Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Managed Network Service Provider Update

Demand for managed network service (MNS) providers is growing fast as enterprises of all sizes grapple with increasing network traffic and complexity. At the same time, enterprises are seeing their services budgets shrink.

This has created an intensely competitive landscape among global MNS providers, and even the industry's bellwether providers face new and significant competitive threats.

In a new report, independent market analyst firm Datamonitor ranks 13 of the world's leading MNS providers based on their network services, end-user sentiment and market impact.

The global MNS market is extremely competitive, particularly among the large telecommunications providers and conglomerate systems integrators that dominate it -- AT&T, BT Global Services, HP Services and IBM Global Technology Services.

Yet new threats are emerging in the form of smaller, more agile rivals, such as CSC, Orange Business Services, Verizon Business and Vanco, despite the latter's recent financial troubles.

These smaller providers are forging key partnerships to expand their MNS portfolios while at the same time keeping focused on overall customer experience. This is putting new competitive pressure on the industry's market leaders.

There is a chase to the mid-market among most of the world's top MNS providers, which consider the small to mid-sized enterprise market as the next frontier for new customers and revenues.

And, while the vast majority of MNS revenue is driven by large enterprise customers, small to mid-sized enterprises are increasingly seeking out MNS as their networks also become more complex and difficult to manage.

However, Datamonitor research shows that mid-market user sentiment varies to that of large enterprises and that most MNS providers are missing the mark when it comes to the mid-market.

There has also been a flurry of consolidation in the market, including among the top big-four as well as among smaller yet highly competitive rivals. In some cases, smaller players, such as THUS and Vanco, have acquired newfound market impact, which may in time catapult them to the next competitive level.

The Datamonitor report findings show that the most successful MNS providers have a winning combination of broad portfolio capacity, solid financial stability, excellent quality of services, customer relationship management and global reach.

It also predicts that while managed network services will continue to align with business objectives, providers must adopt a more focused go-to-market approach and improve their execution capabilities for future success.