An Interview with Mark Harrison from NTT Communications
Arkadin and NTT Communications recently launched their first joint offer: UC-Connect. It comprises an end-to-end solution for enterprise collaboration from one single supplier, including UCaaS as well as SD-WAN. In this interview, Mark Harrison, Head of New Business Sales for NTT Com, explains the motives for creating UC-Connect and what it brings to customers.
Helen: What’s driving the requirement for a joint offer – UCaaS and SD-WAN?
Mark: The driver is an explosion of Internet-based applications. I’m talking about one-size-fits-all applications like Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams and Salesforce, but also proprietary content management systems, e-commerce platforms and the like. Enterprises are looking to organize their business around delivering better outcomes. They need to be agile, competitive and ready to take advantage of emerging opportunities. An agile voice and data solution can help them achieve this.
Helen: Are your customers looking at their unified communications and networking projects either in parallel or together?
Mark: Historically they wouldn’t have done. The notion of presence, the notion of collaboration, is an ambition that businesses and technology providers have promised for ten years or more. But fact is, that if you want to start running live sessions with video, voice and content collaboration in real time, you’ve got to have a network that can support that.
In the past companies have not joined the user profiling and the network design together. That is changing now.
Helen: Can you tell us a bit more about what NTT Com and Arkadin’s joint proposition will mean to clients?
Mark: For clients, it means a real end-to-end solution. From how employees collaborate with each other and with customers, to the network architecture which supports this. You can’t have an enterprise-grade unified communications deployment without an enterprise-grade network to support it – it’s two halves of a whole. Working with one supplier gives you agility and expertise all under one roof.
Helen: What differentiates us as the NTT Group from the competition?
Mark: The big difference is having a single point of ownership for both the UCaaS and network proposition. There are a plethora of network providers and Microsoft partners that will claim to deliver these capabilities individually, but there aren’t many that can bring the two together. In addition to that, NTT is a global carrier.
Helen: What do businesses often do wrong or where do they face challenges?
Mark: The biggest challenges for enterprises are lack of design and lack of network optimization. Unified Communications alone isn’t going to split the sky; it’s a mature capability. What’s changed is that very few companies actually got this right. Very few companies have a collaboration platform and a presence model that really supports their business. And as if it doesn’t work, people won’t use it. That’s where we can help.