Category Archives: SFE News

Three Quick Tips to Beat the Summer Sales Slump

We are here in Europe enjoying a beautiful summer, but we aren’t seeing the usual slump in business. Today we will be offering you ways to overcome that supposed slump to find that Summer Sales aren’t just the blissful discounts we get all over retail in July and August.

Beat the heat, then beat that sales slump!

  1. Don’t assume you’re in a slump before you are. We aren’t saying the Summer European Sales Slump is a myth, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a reality for you. Loads of companies — especially European ones — see the majority of staff go on holiday in August, but that’s a mistake because then they can’t service their clients as well. The employees left behind to run the business are often working to improve admin processes, making late summer the perfect time for business software sales and implementation. August is a particularly great time for building long-term sales and marketing strategies,  like lining up your international sales team.
  2. Prospect. Prospect. Then prospect some more. Summer is a great time to fill the top of your funnel through advertising — try Facebook Retargeting to stay on top of mind where your prospects are most relaxed — and through networking. It’s also a great time to test out and consider new markets, including new vertical audiences and new geographical targets. A little legwork now can go miles in Autumn.
  3. Reconnect with your current happy customers. Summer is a perfect time to catch up with some of your favorite fans. Ask customers for referrals that can be turned into convincing testimonials. Ask them if they know anyone that could also benefit from your product. And don’t forget to ask them what they are still struggling with — it may lead you to an upsell or it may give you an idea of your next feature, integration or strategic partnership.

How do you increase sales instead of letting them slow? Tweet your tricks to @SalesForceEurop

Three things to know before your tech business is ready to expand to new markets

Here’s a quick test to know if you might be ready for expansion.
You could be ready to take your tech business abroad if…

You know your niche.

Europe is about 50 different countries with almost as many languages and probably more cultures. Europe is not a singular target. Perhaps your CRM is doing amazing things for recruitment and HR or maybe your middleware is rocking American telecoms. These use cases and testimonials provide you will compelling reasons to target similar verticals in one or two countries.

You know where you’re headed.

London is big and has the same language, so that’s an obvious choice, right? Nope. These are one of the reasons London is an oversaturated market. As you consider making a push for another country or continent, really get to know your current user base, and then where are your website and app traffic coming from. Then get to know your competition. Where are they? Where are they not? Is there an app just like yours with a 90 percent market share in South Africa? You want to skip launching there next.

You know the local business culture.

Finally escaping the financial crisis, the Southern European countries are ripe for more tool adoption, however they aren’t the best at English. And the language barriers go beyond that. Mediterranean countries find “least expensive” and “saves money” excellent selling points, while the lands of Volvo and BMW aren’t looking for the cheapest route to anything; they want proven track records, security and stability, so lead with your testimonials and big-name brands in marketing to them.

Now you can hire full-time boots on the ground, but that takes money, local recruiters, and so much time to get up and running. If you use a service like Sales Force Europe, you get experienced locals that are already selling SaaS in the area, who can accomplish a lot more out of their cultural knowledge and professional network in just a couple days a week.

Want to know more? We’ve literally written the book on it! Sign up here for a free ebook to help you answer: Is your tech company ready for global expansion?

Or you can contact us directly and set up a conversation with our CEO Rick Pizolli to talk about if your tech company is ready for its global takeover.

Telecom Council

SFE Partner Events – Telecom Council of Silicon Valley

Telecom Council

As an official member of Telecom Council of Silicon Valley, we are excited for this year’s Telecom Council’s premier event, TC3. It will be held on October 17-18, 2018 in Silicon Valley.

TC3, Telecom Council Carrier Connections, is a working summit where tech scouts and corporate innovation teams from every corner of the communications industry discover innovation. Global telcos, telecom vendors, investors and startups spend 2 days meeting and learning from each other.

Telecom Council is a group of more than 100 top telco carriers, venture capitalists and telecom infrastructure companies that hosts 40+ members-only meetings per year in partnership with brand-name companies like Intel, Verizon, NTT DoCoMo, Oracle, Nokia, Marvel, etc.

The Telecom Council of Silicon Valley connects companies and individuals involved in the Communications Technology industry with one another for business development, collaboration, and education. Using its network, tools, framework, and meetings to bring together the local telecom industry’s critical mass of businesses, research, ideas, capital, and human expertise – the Council is a hub for telecom professionals.

