Chief Strategy Officer John Donovan maps the new business landscape
Mr Donovan says AT&T is going all in.
"You’re going to be surprised at what AT&T is capable of pulling off. If I sat here five years ago and said we intend to be the most aggressive IT company in the world – you’ve have looked and said – ‘not going to happen.’ There’s no one in the world at our scale that’s moved 80% of our applications to the cloud."
"If I told you that we’d have 5% of our network functions for the customer operating in the cloud, for the customer facing network and in a single year we’re going to take that from five to thirty, I’d dare you to say ‘not going to happen.’ We as a carrier are going to be able to come over the top – we’re going to have software and get dark fibre and be in the business. As we build out the technology we’re going to be bring to the fore some very difficult questions for competitors and suppliers and for regulators as well and I don’t think there is anything wrong with us pushing that envelope. Whether its connected cars in Europe or enterprise services in Mexico."
The customer sets the pace
"The comment we get from customers is why aren’t you going faster. Why aren’t you in this geography or that country? Network on demand is the fastest growing service we’ve ever had. This is software based bandwidth adjustment on the fly on prem at a customer. If we have fibre and electronics to your building we can have it running in four days and after that you can adjust your bandwidth consumption as you like by yourself. What took days now takes just over a minute through a portal and in the future it will be through an API which can take a particular workload or process and adjust the bandwidth needed for it."
Who owns the customer?
In telecoms there is significant debate about who owns the customer in a collaborative world.
"If I were debating it I’d say, we’re in the game. Is the industry in the game, I ‘m not sure. I think I’d tip to a no. I think awareness is high. I think readiness is mid to low. When we characterise internally, we don’t look at the pace of what our telecoms brethren are doing. That’s not at all the benchmarks.
We look at what the web scale players and the software folks are doing. It is inevitable that the big web scale players will slow down. It is inevitable that they will have to focus on reliability, that they’ll increase their footprint, that they’ll densify their data centres, so we are speeding up and shrinking down some of our infrastructure and their’s is growing. The question is will we land on the same point 24-36 months from now."
What remains constant is that for AT&T the irreducible is "We have to own the software, the network and the network operating system."