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This post is by Adrian Baschnonga, lead analyst at EY’s Global Telecommunications Center 

Enterprises are driven and challenged by a growing need for globalisation, operational and CAPEX efficiencies, and convergence across multiple devices. The inherent requirement for enterprises to connect with partners, suppliers, customers and employees is leading to newer forms of ubiquitous connectivity solutions.

The enterprise market segment has traditionally been dominated by fixed-network operators. However, with the growth of high-speed mobile networks, rapid improvement in handset capabilities and significant competitive pressure in the retail segment, this space has become a key opportunity for mobile network operators (MNOs) seeking to grow profits.

Mobile broadband technology is revolutionising the way enterprises do business. For the traditional vertical enterprise segments such as field service, health care, public safety and utilities, mobile broadband technology is enabling new business concepts, strategies and workforce productivity improvements that previously were impossible. Mobile broadband capabilities are attracting enterprises that previously did not consider themselves candidates for mobile connectivity.

The rise in mobile workforce is blurring the lines of the conventional office. Mobile broadband technologies enable businesses to move enterprise-critical applications outside the office confines, and still be connected to the corporate backend systems, providing real-time updates.

Mobility is a key driver in the productivity evolution of the Enterprise market segment. With the wide scale deployment of 3G and now LTE/4G technologies, enterprises are now able to utilise seamless connectivity to access various forms of mobile data  applications that take advantage of the higher bandwidth. These networks enable simple integration into the existing enterprise remote/mobility solutions, thereby improving efficiency and workforce productivity by addressing all standard platforms.

Enterprises are favouring flexible technology deployment options that convert upfront CAPEX to OPEX. Shortening of technology life cycles is also propagating the case for flexible deployments. SMBs functioning on low cost models are adopting new technologies that overcome challenges around high material costs, changes in structure, size and location of business and cash flow shortages. Measurable benefits of implementing mobile data solutions include:

►     Improved collaboration

►     Enhanced productivity benefits

►     Reduced product and service time-to-market

►     Flexible working

►     Optimised operations, including logistics

►     Enhanced customer relationships

►     Streamlined supply chain management

►     Addressing security issues

MNOs are gearing-up for this opportunity by leveraging their core competencies to build a winning service portfolio. Most believe that MNOs are well suited to address the concerns around security, cost management and device control.

A suite of new mobile-based service launches is expected to influence the dynamics of the telecoms landscape by giving rise to newer business models. Services such as M2M communications, cloud computing, big data, telematics and enterprise mobility are creating new opportunities for MNOs.

The key for MNOs is to balance the investment needed against potential revenue opportunity. Operators need to evaluate internal capabilities which can be leveraged most effectively to deliver the new portfolio. Choosing many services may result in straining existing capabilities, while too few may jeopardize the potential returns. Also, targeting the right segment of customers with customised service offerings should help unlock significant value.

To find out more from EY about new enterprise opportunities check out download this white paper on how mobile broadband is the latest disruptive technology that is changing the way we work live and communicate and how technological advances in mobile, and high-speed mobile networks, growing smartphone penetration and significant competitive pressure in the retail segment are leading operators to rethink their strategies for servicing the enterprise segment.

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