Visit: for more information. Also, here is a list of their upcoming events:

June 21, 2018
ComTech Forum on Mobile Edge, MEC & the Olympics

June 28, 2018
IoT Forum Innovation Review on Sensors

August 16, 2018
IoT Forum: August Innovation Review

August 16, 2018
IoT Forum: Roundtable on Logistics

August 17, 2018
Service Provider Forum: August 2018

August 29, 2018
ComTech Forum: Deep Dive on Energy Management

October 17-18, 2018

Sales Force Europe has been assisting Telecom Council in expanding internationally through identifying the most interesting new start-ups around the world that want to showcase their technologies to the Telecom Council members. These presenting companies must pass strict criteria for acceptance and must be developing technologies or be subject matter experts of interest to the member audience.

Hope to see you at this year’s TC3!

– Team Sales Force Europe

VibeCatch: Next Generation Job Satisfaction Polls

VibeCatch is an advanced employee engagement platform that utilizes frequent pulse polls and analytics to help companies build better culture and improve their bottom line. It is the only employee engagement tool that leverages the effective Quality of Work Life (QWL) Index, created by professor Marko Kesti, a leading academic specializing in HRM performance.

The QWL Index uses unique job satisfaction metrics that highlight specific areas of improvement within the organization, by pinpointing weak signals and undercurrents that most survey methods fail to detect. Through automated polls collecting relevant feedback, leadership can easily shift focus from measuring job satisfaction to actually improving it.

With the scientifically-backed QWL framework, companies can even link employee engagement to productivity and financial results, giving them the opportunity to find what areas would benefit the most from developmental investments.

Mobile World Congress 2018 Highlights

Mobile World Congress – Highlights

With 2,300 exhibitors and over 300 speakers, Barcelona’s Mobile World Conference (MWC) is mammoth. Even if you attended in person, you couldn’t have seen all of it, but that’s not a problem. Whether you made it to the Catalonian capital or not, we’ve picked out the most interesting – and important – stories from the show.

The fourth industrial revolution

MWC is about so much more than just phones. It’s an essential gathering for manufacturers and operators of anything – and everything – that connects to a mobile network.

One of the key themes this year was the fourth industrial revolution, a snappy shorthand for the way that the physical, digital and biological worlds are merging. Think wearables and biometrics.

FotoNation’s FaceSafe technology is set to extend Apple-style facial unlocking to a wider range of devices. FotoNation’s implementation not only recognises users on sight – it also checks that they’re alive and alert, with a state-of-the-art anti-spoofing mechanism that only makes a mistake for one in every million scans.

If you used it to unlock your phone twenty times a day, you’d need to stick with the same handset for 136 years before it slipped up. It’s been optimised to use the least memory and processor power it can, but still processes a face – and acts on it – in 150 milliseconds. That’s twice the speed of the average blink.

It looks to us like thumbprint readers are living on borrowed time.

Tech in society

On the wearables front, Coolpad used MWC to showcase its 4G LTE-connected smart trackers. Not only targeting physical assets, like cars and plant equipment, Coolpad has been working on a range of watches for kids and the elderly so that worried family members can keep an eye on their movements. With bi-directional calling, long battery life, and both indoor and outdoor positioning using GPS, Wi-Fi and 4G triangulation, they could be the first trackers anyone would actually want to wear.

One thing they can’t do is process payments, but then not everyone wants to pay with a tap of their wrist or phone. That’s why Dynamic Inc’s Wallet Card caught our eye. With 200 internal components including a cell phone chip and antenna, a battery with organic recharging and a 65,000-pixel display, it’s smarter than your average credit card and allows two-way communication between a bank and its customers.

This should mean fewer failed transactions, as shoppers can respond to fraud alerts immediately and verify that a transaction really is valid. And, if they’re trying to spend beyond their credit limit, the bank can use the card’s integrated screen to offer an increase, which the shopper can accept or decline on the spot.

GLOMO award winners

Wallet Card was shortlisted in three categories in the event’s Global Mobile (GLOMO) Awards, which are judged by a panel of 250 industry experts. It didn’t win but it can go home with its head held high: no single product received more nominations at the show.

Samsung Pay clinched the Best Mobile Innovation for Payment award for being “highly secure, widely available, accepted almost anywhere that you can tap or swipe a card, [and having] ATM compatibility and an integrated awards programme”. It was, said the judges, “a worthy winner”.

