Connex18 – A Showcase for ALE’s Forward Direction
Feb 07, 2018
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s theme at Connex18 analyst summit was centered on “Building the digital future for everyone”. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) organized the Connex18 event in beautiful Riga, Latvia from January 24-26, 2018. On average, the temperature in Riga during my visit was anywhere between -3 and -5 degree Celsius, which was a bit of a shock to my system as I am accustomed to temperatures above 20 degree Celsius as a resident of Chennai!
While 2019 would mark ALE’s 100th anniversary after its founding, ALE’s CEO Jack Chen and team are now focused on how to make ALE last another 100 years. ALE kicked-off the event by showcasing how they are strategized to enable digital transformation in enterprises through their vertical-centric approach; realistic focus on deploying IoT-secure networks; and practical outlook on blending analytics and artificial intelligence tools within their portfolio that centers around two key pillars - Unified Communications (UC) and Networking. Here I will share the key takeaways particularly around ALE’s UC wave of digital transformation.
For many years, ALE has remained a dominant player in the on-premises UC space. ALE’s communication strategy revolves around five key verticals: Government, Education, Transportation, Healthcare and Hospitality, into which their communication offerings are primarily targeted. In December 2016, ALE set out a vision to “cloudify” their UC platforms and announced its debut in the next generation UC and collaboration space in the form of Rainbow, a cloud platform that delivers enhanced flexibility to users through public and hybrid cloud deployment options.
In addition, with Rainbow, ALE envisions integrating communication and collaboration with enterprise’s business processes by offering a CPaaS variant of the platform. With respect to CPaaS, ALE has provided developers with access to over 150 APIs aimed to enable enterprises customization and optimum user and customer experiences. The Rainbow CPaaS platform goes a long way in delivering a one-stop shop across verticals. At Connex18, ALE exhibited some real life use cases across the key verticals.
Moreover, ALE is demonstrating significant focus on understanding customer pain points and offering proactive management tools to partners and end user organizations. Technology updates extended far beyond UC, collaboration and CPaaS into the realm of next generation networking to support smart cities, workplaces and workstyles. At Connex18, ALE asserted its vision, position and capabilities to deploy solutions that do not just connect people and processes but also objects through IoT-enabled networks.
Observation: Big difference I am seeing in @ALUEnterprise from a year ago - The networking and communications divisions are starting to feel like a unified platform. Shared focus on cloud is bringing them together. #connex18— Michael Brandenburg (@mbrandenburg) January 25, 2018
In terms of performance, key highlights include:
- Significant top-line growth of 5% in FY 16/17
- Growth in private cloud deployment is circa 100% with more than 250 enterprise customers and more than 150k live (billable) end users in FY 16/17
- Over 15% growth in key verticals in FY 16/17
- An impressive 235,000 cloud seats comprising of UCaaS and CPaaS deployments
- Over 1.5 million Rainbow app downloads as of June 2017, with designs to reach 10 million by 2020
- Hundreds of hybrid deployments including on-premises ALE PBXs integrated into Rainbow in less than a year of launch
- Integration of Rainbow with PBX from third-party vendors such as Cisco, and Avaya today, and others such as Mitel and Unify already available
- A 100% channel-driven business model and more than 3000 resellers worldwide
- Significant growth in Europe with almost 65% of resellers focused on this region
- Key partners in Europe include Orange Business Services, DimensionData and Telefonica
- Global alliance with PGI for video conferencing
- Over 150 APIs available to CPaaS developers; more than 40 ISVs active today
- Key cPaaS wins including Post Office and Government of Santa Catarina (90,000 seats) in Brazil, and PT Veritra Sentosa Internasional (PayTren) in Indonesia with a customer base of 1.7 million customers
A few key messages so far from @ALUEnterprise with regards to Latin America at #Connex18: 1) Key growing verticals are Hospitality, Healthcare and Government, 2) New go to market model for Mexico, 3) Large wins with local Governments (Santa Catarina, Brazil) @Frost_Latam— Juan Manuel Gonzalez (@juanmgon) January 25, 2018
ALE Priorities for 2018 include:
- Accelerate the cloud telephony traffic on its Rainbow platform with a significant focus on customer acquisition. ALE has chalked out growth hacking mechanisms and aligned their sales and management teams by vertical to capitalize on the growth potential available in each of its five targeted verticals. This proves that the company is focusing on customer acquisition, not only catering to its existing base.
- Solidify vertical-specific use cases and focus on CPaaS industrialization. It is commendable that ALE is seeking to offer a differentiated value proposition through CPaaS.
- Sustain the hybrid cloud deployment model. The no-frills and less-complicated PBX integration with UCaaS approach gives ALE a competitive advantage in this industry.
- Leverage partnership with IBM announced at the event to infuse artificial intelligence and machine learning tools and integrate Bots into Rainbow. Today, it is critical to build machine learning abilities in collaboration tools in order to deliver more natural, contextual and relevant meeting experience. With an overall focus on implementing data-driven processes, ALE is on the right path to apply IBM Watson AI capabilities to its vertical-focused applications.
As UCaaS is a highly fragmented and largely untapped market, and CPaaS is emerging, it will be critical for UC vendors to have the appropriate strategy, as well as partner and reseller ecosystem in place to create a niche for themselves. To that end, ALE has adopted a highly vertical-focused UCaaS and CPaaS strategy, and has engaged with the right set of partners to ride the UC wave as part of digital transformation in enterprises. In addition, as ALE sets out to further hone its reseller ecosystem by identifying specialized channels, it is more likely to realize its vision of enabling enterprise digital transformation in an increasingly complex and competitive industry.