Japanese telecom operator NTT has agreed to acquire Centerstance, a consulting firm that specializes in showing companies how to move their data and operations into the cloud. The acquisition of Centerstance is the next stage in NTT’s involvement with cloud services, which has been growing over the past several years, both organically and inorganically. This latest inorganic move indicates that NTT plans not only to provide cloud-based data storage for its customers, but also intends to take a broader role in helping them combine and consolidate various cloud solutions that may be provided by outside entities.
The cloud’s rise to prominence globally is further demonstrated by a report this week that 53 percent of Australian companies spend over 10 percent of their IT budget on cloud-related services. And 70 percent of companies polled say that they will significantly increase their cloud expenditures in the coming year.
While the cloud is a very disruptive force for the traditional software industry, it could be a boon for the telecom sector. Everything stored in the cloud has to be communicated with in order to be used, and that communication is going to take place via fixed line and mobile connections. And, of course, data moves from local storage to the cloud by means of the same kinds of connections. With the explosive growth of tablets and Smartphones and their expanded capabilities, there will be ever-greater need for such movement of, and communication with, data.
By embracing cloud computing, NTT is placing itself ahead of the curve. We at Tarifica believe that all operators, mobile and fixed, would be smart to follow their example and pursue cloud strategies. These could be very diverse. One revenue-generating possibility is for providers to create their own data storage centers; this is just one way in which they can avoid the pitfall of becoming simply conduits for data. They could enter into partnerships with designers of applications such as sales force and accounting tools; they could also partner with or acquire consulting firms, as NTT is doing. In general, operators that think creatively will find themselves in an enviable position, able to prosper in difficult times, while those that are stuck in their ways are likely to be reduced to a subsidiary role in the changing information economy.