But the star of the show was Huawei, which is flying back to China with eight GLOMOs in its excess baggage. After the first seven, which included both the Best Hardware and Best Network Software categories, it can’t have been a surprise that it won the overall crown for Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry.

Recognised for the way it’s pushed the industry forward, its advocacy of cloud-centric business and its leadership in digital transformation, it was not only one of the biggest winners, but also one of the biggest exhibitors, taking eight stands in three different halls.

Privacy on parade

Huawai used the event to debut one of the best-looking Windows laptops we’ve ever seen. The MateBook X Pro has a 4mm bezel for an almost edge-to-edge touch-sensitive display, and a 12-hour battery for all-day working. It also has a smart camera that pops up from beneath the keyboard, so it’s immediately obvious if someone is snooping on you.

It sits alongside the Mate10 Pro, a smarter mobile built around the world’s first AI (Artificially Intelligent) processor with built-in neural network processing. Aside from boosting efficiency – by 50x, according to Huawei – the on-board neural processing chip performs a lot of functions that some rivals offload to the cloud. A good example of this would be speech recognition. Decoding it on the device rather than remotely is a welcome privacy boost.

Securing the Internet of Things

It’s not just laptops and mobile where security counts. Avast, best-known for its AVG antivirus products, used MWC to announce its Smart Life platform, which protects the smart bulbs, plugs and thermostats that are becoming increasingly common at home. With news that the number of connected devices – the so-called Internet of Things or IoT – is set to treble by 2025, the launch is perfectly timed.

Smart Life uses artificial intelligence to ‘learn’ how you use your IoT devices and, when it spots any deviation, it throws up an alert. So, if it notices lights coming on, the temperature dropping, or a door being opened, it might assume you’ve got an intruder and send an alert to your mobile. This is a logical extension to Avast’s existing activities. It’s already skilled in detecting virtual Trojans; now it’s looking out for the real thing.

Alexa, turn off the Internet

While Avast was announcing Smart Life, one of its biggest rivals, McAfee, was showcasing its Amazon Alexa integration. Users of McAfee’s Secure Home Platform and Amazon’s connected Echo speakers, can scan their network, block devices and pause internet access at will, using nothing more than their voice. Secure Home works with a range of routers to block threats before they get as far as your network – so despite its name, it’s something we’d recommend small business users take a look at, too.

Broadband on the road, wherever you are

Outside of the home and office, Kymeta demonstrated a seamless connectivity solution for public and private vehicles. Staying online on the road isn’t a problem in cities and urban areas where 4G – and soon 5G – is common. Out in countryside it’s a different story, and that can be a problem for emergency first responders. Kymeta has the solution, with a vehicle that automatically switches to satellite broadband as soon as the cell network drifts out of range.

Kymeta personnel flew to Puerto Rico to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, so to illustrate its technology it brought its Mobile Rapid Response Vehicle to MWC. With a satellite connection provided by Intelsat, it doesn’t need traditional dishes on-board, which makes the solution equally suited to buses, trucks and even high-speed trains where bulky exterior hardware would be vulnerable to damage or wind resistance.

An old favourite, updated

While these are all exciting steps forward, one story dominated in the world beyond the mobile industry.

Samsung used MWC as the forum to launch its latest phones, the Galaxy S9 and S9+. The biggest update isn’t to the networking chips under the hood, but the camera on the back, which now supports dual apertures to emulate the human eye. In the dark, it opens up to maximise the light it captures and minimise grain in your shots. In daylight, it narrows again to increase the amount of the scene that’s in focus.

For globe-trotting business users, there’s also a smart visual translation tool. Point the camera at whichever text you can’t read, and it’s translated on the fly. If you’re trying to navigate a foreign subway, or impress clients by ordering like a local in theirfavourite restaurant, it’s a must. Prices start at £739 and the phones ship this month.

This year’s Mobile World Congress has had something for everyone. Businesses and consumers alike will benefit from increased security, faster devices and new ways to get online – and stay online – wherever they happen to be.

At Sales Force Europe, we’re already thinking about the ways they’ll help us collaborate and stay in touch, and how we can help our clients implement them in their own organisations.

Whether you made it to the show or you’ve been watching from the side lines, I’d love to know what you thought – and how these developments are going to change the way you work over the next 12 months.

Get in touch or call my mobile on +34 659 449 202.

