Interview with our Founder and CCO, Viktor Kovacs, as it appeared on Telco Cloud World Forum blog.
To read the original blog post, please click here.
Q.: Why did you decide to rebrand the company?
Viktor Kovacs: It was primarily a management and marketing decision. When we founded Central Europe On-Demand, we employed a name which described our focus on the region in which we operated. This name and brand was especially relevant to our initial customer base as there were only multinational service providers in this nascent market of cloud computing, but none could claim data centre or support staff footprint in our territory. Our brand defined our regional coverage and our operational model. Our success in our core business has offered expansion opportunities into new territories and service models. For that reason, we have decided to change our brand to reflect our aspirations of global coverage with new, transformative cloud business models for our partners and customers.
Q.: Do you have a new owner or shareholder structure that required rebranding?
VK.: No, the management team and shareholders remain the same. And of course our values and proven business model also stay the same: targeting telcos’s and systems integrators with localised, fast and profitable cloud deployments. The rebranding was a purely marketing decision, to better reflect the organisation’s global scale of business and commitment towards innovative service portfolios which transcend geography and market segment.
Q.: Why did you originally choose the CEE region for your cloud business, when you state that cloud awareness is low compared to other areas?
VK.: We soon realised that, despite exceptionally high broadband penetration, there were few reliable, cost-efficient and secure software services in the CEE region. Alongside this, software piracy is still very high, which stems mainly from high software prices vs. the capital expenditure levels of most small businesses. Reliable, cost-effective cloud-based IT solutions had addressed a growing market need, while effectively increasing customer demand for increased service quality and availability. Software from the cloud delivers economies of scale (thus making it far less expensive to operate and deliver than nearly all on-premise installations), as well as consistent technology refresh through an automated software release programme. Such benefits, topped with the enhanced productivity of mobile synchronisation or easy, automated, online handling through an admin portal are assets we believe can deliver real value to SoHos and SMEs. And we were proven right. According to a recent survey by Edge Strategies, 30% of SMBs are currently paying for some cloud services beyond webmail and an additional 48% will buy them in the next 2-3 years.
Q.: Why do you plan to expand to other regions?
VK.: For the same reasons, basically. We are looking at emerging markets like the Middle-East, North Africa and Asia. In many of these regions, broadband penetration is high, SIM card penetration is way above 100%, so telecommunication service providers are struggling with churn and constant decrease of their ARPU. Mobile subscriptions often continue to rise with many customers using multiple devices to fulfil their communication needs. Commoditisation of mainstream products is increasing for telcos as broadband access becomes ubiquitous across markets and product differentiation becomes increasingly difficult to deliver. Many telcos realise they must change traditional business models and are placing increased importance on their value added services portfolios as a means of driving customer loyalty and to mitigate revenue declines. Whereas some telcos have a clear strategy, few have been successful in deploying their cloud service portfolios to market in a meaningful and monetised way.
Q.: How can you help telcos in deploying their cloud services successfully?
VK.: We have developed a three-pillar business model which proves to be highly efficient for cloud deployment and cloud strategy implementation. Drawing on these values of platform, services and consultancy, Neostratus assists aspiring cloud providers to effectively address the two key challenges of deploying an in-house cloud -: cost and time to market. Additional value arises from crucial services such as integration with the partner’s core systems, white-labelling of the cloud services and easy customization for the end user. The right cloud services enabler has both the integrated platform solutions and the expertise to work through technical issues and this is where Neostratus’ invaluable experience and know-how has been instrumental. Partnering with Neostratus ensures implementation of the best solution and launch of relevant, white-labelled cloud services to market in a very efficient and timely manner. Successful cloud services deployment depends on successful go-to-market planning and execution as well. Therefore, it is essential for Neostratus to drive partner channel enablement with special focus on go-to-market and cloud advisory services. After rebranding, Neostratus remains a professional technology company, but at the same time we want to emphasize our cloud advisory capabilities.