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Empowering the Smart Enterprise

Ronald Schapendonk

Marketing Director, NEC Enterprise Solutions, EMEA:Ronald Schapendonk

Ronald Schapendonk is the creator of NEC's Smart Enterprise marketing concept, a crisp and clear idea that integrates NEC's IT and communications capabilities into attractive global business solutions, and offers enterprises the framework they need to forge a smarter way to build a resilient infrastructure and embrace latest applications for their business benefit. Built upon a solid IT platform, the Smart Enterprise framework's range of powerful technologies and business applications enable smart organizations to optimize their business practices, ensure secure and agile operations, boost the engagement of mobile workforces, and stay ahead of the competition.

The network becomes the organization

Photo: Ronald Schapendonk

--Can you explain the essence of the Smart Enterprise marketing concept?

In essence, at the highest level, we commit to build a resilient, secure and agile infrastructure that enables organizations to provide better services at a lower cost, and empowers organizations to be more competitive. This means converging applications that empower workforces to work from anywhere. Workforces need to be connected seamlessly and securely, with access to business services and collaboration tools that empower them to engage internally and also externally with clients.

--You would need a very strong IT platform to facilitate this kind of business operation. How does the Smart Enterprise framework facilitate this?

The fundamental point of the Smart Enterprise concept is that the framework and solutions integrate key technologies, applications and media endpoints that can be used in a number of ways. At the same time, the solutions must give organizations the flexibility to make choices in what they deploy, depending on their business needs at any point of time. The framework components include all kinds of NEC technologies from servers, to storage and network management tools, as well as technologies such as software-defined services, high availability and virtualization. Combining all or some of these technologies enables us to create a platform that empower organizations, and their workforces, to work smarter and be smarter.

The four key value pillars for smart business optimization

--You have compiled solutions based upon four key value pillars: business agility, cloud delivery, collaborative communities and assured services. Can you take us through them?

Our "Business Agility" value pillar has been defined as empowering mobile workforces and their IT environments to be more responsive to dynamic business needs. The human resources component is critical for workforces, but the IT department is also key to helping businesses respond faster to changing needs.
We can ensure these technologies are delivered as modular services within the Smart Enterprise framework.

Figure: Four Key Value Pillars

The trend over recent years has been towards the provision of cloud services. Our "Cloud Delivery" value proposition seeks to deliver full cloud or hybrid deployment models that encourage flexibility. We help organizations make the best decisions in terms of what to deploy around the cloud, depending on business processes and the sensitivity of business data.

Our "collaborative communities" value pillar offers powerful tools to guarantee a user-rich experience and facilitate efficient collaboration across an organization, and with clients, business partners and suppliers as well. We are proposing new applications that enable communities to communicate or collaborate productively anytime, anywhere, anyhow. That is the true essence of communities.

Finally, security is a big issue on many corporate agenda. In order to deliver agile, cloud and collaborative community components, communications and applications must be delivered in a highly available, secure and stable manner. Our "Assured Services" pillar offer applications within the framework which ensure vital business continuity.

The Smart Enterprise framework in action

--How are customers reacting to the Smart Enterprise framework?

We already have some great case studies, and customers are beginning to see the full potential of the Smart Enterprise framework. For example, one of our business partners has worked closely with universities in Saudi Arabia to deliver the fruits of the full framework to students. Powerful applications direct communication and secure storage of all data on the university servers. The universities are now optimizing the solutions by introducing software-defined networking to control network traffic more flexibly and smoothly.

We also work closely together with all the global brands in the hospitality industry and are delivering technologies from the Smart Enterprise framework ranging from communication applications, to guest and mobile services. Besides obvious elements like guest communications and Front-office integration, effective data storage is increasingly important for hospitality brands because it enables them to retrieve previous guest preferences, and improve the guest experience by offering a band of guest-specific services.

Conceiving the Smart Enterprise idea

--Looking back, how did you shape the Smart Enterprise concept?

The whole idea started around two years ago here in the Netherlands. We started with internal discussions about how to best integrate NEC's IT and communications components within our offering, and how to market that effectively. Multiple interviews with customers and business partners revealed there was a strong demand for a combined IT and communications proposition. That's when we began building the framework. At a certain point, I said, this is a much smarter way of delivering solutions to customers, so why don't we call it the "Smart Enterprise." In other words, the framework delivers technology components in a smarter way, enables workforces to work in a smarter way, and helps IT managers and CIOs integrate components in a smarter way.

Next, we recognized the critical need for clearly defined value propositions. We determined our four key value pillars based on further research with key clients and business partners. Then, various NEC regional centers got together to discuss whether the Smart Enterprise framework and direction could also be used to market IT and communications offerings in their own individual regions.

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