Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Next Wave for Service Providers - A Vision Towards 2015

The service provider (SP) industry no longer exists as we once knew it. With the advent of the Internet and the proliferation of digital content, the industry now consists of much more than traditional telcos and network providers. It incorporates all aspects of the new, digital value chain, including content creation and management, devices, advertising, and traditional network transport and service provision.

Despite increasing consumer demand and network growth, the SP industry’s future is far from clear. How much longer will this phase continue? How will it ultimately unfold? And, what will ultimately replace it? These are the questions on CEOs’ minds as they determine the strategies and actions they should take to ensure future success.

Cisco developed a number of plausible scenarios that provide a framework for SP executives to evaluate the future and rationally assess strategic options under different conditions. Cisco developed these scenarios based on an extensive global survey of more than 4,600 Cisco employees, in addition to supplemental research and interviews with industry experts.
Cisco firmly believes that some variant of the SP industry’s future is described by these scenarios. They provide tools and insights to help SPs become better informed and more prepared for the future, and to respond more quickly to conditions as they deviate from the industry norm. The scenarios’ true value comes from encouraging SPs to map out a strategy that helps them shape the future, rather than having it shape them.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Small Businesses Ride the Cloud

Cloud services are currently one of the hottest topics in the IT world, and it’s no wonder—Gartner projects this sector’s revenues will exceed $150 billion by 2013.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been the most aggressive segment to adopt cloud services. As they typically have less-complex IT needs, fewer legacy applications, and less IT support than larger enterprises, SMBs are often happy to hand over the delivery and operation of IT to third parties, freeing SMBs to focus on running their businesses. Research by McKinsey confirms this, finding that SMBs with fewer than 250 employees are more than twice as likely as larger companies to adopt subscription or on-demand technology services.

To date, much of the research and analysis on cloud services has focused on market sizing and the technology. Little emphasis has been placed on understanding customer needs and buying behavior. In particular, there is limited understanding of the needs and perspectives of SMBs, and how service providers (SPs) can be successful selling to this rapidly growing and attractive market.

Cisco IBSG undertook its SMB Cloud Watch survey to better understand customer needs and strategies for success in the U.S. and German SMB cloud services markets. SMB Cloud Watch was an online survey of 510 IT buyers in the United States and 502 IT buyers in Germany, representing SMB customers with 5 to 250 employees. The survey sought to understand which cloud services these customers use now, which ones they will employ in the future, and from whom they would buy these services. In addition, Cisco IBSG wanted to understand the specific role and opportunity for service providers, and how they might differentiate their cloud offers to SMBs.

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Winning in Next Generation Television

The Internet is coming to your television and your television is coming to your computer and mobile phone. Industry pundits optimistically talk about the wonderful world of Next Generation Television, but industry players are grappling with trying to understand what these significant transitions mean to their business. This paper uses customer research, case studies and industry experience to provide insights into the big opportunities in Next Generation TV and how cable providers can best position for success. I provide a framework for assessing the different opportunities that exist now and in the future. Extensive consumer research reveals some interesting, and somewhat controversial, insights into what consumers value in their future television experience. Based on these insights, I present a roadmap of how we think future services and features will evolve in the marketplace. Lastly, I discuss new opportunities for providers to make money from Next Generation TV.

The full document can be downloaded here