Rick Pizzoli, CEO & Founder

Check out our WRAP!

[email protected]
EU Mobile +34 659 449 202

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5 Reasons Why France Is Hot For Startups Major Advantages Attract Foreign Startups

5 Reasons Why France Is Hot For Startups
Major Advantages Attract Foreign Start-Ups

Updated February 2, 2018

Author: Yves de Beauregard


France is famous around the globe as a haven – not just a tax haven – also one for startups. But do we mean, “new innovation growing rapidly in France,” targeting international expansion, or foreign startups coming into France?

Both. In France, start-ups have access to a number of subsidies and different forms of help, courtesy of either the government or private investors. Significant tax advantages such as a temporary tax exemption on profit can be life saving for a young business that is willing to expand. Few countries in the world go through such efforts to help their own start-ups, and this may explain the success that France is now realizing. In this article we’ll outline the top 5 reasons why France is so attractive for start-ups.

Back in the 1970s, the saying, “In France, we don’t have oil but we have ideas” became popular. It encapsulates the country’s great intellectual potential providing a real capacity to innovate. It’s for this reason that from 2012 to 2015, the number of French startups increased by 30%. “The Hexagon,” as French often refer to metropolitan France, has also accumulated good grades for investments in R&D, quality of infrastructures for telecommunications and overall access to capital.

In general, Europe is fertile ground for the start-ups. On one hand, France is integrated in a 740M consumers market with a high GDP per capita. On the other, Europe can be used as a growth accelerator before considering more important and risky markets such as Asia or North America, for example.

Optimal Conditions for Startup Success

In order for startups to gain traction however, certain conditions must be met:

  • To have a recognized turnover in your own country (be it France or abroad)
  • To have proved the concept as viable and obtained real customers’ feedback to improve products and services
  • To have raised capital aimed specifically at internationalization (funding partners appreciate when the money is clearly allocated), e.g., opening 3 countries in 2018 with 1M€ payback in 6 months.
  • To have localized products and services in the targeted languages with the appropriate legal terms and conditions and multilingual support

There are 5 main reasons why France provides strong opportunities for start-ups to achieve these conditions for success and growth.

The 5 Ways France Succeeds In Hosting And Developing Startups


  1. France Today: Resources & Economic Conditions – Currently, France has the 6th overall world economy. Their geographic position allows for quick access to the rest of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. French is the 5th most spoken language in the world, with 274 million speakers. It is also the 3rd largest language for business and the 4th on the Internet.


There are 740M potential consumers in the European Union, including 67M in France. As of 2016, the GDP per capita in France is approximately 31.000€. In 2016, more than 447,000 people work in the computing service sector. In France, negotiation is about the price and the good bargain, together with a strong and long-term relationship between the salesperson and the decision-maker. The concept of payback and ROI are more Anglo-Saxon and the premium quality is more Germanic. The bureaucracy and paperwork are frequent – calls for tender and consultations – because 57% of the GDP depends upon the public sector. Therefore, effective RFI writing becomes a more important factor to success.


  1. France is fertile ground for startups in general – About 50% of the French population between the ages of 25-34 has graduated with a higher education. In 2015, 33,500 new engineers graduated, and as of 2017, there are 1 million Engineers in France. France ranks 6th in the world when it comes to financing R&D and is in 1st position for offering tax advantage on these investments.


Their investment in developed and efficient transportation infrastructures has resulted in the 3rd largest railway network in Europe, 1st aerial network and international harbours. The telecommunications infrastructure is similar, with at least 90% of the country covered by 4G and the optical fibre is expanding.

According to a study from the European Digital City Index 2016, Paris ranks 2nd in access to capital for the start-ups, which confirms this international attraction. Finally, knowledge spill over is very well developed in France. This refers to the permeability between Public and University Research and its diversification in Marketed Innovations in the Private Sector. In fact, it ranks 1st in all of Europe.


