Press Release

IBM has extended its lead in providing the mix of services that global and large enterprises need as they increasingly buy software applications as cloud services.

These buyers must consider not only the applications themselves but also the infrastructures that support them. They need to know that the networks linking applications to end users are up to the job and, as part of meeting security and privacy requirements, they must be comfortable about where data are stored or processed in the cloud.

IBM now offers hundreds of enterprise software applications as cloud services. Although IBM is not predominantly a network provider it also has a network linking its many global data centres and beyond.

T-Systems, which has a wider global network, has around 60 such applications running in German data centres.

Flexible access to cloud applications is part of the end game as network and IT sectors converge. And as network and infrastructure providers play their part this creates new areas of differentiation between them. For example BT, Level 3 and Orange are at various stages of implementing software defined networking, cloud-relevant SLAs and ecosystems of cloud partners.

According to David McCron, Director of BRC Consultancy, "Cloud-based applications will increasingly drive purchases of network links and, of course, other supporting infrastructures. This could cause providers of networks and infrastructures to lose control of end customer revenues, so they need sound strategies for capturing cloud application traffic and sustaining their own differentiation and growth."

Network provider NTT may provide an example with its recent acquisition of Nefos, a Salesforce Consulting Partner. This should enable NTT to capture traffic from Salesforce and other SaaS-based applications which need networks to reach them.
Other providers of global networks or infrastructure generally offer access to far fewer enterprise applications running in the cloud, although most of them offer access to major ones from Amazon and Microsoft and to various cloud-based tools and components for IT departments.

These findings come from BRC research reports. These include Transformations and Convergence in Enterprise Markets for Networks and IT, which explains how these markets are changing as a result of key trends interacting with each other, and World Cloud Networks, which compares cloud application solutions from top providers relevant to multinational companies.

BRC Consultancy Ltd is an independent consulting firm focusing on enterprise markets for network and cloud-based services. We bring our clients better market visibility derived from our unique market monitoring and the wide range of consultancy projects we have conducted for service providers and for their enterprise customers.