Frost & Sullivan: ICT players looking to become Smart Enablers
Date: Thu, 12/22/2011 - 14:56 Source: Frost & Sullivan press department
Mobile World Congress, Barcelona
Image credited to ITU
The ICT sector faces a significant number of challenges. Irrespective of the specific segment of the ICT space in question, players are evolving their strategies to contend with overarching trends such as: saturation of traditional markets; the growing threat of new market entrants; and commoditization of core products and services.
Among the key strategies to address these challenges, Frost & Sullivan has observed a clear desire among leading ICT players to transform and become Smart Enablers. In short, to reduce the threat of becoming commodity providers, ICT players are increasingly seeking out opportunities to deliver essential solutions for the strategic development of their customers.
Research Manager Adrian Drozd says: "In the UK and across the rest of Europe, we are seeing leading ICT providers – everyone from Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom to IBM and Orange Business Services – striving to verticalise both their offerings and market approaches. For some, this is primarily a marketing exercise aimed at building awareness in core industry sectors. For others, it entails a complete revamp of corporate structure".
Without exception, leading players in the vertical markets are considering how the right investments in ICT can help, among many other benefits: make operations more efficient; increase the effectiveness of the supply chain, sharpen competitive differentiation; enhance product and service design; smarten management of customers and internal resources. In other words, ICT is seen as an enabler for both cost and revenue enhancement.
"The ICT function within companies of all sizes continues to make progress in breaking out of the back-office and into the Boardroom", explains Adrian Drozd. "ICT is today, more so than ever, seen as a core input to strategic and operational decision-making. Yet, many of the smart applications, enabling technologies and disruptive innovations that companies seek to understand are only just emerging. Beyond internal resources and industry peers, companies look to partners, not suppliers, for insight and advice on how to best leverage ICT. We believe there is a gap in the ICT provider market place; we believe ICT players need to rapidly develop vertical market expertise that will enable them to add value in the way customers expect."
Any company targeting specific vertical market opportunities needs to develop and promote a clear value proposition to its clients and prospects; whether demonstrating the benefits that its current portfolio can deliver, or creating new solutions that enable them to move up the value chain and become pivotal players in industry ecosystems. Above all, ICT players support their customers' growth ambitions by helping them to navigate the complex opportunities and challenges they face.
In a recent survey, Frost & Sullivan found that although 85% of ICT companies believe that vertical market solution strategies are critical to their success, 80% believe they lack a robust and comprehensive enough market research platform to understand how to define, understand and address opportunities successfully.
Frost & Sullivan ICT Director Daniel Shepherd explains: "Addressing this challenge is complex – making the transition to becoming a Smart Enabler to customers across a variety of vertical industries is not an easy task. The level of complexity implied in this transformation means everyone lacks a complete understanding. Every vertical has its own industry structure, its own unique requirements and specific regulatory considerations. To compound matters, a sector can be very different from one country market to another – the degree of industry consolidation, entrenchment of rival ICT providers, level of customer buying power and local regulatory conditions are just some of the factors that drive complexity for ICT players seeking to exploit opportunities. It is for these very reasons that we have launched a new research program focusing exclusively on providing an end-to-end perspective on ICT within verticals."