  1. On-going tax and social improvements – Beginning this year ad through 2022, the corporate tax rate will decrease gradually from 33% to 25%. While that is still a high rate, it is the price for quality and potential. For the start-ups with the Young Innovate Companies certification label, a total exemption from income tax for 1 year is possible. For 7 years, a partial exemption from social charges of people who are devoted to R&D is also offered.
  2. Available help for innovators – In France, there is help available especially for innovators and entrepreneurs. According to the Ministry of Research, the following types of assistance are available:
  • Help for the Creation of Innovative Enterprises: i-Lab competition, Assistance for the Maturation of Innovative Projects
  • From the Government: the Innovation Tax Credit
  • From the BPI: (Banque Publique d’Investissement): Participatory Seeding Loans, Aid for the Development of Innovation
  • From Initiative France & Réseau Entreprendre: Honorary loan
  1. Favourable export base for startups, welcoming foreign startups – France is ranked 7th in the world for Foreign Direct Investments (3rd in Europe), signifying a token of trust from foreign investors. France is a country with a stable currency, and safeguards the intellectual property at local and European levels. For these reasons and others, as of 2015, more than 20,000 start-ups and 200 scale-ups exist in France. That number is only expected to continue growing rapidly.  One way this growth will continue is through a program called the French Tech Ticket, designed to attract some of the brightest individuals from around the world to develop and set-up their start-up in France. Those chosen receive comprehensive support for their journey for a period of one year. To date, the French Tech Ticket has helped 230 foreign entrepreneurs establish themselves in France. The challenge for 2018 is right around the corner, sure to bring a new batch of the brightest innovators to the already thriving French start-up economy.


France has all the right assets in place to attract, develop and grow startup and scale-up businesses, whether originating from or landing in the country. The government, investors and the general ecosystem all align to offer these businesses the optimal conditions for their international success. Thanks to the reasons outlined here, the sky’s the limit for those enterprising and innovative enough to invest in their own future in France.

Photo by Paul Dufour on Unsplash

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Bandyer: Video Communications Platform

Bandyer is an innovative online platform that enables video communications anywhere; it is as easy as making a phone call. Through the latest technology, we provide clients with an open platform without barriers or boundaries of usage; Bandyer is a smart solution that can be integrated within firms’ existing systems or it can be used in cloud. It is flexible and practical, allowing customers to experience high quality video communications with a great user interface. Bandyer architecture is built upon WebRTC, allowing customers to place one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many videocalls.

Bandyer does not require any software installations nor the creation of an account; in the integrated version, the videocall is accessible through the firm’s portal itself. When in cloud, the system automatically generates a link through which joining the call. All video communications offer great features, such as screen sharing, live chat, whiteboard, live stream interaction, co-editing, speech to text, recording and many more.

All data are saved and can be downloaded; this enables clients to monitor and analyse big data from which building smart and flexible business models. The platform is highly compatible with all existing systems, and it is accessible through mobile application, both on iOS devices, as well as Android’s. In addition, Bandyer is designed to ease customer interactions through all platforms and to offer online practical solutions of customer service and live assistance.

How NFV Is Changing The Landscape Of Telecommunications

How NFV Is Changing The Landscape Of Telecommunications

Companies Brave Enough To Make The Change Reap The Rewards

by Massimo Fatato 

Not since the introduction of IP (Internet Protocol) has the The Landscape of Telecommunications (TLC) industry seen so many radical changes at the same time. The most relevant market dynamics for a carrier today include NFV, “cloudification” of TLC services and OTTs. These dynamics are leading to a progressive blend between the classical world of telecommunications and the modern IT world.

  • The advent of the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) promises to transform complex and expensive dedicated machines into simple, agile, effective network systems.
  • The “cloudification” of TLC services, which is moving data and functions from the inside of corporate IT systems to the outside, allows enterprises to take advantage of the resources made available by service providers (SP), with operational and economic benefits for the enterprise itself.
  • The advent of “Over The Top” (OTT) which, according to the definition, are Service Providers (SP) that leverage the extensive connectivity resources provided by the carriers to offer integrated services. The most popular today are Google and Amazon, which exploit the enormous storage capacity that support from their core business to provide server and storage services and then cloud businesses to third parties. The most obvious and direct consequence of all this for the carriers is that while the OTT receive the benefits in form of profits, carriers remain with the infrastructural complexity to manage and with the substantial costs associated with it.


For the sake of this article, let’s focus on NFV. We’ll examine:

  • How NFV transformation is not clear, and in fact there is no one size fits all
  • A huge opportunity for consultants and system integrators who can select or design a future-proof transformation methodology.
  • A threat for the telcos who are confronted with, amongst many others, a major operational, organizational and financial challenge.
  • A new variable, learning, which is the (partial) adoption of the open source approach.


