Chalapathi Rao, Chief Executive Officer, Orange Business Services, India

Orange Business Services, a global player that operates in India and delivers solutions for industrial sites, has been offering a wide range of innovative services and solutions to customers. In an interview with, Chalapathi Rao, chief executive officer, Orange Business Services, India, talks about the company’s key focus areas, the opportunities that will open up with the launch of 5G, and future growth strategies. Edited excerpts…

What have been the key drivers of Orange Business Services’ business in India?

There is an unprecedented surge in dema­nd for network and bandwidth, with use cases ranging from traditional mobility, broadband and entertainment services to new cloud, internet of things (IoT) and edge platform-related services. In this new environment where telecom and IT are con­ver­ging, our integration capabilities and service offerings are essential in helping customers innovate and further ex­pand them­selves. Orange Business Ser­vices is evo­lving its core business by transforming its networks. It is focusing on key growth areas in the data journey: cloud, security, connectivity and customer experience (CX).

What are the company’s key offerings as a multi-platform service provider?

Orange Business Services is pivoting from being a connectivity services provider to a digital services firm that will support customers as they undergo a digital transformation in areas where connectivity meets data, cloud and cybersecurity. We offer a full suite of network and integration services with cutting-edge advanced solutions in various domains such as software-defin­ed wide area network (SD-WAN), multi-cloud services, data centres, security, artificial intelligence (AI) and collaboration services, supporting global MNCs, Indian enterprises and the government. For ex­ample, we have worked with multiple st­a­te governments to support their digital transformation journey in order to provide safe and secure citizen services.

Siemens recently partnered with us and has successfully migrated 1,168 of its worldwide locations to a global and secure SD-WAN infrastructure. We have also an­nounced a partnership with Netskope on carrier-class connectivity and SSE services for a secure, cloud-smart platform.

In the field of 5G, Orange Business Services has initiated many co-innovation partnerships to explore and develop use cases, particularly in the industrial sector. Over the next three years, we will also cooperate with ArcelorMittal to test 4G/ 5G connectivity at ArcelorMittal’s industrial sites in France. Expanding our IoT portfolio, we have collaborated with Saf­ran Aircraft Engines to equip two key production sites with its smart track­ing IoT solution, which harnesses an eco­system of industry-leading partners specialising in geolocation technologies in industrial settings. In the field of cybersecurity, Akzo­Nobel is working with us to connect and manage its entire footprint across all re­gions, from factory to store. It is moving its applications to the cloud as part of its transformation.

How have customers’ business needs chan­ged in the post-pandemic era? What solutions does Orange Business Services offer to meet these needs?

Digital and business transformations have never been more important to enterprises than they are now. Most business-to-business (B2B) players continue to deal with changing customer expectations and disruptions in supply chains. In the wake of the pandemic, telecom operators are reinventing their edge platforms, operating as digital service providers and enablers. IT and network workloads are being moved to hybrid multicloud platforms by telcos to effectively address the enhanced pressures. Telcos are also exploring ways to embrace open ecosystems to better control network resources, using everything from edge to core to cloud.

Being a trusted partner, Orange helps its customers evolve and respond at the pace of the market, relying on solid technological pillars, today and tomorrow. Th­rough joint programmes with our custo­mers and dedicated areas, we are developing an approach with the objective of capturing new markets in different technology domains and reinventing ourselves to support customers in adopting future technology.

How has the acquisition of Basefarm, Login Consultants and The unbelievable Machine Company contributed to Orange’s portfolio? How will it impact the company’s revenue growth plans?

Recently, we consolidated our recent ac­quisitions – Basefarm, Login Consu­ltants and The unbelievable Machine Company – into the Orange family. This has strengthened the company’s extensive skill set as an end-to-end provider for bu­si­ne­sses of all sizes, by bringing together the competencies of these three companies. We have reinforced our cloud-centric capa­bilities by combining affiliates under a united brand. This move reinforces our standing as a leading global network-na­tive digital services company, underscoring our cloud-first vision as the focal point for all new digital experiences, and accelerating secure and sustainable transformations for our customers.

These acquisitions have enabled us to be a trailblazer when it comes to cloud innovation. It is allowing our customers to adopt cloud-first strategies in order to create value responsibly and ethically from data stored in a trusted cloud.

The acquisition of Basefarm, a Euro­pean player in cloud-based infrastructure and services, has delivered double-digit gro­wth since it was completed in 2018. With Login’s acquisition, Orange has gai­ned new capabilities in virtual desktop in­fra­structure, and infrastructure management.

What opportunities will the roll-out of 5G services open up for Orange Business Services in India? How do you plan to tap these opportunities?    

India has made significant progress to­wards 5G. Telcos are now leveraging horizontal IT architectures to redesign their network. The highly centralised applian­ce-based network architectures are en­abling several other technologies and service providers to deliver new network-as-a-service offerings. Cloud computing resources deployed in distributed data centres will serve as the edge of the network and provide a platform for next-generation applications and services. Our services cover connectivity, IoT, cloud, AI, application development and cybersecurity, helping companies create a positive impact with data.

With the roll-out of 5G services and changing business needs, Orange Business Services aims to securely accompany en­terprises across every stage of the data life cycle, end-to-end – from collection, transport, storage and processing to analysis and sharing. It aims to enable sustainable business growth and support its customers on their digital transformation journeys through various use cases, including auto­mation and innovation across different industry verticals.

In India, with our vast expertise and skill set, we are focused on providing private 5G deployment and support. We have set up innovation labs to support 5G use cases across different industry verticals in the country, including healthcare, manufacturing, mines and ports.

What will be your future growth plans in the Indian market?

Globally, we are reinventing ourselves as part of the Orange Group’s five-year stra­tegic plan, Engage 2025. We aim to generate more than half of our revenues from new connectivity services (SD-WAN, 5G) and IT services by 2023.

Our ambition is to build simpler and more agile end-to-end value propositions, create data solutions in a multicloud environment, provide protection with end-to-end cybersecurity, develop and industrialise our integration services, and finally, future-proof our and our customers’ businesses.

However, India is one of the key markets for us, and we will lead with our strong integration and service capabilities as we continue to provide our customers with sol­utions to address major cross-functional challenges:

  • Secure infrastructures: Our goal is to combine our business strategy with our customers’ infrastructure strategy to cr-eate a platform for successful business outcomes.
  • Smart industries and analytics: We aim to support our industrial customers in the digital transformation of their operational activities with end-to-end solutions based on system/infrastructure integrati­on capabilities, IT tools at the service of their operational performance, and underlying cybersecurity solutions.
  • Collaboration and CX: This is one of the significant areas of focus for us. We aim to transform the digital workspace, which includes the equipment that em­ploy­ees work on, the apps and pro­cesses they need to do their jobs, and the collaborative environment (including the office). We aim to help our clients build a closer relationship with their customers.

We are working towards growing our cybersecurity portfolio, as well as multi-cl­o­ud, SDX, CX and IT services, across all domains. In addition to improving the in­dustry’s compound annual growth rate, au­tomation will be our key focus and we will continue to invest in these areas while le­veraging our global expertise and streng­thening our local delivery skills.