Amid efforts to overhaul the business with steep cost reductions, Nokia is rolling out a strategy to focus on enterprise customers undergoing digital transformations. With a new open-architecture framework to bring businesses into what it calls the "Industry 4.0" era, Nokia says it's trying to be more of a strategic partner for customers. It's also attempting to make networking a central part of the conversation.
"We're hoping to work with our customers, and with a massive and growing partner ecosystem, to bring the right pieces together with and for our customers to help them meet their goals," Houman Modarres, director of enterprise marketing at Nokia, told ZDNet. "This is not 'By Nokia, for Nokia,' it's an open framework that encourages a dialogue. As part of that dialogue, it does raise the consideration of networking."
Dubbed the "Future X for industries" architecture, the framework outlines the layers of technology needed to meet industrial networking requirements: a business applications layer; a "digital value platforms" layer that supports industrial automation, cognitive analytics and digital operations; a multi-cloud layer; and a high-performance networking layer.
The framework is part of Nokia's larger effort to zero in on select enterprise and industry customers that need telco-grade networks. To step up the focus on these customers, Nokia is creating a new Enterprise Business Group that consolidates a range of existing, fast-growing areas of business. Nokia announced the creation of the new group late last month, as it also announced a new cost-cutting effort.
With cost-cutting soon to be in the rear-view mirror, "we are taking steps to accelerate the execution of our strategy and sharpen our customer focus," CEO and president Rajeev Suri said last month.
To further raise Nokia's profile as a strategic partner, the company has announced a strategic alliance with the consulting firm Infosys.
Nokia has built more than 1,000 mission-critical networks over a span of industries, Modarres said, and has ramped up this effort to account for about 5 percent of Nokia's overall business. As part of that effort, the company just announced that it's building a new private LTE network at the BMW Brilliance Automotive plant in Shenyang city in China. It will enable secure, low-latency communications for business-critical applications like object tracking and video surveillance.
In some key segments, Nokia has worked closely with enterprise OT teams, which increasingly work in conjunction with IT teams. Verticals such as utility companies or railways "are tight-knit communities," Modarres said, "so word of mouth lets us get in earlier."
Nokia is now targeting a range of verticals, from energy and transportation to health care and finance. For a sector like finance, Modarres explained, Nokia can help interconnect thousands of physical branches securely and more dynamically.