Network Function Visualization (NFV) Transforms Business Today

NFV, as a term, was first coined more than three years ago and in that short time, has become a reality that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Indeed, after the first testing phases and proofs of concept, carriers have established that transforming a classic network function (such as Home Location Register – HLR) in a virtual operation is technically feasible and there are already dozens of companies of all sizes that are able to do so. In fact, it is now widely agreed upon that virtual and physical will live together for the foreseeable future. It is clear that NFV is acting as a catalyst to bring the telecom and IT world together.

So, why is NFV not taking off as many expected?

The reason lies in a number of challenges associated to the virtualization for the telecom world.

Challenges For The Carriers

Regardless of the underlying infrastructure to support their services, the greatest challenge for carriers remains the inability to provide their enterprise customers with integrated communications services, not only connectivity, in a way that is both fast and flexible. Even today, the product management phase of a communications service easily extends for 6-9 months.

History has proven that anytime there a new service is introduced, a comprehensive set of systems and management capabilities were dedicated to it. This reesulted in a proliferation of systems that hardly communicate with each other, presenting a fractured view of the service. As a consequence, significant manual and procedural interventions are required, making the service management costly and inefficient. Adding to the confusion is the complexity of operation and organization related to the potential transformation dictated by the advent of NFV.

It is clear that if the OTT are able to do service provisioning in a matter of hours, carriers have a serious problem.

However, carriers’ intimate knowledge of the customer’s historical data and the physical connectivity that could ensure the carrier to learn about their customers’ behavior, gives them a competitive advantage which, however, has yet to be adequately exploited.

3 Core Functions Of NFV Implementation

Thus, while NFV is already a production reality with several carriers around the world, both as a generic virtualization platform or implementation of a specific network function (both core or edge), there are at least three core functions that are tremendously affected by the NFV implementation and are still to be properly addressed in the NFV context.


Someone once likened NFV transformation to someone who wants to replace an engine on a plane while it is flying. This analogy gives you a good idea of what it means for the VP Operations of a carrier to switch from the actual situation to a hybrid scenario where legacy and virtual coexist efficiently. It is therefore apparent why Operations essentially push back the idea of virtualization of network functions. If you asked a VP Operations in a large carrier, she would list the following as her most hated words:

Virtualisation – “Who moved my BRAS (Broadband Remote Access Server)? Where is the HLR?”

Devops – “It is either Dev or Ops. Doing both in a telco environment is extremely dangerous. Why? Because introducing even the smallest change in a telecom network environment might introduce a serious instability with unpredictable domino effects (think, the Butterfly Effect). This is why carriers require long trials before introducing innovation in their network environment. And they have depoy complex fall back procedures in case something goes wrong on at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning.”

As it is for the technological portion of the NFV transformation, there is not a single path that suits every carrier. Each service provider is therefore required to design its own long term objective, operational architecture, taking into account their strategic and operational needs, and then apply methodologies that are truly proven to drive the transformation towards the objective.

There will be common elements but the most relevant to focus on are:

  • OSS efficiency.
  • Leverage customer intimacy to gather related data to drive operational efficiency.
  • Leverage “as a Services” capabilities (the modern wording for outsourcing)  whenever repetitive processes are required.
  • Embrace devops, or at least begin to understand how development could marry operations without giving away the 6×9 reliability target of the entire infrastructure system (as opposed to the reliability of its components), again looking at methodologies that would facilitate this process in a telco environment.



The advent of virtualization, cloudification and the pressure exerted by the OTT is imposing a cultural shift to the telecom service providers. Indeed, the classic dominance of the CTO over the CIO is gradually being challenged as carriers are required, more and more, to look at their infrastructure and related management from both the CTO and CIO perspective. In fact, it is those who are capable to merge the classical knowledge of the TLC world with those in the IT world that will be coming out of the pack as winners.

Already several carriers around the world have embraced this transformation, some even creating the position of “Chief Digital Officer – CDO.” This role takes into account the need for “digitization,” which is the buzzword of the moment, and is designed to combine IT and TLC knowledge in one place. Even here, there is no one size fits all approach, but each carrier should make the necessary organizational adjustments that fit with their strategic intent and actual situation.


Another hot issue associated to the transformation NFV is linked to monetization. It’s still difficult to measure how the NFV transformation will impact the carrier’s business success. Before taking on such a significant change and not losing sight of financial goals, carriers need to identify the business criteria (and related leading indicator and KPIs) that will transform the NFV transformation in a success.

