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Roundtable: State of the Industry

August 24, 2010 - Article

The telecommunications industry is evolving at dizzying speeds. From devices to applications to networks, there is little that recalls business norms of even a decade ago. The more capabilities that are delivered, the more consumers and businesses want. Anytime, anywhere communications imperatives are changing the deliverables and the provider landscape. To find out where the industry stands and where it might be going, PHONE+ invited three of the industry’s leading executives to share their perspectives on the opportunities and/or challenges of the communications industry. To make it more interesting, we asked them to pick just three. The result, serendipitously, spans the issues transforming the marketplace.

Carl Grivner, CEO, XO Communications Inc.

Grivner's career in telecommunications and technology spans more than 25 years. For the last seven years he has been CEO of XO, one of the country’s largest CLECs with more than 4,000 employees and 90,000 customers and more the $1.5 billion in revenue. Previously, he was COO and earlier executive vice president of global operations for Global Crossing, and CEO of Worldport Communications. He also held senior leadership roles with Cable & Wireless, Advanced Fiber Communications, Ameritech and IBM.

  • The economy is an opportunity as much as a challenge. From an opportunity standpoint, in this environment where budgets are tight and resources are few, enterprises are looking more closely at alternatives to the ILECs in order to see if they can obtain more cost-effective communications and network solutions.  At XO, we are definitely seeing an increase in the number of opportunities in the enterprise segment. It’s also feedback that enterprises are providing to industry analysts and research firms such as Gartner. So, for XO and our partners, we see this as an opportunity for XO to increase our market share in this segment. However, economic uncertainty and tight IT and telecom budgets mean longer sales cycles, particularly for projects that lack immediate cost reduction or revenue generation benefits. The other challenge the economy presents is how to drive revenue growth in this environment. For service providers and the agent community, this will driven by continually offering new, differentiated services and solutions that help customers operate more efficiently and increase productivity. The other driving factor, and the most important, is having a fanatical focus on delivering the best customer experience in the industry. These work hand-in-hand in attracting new customers and then retaining customers for the long term. 
  • Managed services present a significant opportunity, particularly as network and IT staff are required to support more applications across their networks and with fewer resources. In this economic environment, which is expected to continue for several years, businesses will therefore have an increased need for external support in managing the complexity of their data center, IT, network and converged VoIP environments. We expect managed WAN, managed security and managed application and hosting solutions to see double-digit growth for the next five years. There are inherent cost savings, efficiency and performance improvements that businesses can address with managed solutions.


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