EVENT

Setting out our Comms Vision

December 2021

Last month, Virgin Media O2 Wholesale took part in the two-day Comms Vision connectivity conference at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perth, Scotland.

This year’s event focused on the trends driving industry change and customer value creation and how businesses should be preparing for sustainable long-term growth.

The importance of adding strategic value for customers

We participated in a number of sessions across the two days, kicking off with a “Super Session” discussion featuring Diego Tedesco, Director of Wholesale Fixed at Virgin Media O2 Business, along with a number of other industry experts. The session looked at defining value creation in disruptive times.

Among the themes discussed was how the channel can become more customer-centric – for example, working with Hyperscalers to supplement and enhance cloud services.

“When an off-the-shelf solution does the job, let's use the partner ecosystem with the Hyperscalers to augment our solutions,” said Diego. “Where they don't fit the need, we have a very important role to play.”

Our research with Censuswide has found that nearly four in ten (39 per cent) senior IT Managers want more consultancy on the best digital services for their business.

As Steve Warburton, Managing Director, Zen Partner, observed. "There is a perception that it's all plug-and-play and that couldn't be further from the truth - complex environments require a real skill to optimise and configure correctly.”

Diego also argued that during this time of transformation, the channel needed to come together as a community to tackle common challenges.

A digital crossroad

Diego expanded on this theme in a later speech to the conference regarding the growing need for flexible services.

“What I think the pandemic has done, is shine a light on the importance of agility. How vital it is to set ourselves up to pivot at a moment’s notice. And it’s very clear that those that were able to adapt, thrived,” said Diego.

According to Forbes, in the last ten years, three out of four companies in the Fortune 1,000 have been replaced. And in the next decade, Forbes predicts that over 50% of the Fortune 500 won’t exist.

Our research with the Centre of Economic and Business Research found that the pandemic accelerated digital progress by three years. And in some sectors, like health, this boost was as much as five.

“There is an opportunity to take the learnings of the pandemic, maintain the momentum and move forward in a positive way,” argued Diego in an interview with Comms Dealer’s Stuart Gilroy, following his speech at Comms Vision.

“We are at a crossroads where digital technology is deployed at every corner of society. One road is to embrace change – the other is BAU. You could call the status quo stable, safer, more predictable - but it's the exact opposite.”

A more flexible approach to contracts

We discussed some of the ways we're seeking to tackle this particular challenge in two breakout boardroom sessions.

In the first, James Audley, Head of Wholesale Product, Marketing and Strategy at Virgin Media O2 Business, discussed why the wholesale business has introduced a radically new contract model, known as UltimateFlex.

UltimateFlex enables partners to take wholesale Ethernet, Dedicated Internet Access (leased line) and High Capacity Services (HCS) on a cancel anytime, flexible contract.

It’s designed to provide partners with the tools to create tailored contracts for their customers while simplifying front book, back book challenges. Rental rates are also regularly benchmarked against acquisition prices, creating additional savings as market rates for bandwidth falls. And there’s no installation of excess construction charges to worry about either.

As James explained: “UltimateFlex was designed to offer a long-term commitment that can keep pace with the rate of digital transformation and give our partners the confidence they need to quickly respond to changes in the market.”

You can find out more about UltimateFlex here.

A bright future

Meanwhile, the second session explored what the recent merger between Virgin Media Business and O2 means for our network - which now supports 47m UK connections and 15.5m homes and businesses.

Diego took to the stage again to explain that while our focus over the last few months has been business integration, our priority will shift towards uncovering the opportunities for cross-pollination of services across the business.

“As a much larger business, we are better able to invest, upgrade, maintain, provide new services, innovate, and take risks,” said Diego.

From smart cities to the opportunities to open up employment to millions of people via hybrid working, connectivity will help shape the UK’s future.

As Diego concluded in his speech to the conference: “Let’s shake up the status-quo together. Let’s embrace change. Let’s raise the bar on behalf of the customers we serve, for everyone’s benefit.”

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