A potential approach for carriers to leverage virtualization as a means to generate new revenues and profitability streams is to deploy a platform that is capable of supporting the introduction and provisioning of new services. If such a platform is consumed “as a Service” (PaaS), all of a sudden, carriers will find themselves in a position to to catch up with, and in fact surpass, the OTT.

The advantages of this approach:

  • Start-up costs are minimal, especially if the open source approach is preferred, meaning the platform is delivered on the basis of no license costs.
  • Maximum flexibility in scaling up and down, according to the real needs of the market.
  • If a solid certification system is set up around the PaaS, carriers are in a position to introduce applications and services much quicker than today, solving one of the biggest problems they face with the advent of OTT, dramatically shortening time to market.

Once properly calibrated and structured, the PaaS might support the carrier to gradually migrate existing business and network applications, unifying the delivery platform for such services with both organizational and operational benefits.

Opportunities For The Ecosystem

Although it is evident that NFV and the other market dynamics bring apparently insurmountable challenges, these are also times of great opportunities for the entire telecom ecosystem. If carriers want to regain their fair share of the market and profitability lost in favor of the OTT, the most important macro opportunities presented to telco are:

  • Take the NFV approach, starting the transformation from a single network function and then gradually expanding from there.
  • Integrate operational and business aspects of the NFV with the technology transformation.
  • Understand how to monetize NFV, by leveraging the Internet of Things and other technologies and services related to the media.
  • Focus on learning how to effectively gather and analyze customer data to gain insight, and be ready to tailor communication offerings to their customers, both enterprises and consumers.
  • Leverage open source in at least two directions:
    • Deploy OpenStack (and other related components) effectively, involving operations upfront in the architectural design and implementation.
    • Use a PaaS based on open source by leveraging the portfolio of human and business resources that come from open communities to build Business Intelligence applications faster and and at a lower cost to be used on PaaS.
  • Take the discontinuity forced by the market dynamics to revisit the entire OSS/BSS systems and migrate them under a single management platform.

In conclusion, no matter how the NFV is turned around, it is a necessary step that carriers have to take and gradually deploy on a full scale. However, NFV also brings unprecedented challenges both for the carriers and the entire ecosystem.

In this complex scenario, the upper hand is with those who:

  1. Can leverage proven transformational methodology, possibly borrowed from other industries, and deploy a solid risk management plan.
  2. Can bravely embrace the open source approach to build infrastructure, service management and business application platforms.

Telecom service providers have to look beyond their comfort ecosystem and embrace a wider set of potential partners to ensure a successful transformation, which will underline their very own survivability.

The SFE Platform Advantage

Since 2003, SFE is a pioneer of the Sales-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. More than 200 enterprises have trusted SFE to expand their sales into Europe and other international regions using our acclaimed Accelerated Sales Platform. Learn how we did it here. Our Platform includes Accelerated Market Analysis, Accelerated Lead-Gen and Accelerated Sales modules, which can be delivered as an integrated service or as stand-alone modules.

Our platform is deployed through an international team of 75+ Sales Professionals who represent your brand in-country/language, blend into your company culture and use their local market knowledge and sales contacts to make revenues and ROI manifest quickly.

If your company is looking for a competitive advantage using the latest sales methodologies to reach enterprises and channels throughout Europe, SFE can help. Let’s talk.

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Digitalization As An Advantage In The Telecom World

Digitalization As An Advantage In The Telecom World

6 Differentiators To Success & Growth

by Massimo Fatato 

Every a few years the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry comes with a buzzword that accurately defines an era or even a shift in the market. Digitization is one of those terms that today, is having a global impact on the way business is done.

Digitization is not a new concept, around since Bell Labs introduced the world to the transistor in the middle of the twentieth century. Today we live in a digitized world and it’s hard to imagine not having access to the ease and efficiency that this technology brings to every aspect of our lives, including how we do business.

So if digitization has been around for so long, what is really new?

Gartner defines digitization as, “the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.”

Based on this definition, the buzz is not around digitization as a concept, but rather in how enterprises use the technology to develop competitive services to lure customers away from their competition; how it is being used as a disruptor.

Digitization, Telecom and OTTs

Let’s look at how digitization is changing the face of the telecom service provider market.

