Orange Business Services: 'Crisis is the time for new opportunities'


The international service provider Orange Business Services provides communication services for the largest Russian and international clients, ones like Danone, Heineken, Siemens, JTI, L'Oréal, Openbank, MDM Bank, Rosbank, Sberbank, and others. The CEO of Orange Russia & CIS, Richard van Wageningen, talked about the new opportunities opening up for Russia due to the crisis.

How has the economic situation in Russia affected business for your company?

When we were planning the budget for the current year, we already foresaw that it would be a bit more difficult to work. But we knew in advance where we could work more effectively. It is necessary to search out the ways to optimize expenditures. And in this respect, IT is helpful. Investing in it now may result in leaving competitors several years behind. In addition, IT solutions aid a great deal in a crisis — for example, clouds that you can use while paying only for the resources you consume. This is important during the expansion of a business or, on the contrary, during a scale reduction.

Have new opportunities opened up for the company?

Of course. A crisis is just a situation with different conditions which a company  has been accustomed to. It is comparable to driving in a car: when the streets are covered in snow and rain, we drive more carefully. If we are speaking of investments, then in this sense, large opportunities have revealed.

Why is it worth investing in Russia right now?

For us as an international service provider, business in Russia is very important. Investing in Russia now is even more profitable than before the crisis. He who buys now dictates his terms to the market. It might not be quite a simple situation today, but it is worth doing. Otherwise, after two years when the economy returns to growth you could be left behind the rest. For our part, we are investing resources into infrastructure in Russia, expanding our cloud platform, and doing all we can to remain a trusted business partner for our clients.

What are the new challenges faced by your clients?

The lion's share of our clients are financial organizations, oil and gas and extraction companies, and retail. Each of these sectors has been affected by the crisis in their own way. We are trying to support our clients, offering them more favorable conditions.

What measures must companies take in order to remain competitive in the new economic conditions?

Each company must understand why the client is purchasing specifically from it. Some place their stake on quality; others care about price or flexibility. We embrace these two approaches. Our strength is the large-scale Russian and international clients who we understand well and to whom we can offer better solutions.

The way of thinking of the company leaders is also very important. One director can say that everything is bad, but another one will appreciate results even if they are minimal. I am an optimist.

Which niches in your market in Russia do you intend to develop?

Organizations are increasingly transitioning to the cloud technologies.

Accordingly, all of our products and services are becoming cloud: telephony, audio-, video-, web-conferences, contact centers. We are also offering our clients virtual private and hybrid clouds. Hybrid clouds combine ease of management with the security of a private cloud.

Adding to that, the law on the storage of personal data will enter into force on September 1. It will require companies to store the data of Russian citizens on Russian territory. In the current situation, companies only have the options of investing in the expansion and updating of data centers in order to comply with the legislation or of transitioning to clouds as it gives companies additional flexibility and does not require investment in infrastructure or its renewal. We have noticed an increase in demand for cloud projects on the part of large companies. Our clients want to use our cloud platform. This is why we are investing in its expansion. In addition, we have here in Russia resources for our own data centers and we offer services on the basis of the data centers of our partners.

What are the prevailing trends in the market?

A key trend is mobility. Employees want to get mobile access to the same applications and systems that are on a computer anywhere and on any device. For this, the appropriate software tools have been developed and are being offered on the world and domestic IT market. We offer complex solutions for the secure management of mobile applications. Among the advantages are the absence of capital expenditures and investment in IT infrastructure and paying only for the devices actively used in the organization.

How are the security issues for this being solved?

This service is already being used around the world, including by financial institutions and state establishments that have the highest demands for managing IT infrastructure and ensuring its security. Among these establishments is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium. The mobile devices of its employees started to attract the attention of malicious users. The number of such devices grew and in order to safeguard them, the MOFA of Belgium appealed to Orange Business Services and chose our cloud service. This service supports nearly 500 mobile devices in various countries and makes it possible to implement security policy for desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets, including employees' personal devices.

In your opinion, how attractive is Russia to business?

Russia is a vast country, it is very attractive for investments. Here, there is everything you need to do business. This view is shared by my colleagues in France and around the world. We have well-developed infrastructure, qualified staff, and we will continue to invest  in Russia. Our company shows growth and the crisis is even helping us, because technologies are in demand.

Russia - France 2015
Russia - France 2015
Welcome to Russia-France business supplement, devoted to strengthening bilateral relations between Russia and France.
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