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Alcatel-Lucent deepens focus on services

It eyes an addressable market opportunity of US$12.7 billion from various government stimulus packages; says services growth is No. 1 priority.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

PARIS--Alcatel-Lucent is eyeing a 10 billion euro (US$12.7 billion) addressable market opportunity in communications infrastructure as a result of the flurry of stimulus packages by governments around the world, a company executive said Wednesday.

Dave Miller, senior vice president for worldwide field operations, noted at a media briefing during the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Forum 2009, services is the "No. 1 growth priority" for the company going forward. This area currently contributes 12 percent of Alcatel-Lucent's 17 billion euro (US$21.3 billion) business and is "becoming extremely relevant", he added.

"The demand for some of the activities, for example, legacy network outsourcing…are directly in line with CIOs' mandate to increase business agility and ultimately lower costs," said Miller.

Thai bank drums dynamism into contact center

'Become a dynamic enterprise' is the theme of this year's Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Forum.
In his keynote speech at the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Forum 2009, the company's enterprise product group President Tom Burns said the recessionary environment is driving more businesses to not only save money, but grow revenues.
He pointed out that it is now "critical" for each enterprise to strive to become a dynamic enterprise--by simplifying its communications, increasing customer satisfaction and providing an environment of connected knowledge.
One organization that has heeded the call is Siam Commercial Bank (SCB). Its vice president and manager of customer service operations support in its customer service center, Ponthorn Chadbanterng, told ZDNet Asia in an interview Wednesday the bank wanted to better serve a growing pool of customers, about the same time Internet protocol (IP)-based systems grew in acceptance.
SCB shortlisted three vendors--Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya and Aspect Software--eventually preferring Alcatel-Lucent's approach to routing and its ability to integrate with the bank's existing investments, he said. The capabilities include computer telephony integration, multimedia and voice callback.
The bank invested 60 million baht (US$1.7 million) in the first phase of deployment in its contact center. It has plans to roll out and integrate new infrastructure in its head office and branch offices, but the remaining phases have been delayed by the economic crisis.

Many of the governments' stimulus plans, said Miller, targeted key verticals such as energy, transport and healthcare. For instance, a sizable proportion of China's US$586 billion stimulus package was dedicated to rail transport. The company's focus on verticals mirrors that of governments around the world, he noted.

According to Miller, the growth opportunities did not come out of the blue for Alcatel-Lucent--they were "in line with what we've been building in the last few years". The company's services portfolio however, he pointed out, had initially been broad focusing on carrier outsourcing and managed services. It now includes among others, consulting, design and integration.

Room for optimism in Asia
Wolfgang Hackenberg, Asia-Pacific vice president for enterprise, said in an interview, maintenance services would have an edge in the current economic climate, where many companies delay new investment and instead renew maintenance contracts. However, professional services for communications infrastructure is also an area of growth for the region, where enterprise competitiveness is at stake.

The Shanghai-based executive noted the company's first-quarter performance in the region is on track to grow over the corresponding period last year. Alcatel-Lucent's first quarter ends Mar. 31.

Despite market uncertainties and shrinking budgets, Wolfgang pointed out that customers are still making IT investments. "I'm actually optimistic looking into the rest of 2009," he said, but added that the region would likely not grow as fast as 2008.

The company, he said, was also in a stronger and more stable financial position than its competitors, and is poised to take market share even if there is no growth. Rival, Nortel, for instance, recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

According to Miller, Alcatel-Lucent recently completed projects for former Nortel and Avaya customers.

Vivian Yeo of ZDNet Asia reported from the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Forum 2009 in Paris, France.

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