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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vodafone new non-exec.... adding enterprise IT knowledge looks a good move

One of my major criticisms of most mobile operators is that they fail to understand - and focus on - their corporate customers. Most seem to be run by consumer-centric boards made up of directors' with backgrounds from Coca Cola or Procter & Gamble. Unsurprisingly, this results in a focus on entertainment, "content", and flashy consumer advertising and branding strategies. Usually, corporate-related issues like systems integration, migration, and interoperability with IT / LAN / WAN sides of businesses get overlooked.

So against this background, Vodafone's appointment of the ex-CIO of HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, has to be seen as a good sign.


Anonymous said...

I don't think they are adding much enterprise IT knowledege at all.I think its probably more relevant that they are non-exec positions and both appointees are accountants with a strong interest in reporting systems. More to do with Yodafones scale than its customer base.

alex said...

Board members with enterprise business background or not, most mobile-centric operators would have to invest a lot to build up a channel to the enterprises.
I am sure Vodafone and others have made plenty of internal studies but couldn't come up with a ROI within the few years tolerated by shareholders.

It's more or less only the ex-PTT operators who have built up enterprise channels during their past history - slowly and without shareholders waiting for the next quarterly results.

Dean Bubley said...

In my view, it's more the importance from a "philosophical level". Merely having someone around who is unlikely to be swayed by nonsense rhetoric is useful.

Someone who'll point out that "everything will be mobile" is a ludicrous statement when you've got a 10,000-seat call centre, for example. Or highlight the absolute priority of enterprise network security.

The other argument - and one I've held for a while - is that Voda ought to consider acquiring system integrators or other IT channels, as these are clearly the main contact/sales points to business end-users.

alex said...

Good point.