Carriers went digital a long time ago when they transformed the old analog central offices into innovative ones, based on digital technology. This move opened the door to the creation of new services (e.g. 800 numbers), some of which they were able to convert into new revenues streams. This was soon followed by the IP revolution, bringing a multitude of changes all at one time to this stalwart industry. Very quickly, relatively speaking, carriers found themselves under threat from so-called Over The Tops (OTTs). An OTT is a service that is on top of those provided by the service provider. Think of apps or other such services that a consumer doesn’t necessarily pay for.

There are two main reasons why are OTTs such a threat:

  • Carriers struggle to bring new service to the market in a competitive timeframe compared to the fast consuming world we live in. Still today, the average time to take a new service to market is measured in months.
  • Carriers have not been aggressive enough to leverage their customer intimacy to create new, effective services to run on their own infrastructure, hence maximizing not only revenues, but most importantly profitability.


It is imperative for the telecom service providers (not only for their success but their very survivability) to regain the center stage of the market. In other words, carriers have to get out of the corner (they relegated themselves) where all they do is to provide connectivity to others who profit from it.

6 Ways Digitization Can Help

How can digitalization really help with this daunting task?

If we look at little closer to what some of the OTTs offer to their enterprise customers, we see a set of simple services combined to form complex platforms (e.g. gather, store and analyse a vast amount of data).

The OTT approach is to offload enterprises from building and managing such a complexity and offer them their platforms as a basis for the enterprise to run their Business Intelligence (BI) applications. Oversimplifying, OTTs commoditize the platform complexity, leaving the true business value in the BI application rather than in the platform, the latter being multi-purpose, the former being a specialization dedicated to the specific enterprise or industry.

Apparently for a service provider, revenues (and most importantly profitability) are concentrated in the Business Intelligence application portion of the value chain, where the enterprise is capable of creating a difference, without the commitment to buy and maintain sophisticated and very expensive systems.

This is where digitalization comes to the rescue of the good old telecom service providers, but only if they are capable of leveraging the technology at their disposal to:

1. Build a portfolio of Business Intelligence (BI) application services to bring value to customers in a cost effective way then market them appropriately not only to the large enterprises, but also to small and medium business with a tailored offering.

2. Become fast and nimble in building and bringing to market such services in a matter of hours and not months, by focusing on:

  • Virtualisation – To once and for all turn network functions virtualization (NFV) into a reality by gradually transforming their legacy, complex, cumbersome, costly infrastructure into a set of platforms that are capable to effectively support their market and business requirements.
  • Orchestration – To gradually but steadily transform their operation support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) to allow end-to-end visibility of their services and customer experience.
  • Open Source community – To start participating consistently and structurally to enrich the portfolio of open source applications that are tailored for the telecom service providers and their customers.


This is a new frontier, but also the opportunity for carriers to take back the leading position in the communication market from their unusual competitors by:

3. Providing connectivity and control through customer behavior

4. Leveraging someone else (could be an OTT) or build their own digital platform

5. Selling a value proposition based on BI application services on top of such platforms

6. Managing all of this seamlessly, end-to-end

Does it sounds like a dream? Perhaps, but the technology and the capability offered by the virtualization and potentially by leveraging the open software community constitute a solid basis on top of which carriers can significantly revive their business for many years to come.

The opportunity is up for grabs for those who are brave enough to leverage the virtualization in an effective way, but most importantly exploit the opportunity presented by the open source philosophy. Easier said than done. Carriers face unsurmountable obstacles to take this journey – organizational, financial and operational.

Platforms Serve As A Commodity

Platforms are a commodity. One of the biggest examples of this is Google. Google offers a set of functionality, pulled together in a neat architectural framework to gather, store, process and analyze massive quantities of data. What is notable in the architecture provided by Google is the small number of BI applications that would truly make the difference for an enterprise between buying a very capable platform (and do not know what to do with it) and buying an ad hoc application that knows what to do with the massive number accumulated.

So the platform becomes commodity and the difference is made by the BI application.

If we apply the definition of digitalization, we’re facing a once in a lifetime opportunity for the carriers to take the center stage back from the Over The Tops (OTTs), but only if they can address the challenges they currently face, as mentioned above. Service providers will need to focus on providing competitive services in the shortest time possible in order to have a chance.

As the best opportunities come from the road less traveled we will witness a new order in the industry where only the bravest – and fastest – will survive.

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