are also expected to advance the transition and adoption of those services, ensuring they are used in the way they were intended to deliver the outcomes that were promised. By taking on more risks and accountability, providers demonstrate that they are playing a key role in making an impact on a business.”
Expansion in Asia
NTT unveiled the leaders tasked with spearheading market expansion across Asia Pacific in October 2019, amid a new era of regional growth.
As revealed by Channel Asia, the business announced 29 executive appointments in Asia Pacific, spanning two regional chiefs, 14 in-country directors, 11 business unit heads and two subsidiary leaders.
Heading up ASEAN is Singapore-based Kim-Meng Png, who is responsible for "strategic development and operations" across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines.
Naoki Wakai; Henrick Choo and Hendra Lesmana were appointed as in-country leaders of Singapore; Malaysia and Indonesia, while Aileen Rodriguez; Sutas Kongdumrongkiat and Hideki Tachi were handed the reins of power in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam respectively. In addition, Mizuho Tada heads up the company’s joint venture in Indonesia.
Other notable appointments included Alex Lu and Zhang JianMing as leaders of Mainland China; Steven Medeiros of Hong Kong; Jason Chung of Korea and Frank Liao of Taiwan. These leaders report to Taichi Hiramatsu who heads up North Asia.
Simon Gillespie heads up New Zealand, while Kiran Bhagwanani is in charge of India. Miguel Garcia is tasked with running DTSI and Vishal Bambha is leading Emerio.
The technology provider also made a string of appointments at a business unit level, including Wong Wen Ming as leader of Sales; Sarab Singh running Services; Stephen Wise heading up Consulting; Jan Wuppermann shaping Strategy and Business Operations; Manish Pratap as MS go-to-market lead and Esther Quah spearheading Marketing.
Earlier this year, NTT Myanmar also officially launched as a business following a multimillion-dollar capital investment, a new wholesale government licence and the opening of an office in Yangon.
“With the integration, our clients have access to a full suite of solutions, services, expertise and skills including global networking, data centre and cybersecurity under a single, unified NTT brand,” Lombard added. “The integration also helps streamline operations, as well as improve response rate and service quality from the planning phase to build phase and run phase.
“For our employees, this is a lifetime opportunity as we bring together ideas, people, and technology to create a better, sustainable world and to enable a more secure, connected future.”
Meanwhile, NTT recently rolled out a new Cloud Communications division designed to drive customer adoption of workplace solutions at enterprise level.
Previously under the banner of Arkadin - acquired by the GSI in early 2014 - the dedicated business unit specialises in the provision of services related to unified communications, cloud voice and digital events, backed by tailored end-to-end consulting and change management offerings.
Under the command of London-based Mark Alexander as CEO, the newly created senior leadership team also includes Dr Fiona Lodge as chief product and strategy officer and Jean Turgeon as chief technology and information officer.
Tasked with working closely with existing regional and go-to-market teams, Dr Lodge is responsible for aligning with strategic vendors such as Microsoft and Cisco to create a workplace transformation strategy for global customers. Meanwhile, Turgeon is charged with leading services adoption both internally and externally with customers, while ensuring service level agreements, security and compliance standards are adhered to.
Closer to home, Singapore-based Sean Kwek assumed the position of managing director of Asia Pacific and Japan, leveraging more than a decade of experience at Arkadin across the region.