HP launched a communications as a service (CaaS) initiative on Wednesday to enable telcos to offer SME a path to cloud services.
According to a Forrester survey, SMEs represent a $6.2 billion market for communications services over the next five years. Most operators offer few advanced services to SMEs, and the services available are typically much less sophisticated and more costly than those offered to larger firms.
HP say its CaaS program will gives telcos the ability to sell flexible bundles of apps, starting with self-service IVR and video surveillance from HP, and unified communications and IP contact centers from partners such as Microsoft.
HP is starting with four services and will add additional components as demand develops. “While UC has the strongest potential, the four services can help small firms improve their business operations and customer service and save money,” said David Sliter, a vice-president at HP’s communications and media solutions (CMS) group. “These are tools that have been out of reach for many firms and can enable them to “respond rapidly to changing business needs and control costs.”
Given the current economic climate and SMEs’ limited budgets, Sliter said the company is looking at “pay as you go models to the reduce risk and pain of a one-time capital investment and will also support co-marketing programs on a case by case basis.”
Sliter said the service would be built “within a telco’s back-office environment, but we expect hybrid models. Services can be hosted by the telco, third parties or HP and will be transparent to the SME.”
A cloud-approach with utility pricing would give SMEs access to advanced communications services and more predictable operating costs, allowing them to shift resources from IT to their core business.
Erwan Menard, head of the CMS group, said the cloud-based CaaS platform worked as a mediation layer between the communications services, the service provider’s OSS/BSS and the SMB environment. He said the platform streamlines operations for both the service provider and the SMB customer by automating processes such as provisioning, activation, mediation charging, revenue settlement and service assurance.
“It also provides an ecosystem for HP and third-party solutions in as-a-service domains such as infrastructure, IT management and business management.”
HP provides the consulting and integration services that are needed to build the communications solutions into the platform. HP then integrates the completed platform with the service provider’s OSS and BSS. With flexible, usage-based pricing, the service provider can deliver the on-demand services directly to SMBs.