Vendor Spotlight: Focusing on the Huawei Better Connected World Vision

May 4, 2016

Author: David Mario Smith

Summary

Enterprise planners responsible for communications and collaboration strategy should pay attention to the implications of Huawei’s “Better Connected World” vision for a more collaborative digital workplace.

Findings

  • The communications and collaboration market is undergoing consolidation and technology convergence.
  • Communications and collaboration PaaS is emerging to  collaboration enable business applications.
  • A full information and communications technology (ICT) portfolio requires providers to have open ecosystems.

Recommendations

  • Develop workplace collaboration strategies that include support for  internal and external participants.
  • Do not Invest in collaboration tools in a vacuum without factoring in other workplace technologies.
  • Get guidance on your collaboration provider's roadmap to ensure it complements goals of the organization.
  • Evaluate technology providers focused on building open ecosystems around their platforms and portfolios.

Takeaways

Huawei has to continue its focus on messaging its connected world vision with a focus on specific business roles within key vertical industries and organizations. Being a strong technology and services company, Huawei has to translate what that technology means from a solutions perspective when brought to bear on specific business processes. Enterprise planners have to evaluate communications and collaboration providers like Huawei based on innovation, openness and solutions that will enable specific business outcomes.

Analysis

Huawei, headquartered in China, has been emerging in the overall Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) spaces respectively as a global leader. While a global technology giant across a variety of markets, enterprise penetration in the US has been a growing area of focus. As we look deeper into its strategy though, we believe Huawei’s building a connected world vision is consistent with where we believe the communications and collaboration market is headed.

Huawei reiterated its Connected World vision at its recent Huawei Analyst Summit in Shenzhen, China, April 11-13, 2016. While I was there, we heard Huawei communicate its major initiatives around its cloudification strategy, digital transformation, IoT and an ecosystem PaaS play with OpenStack. Huawei will be investing $1 billion over a five year period to build out its developer ecosystem.

Huawei’s business is growing at 37 percent year over year, with 2015 revenue reaching $60.8 billion. Most of that revenue comes from its Carrier and Consumer business. However, Huawei is continually growing its enterprise business and focusing on a cross vertical approach to target all industries. Several case studies were displayed at the Analyst Summit event that highlighted this strategy. Also, Huawei’s UCC revenue grew by 13.3 percent in 2015, which highlights great opportunity in enterprise communications.

Intensified Market Consolidation and Convergence

The communications and collaboration space is undergoing tremendous consolidation and technology convergence simultaneously. It is an unprecedented time in this market and the vendors that will succeed will have to be proficient in a broader set of competencies. While point solutions will continue to highlight needs in broader technology portfolios, the move toward collaboration platform as a service (PaaS) will see more flexible vendor platforms that will extend capabilities via APIs. This bodes well for larger technology players. Huawei’s broad set of capabilities and enabling PaaS, will see them focus heavily on building an open ecosystem of partners. This ecosystem will be a key to success.

Spotlight on Huawei

With Huawei positioned as a global leader in ICT, which covers communications and collaboration, its ability to execute its connected world vision is very much in its power to do. There is seemingly not a market or industry Huawei doesn’t have a presence in. It’s that broad portfolio that will potentially enable them to execute their vision.

Product and Solutions Portfolio

Huawei’s offerings span three main business areas, which include Carrier, Enterprise and Consumer. Products and solutions across those business areas include fixed broadband, networking, managed services, cloud computing, UCC, wireless, smartphones and tablets among many others. True to its connected world theme, these solutions and services lend themselves to Huawei’s efforts in IoT, connected Homes and Smart Cities. This spans all vertical industries well.

I believe a key for Huawei will be in continually building out its services arm. Huawei’s consumer, carrier and enterprise businesses gives it a unique differentiator because of the information and data flows it can bring to bear on direct services. The data and expertise acquired from those businesses can be leveraged to provide a unique set of services to go along with its technology. Most of Huawei’s competitors in the communications and collaboration space are trying to figure out and move towards software and services. I strongly believe we are moving to a service economy across all business sectors.

Digital Transformations Leads to an Era of Connectedness

We are in the midst of a digital era with digital transformation impacting all businesses and disrupting old business models. The idea of technology silos is dated. The single vendor ecosystem is also being disrupted as the industry moves towards open ecosystems and an API and algorithm economy. Huawei’s connected world vision encompasses this notion of a digital economy and being a part of a digitally connected world community.

This means targeted focus on user experience and expanding carriers and partner relationships. It requires Huawei bringing to bear its full arsenal of solutions from Ubiquitous Broadband, to video, to Software Defined Architecture and digital services such as IoT and video to enable enhanced connected experiences.

Connectedness Requires a Scalable Network

With the depth and breadth Huawei possesses, innovation in ICT has been a key priority. A connected world requires a strong, reliable and secure communications network. IoT promises anything that can be connected will be connected.  With connectivity as the key, Huawei has been focused on the infrastructure and the network that will enable the scale of connectivity IoT will require. With billions of connected devices, real-time interactions, data transmission and the analytics and intelligence needed to collaboratively process the data, a strong, reliable and scalable network solution is required. An ecosystem approach of partnerships and interoperability is a critical requirement as well.

Opportunities and Challenges

Huawei has a great opportunity to be a leading voice for global, cross company communications and collaboration connectivity. With presence in the carrier, enterprise and consumer spaces, Huawei has amassed expertise that will position them as a thought leader with proven solutions and services. However, a big challenge will be penetration in north America. Success in north America and globally will require Huawei to translate its global expertise into easily explainable services that resonate with enterprise buyers. It has to resonate with the individuals themselves and make sense that it will enhance work processes and impact the bottom line.


Enterprise leaders are focusing more on solutions that enable outcomes. Also, enterprise technology buyers are increasingly shifting to lines of business leaders. Business leaders are emerging with both hard and soft skills. They now have the budget for more technology investments than the traditional IT function does alone. Knowing how to talk to these business leaders so it resonates will be a key factor for success.