blog The nation’s number two telco Optus and its subsidiary Alphawest has revealed that they recently helped shopping centre giant Mirvac ditch its fleet of BlackBerry mobile phones for an Apple iPhone replacement. You can check out a brief video published by Optus above with Mirvac chief information officer Shane Martin. Optus business industry manager of enterprise sales (NSW) Chris Kennett has also published a brief and somewhat thought-provoking blog entry on the blog of Optus’ business division. In it, Kennett argues (probably somewhat predictably) that telcos like Optus are better placed to do much of the work in such deployments than the in-house IT departments of end user clients. He writes:
“Normally, IT departments find this kind of enterprise-wide device shift a painful and expensive process, requiring extensive training and bridging solutions for data capture, document sharing and security. It is entirely understandable that they resist any kind of enterprise-wide change in device use, because the financial and time costs for implementation of an enterprise device solution can be huge, particularly if the IT department itself has to solve all of the security and interconnection issues, not to mention the training required with any new system.
But it really shouldn’t be the IT department that has to do all the heavy lifting. Traditional management consultancies can help, but frankly, any device or strategic technology shift for a medium-large enterprise should leverage the expertise of their business communication and technology suppliers. Most telecommunications companies today will have a range of partner suppliers in their network that can arrange training in new technology, as well as inform businesses of emergent tech that have the potential to improve profitability, boost operational agility or solve business problems. And because they work in partnership, they tend to be aware of integration issues, as well as potential solutions.
Yet firms are still not widely tapping into the expertise offered by communications network providers on such matters. There is still a sense among C-level executives and other management that telecommunications companies are merely carrier service suppliers and network operators, rather than technology consultancies in their own right.”
I’m in two minds about Kennett’s comments. On the one hand, I think there is a strong benefit to end user companies getting telcos such as Optus to conduct this kind of work. These kinds of telcos have the benefits of having seen quite a few deployments and often have a better idea of industry-wide best practice than can be found in-house. On the other hand, it always pays to be wary of vendors spruiking their solution as the only solution; one size does not normally fit all customers. Still, this is one of the more informed commentaries I’ve seen from Optus’ Business division recently, and it does raise some interesting issues.