Q&A with Laurent Perrin and Matthieu Smessaert of Orange Business Services

12 September 2018 | James Pearce

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Capacity sat down with Laurent Perrin, director of product management, application driven networks, and Matthieu Smessaert, head of connectivity and and mobile for APAC, at Orange Business Services, to discuss SD-WAN and enterprise networks

Tell me about Orange Business Service’s SD-WAN offering

Laurent Perrin: “We’ve launched a product called Flexible SD-WAN. We’ve been working on software-defined technology for around four years and we see SD-WAN as the core networking product. It covers all of our customers and is in line with their expectations for a more application-focussed approach to the network.

“It covers multiple vendors. Key to the solution itself is the integration with our network. It is important to have scale, and also important is cloud connect capability and security. With SD-WAN we bring hybrid connectivity to the cloud and Best-of-breed security to protect business continuity and offering guaranteed integrity at all levels.”

Matthieu Smessaert: “The software-defined networking world today includes hybrid global connectivity, comprehensive internet coverage, and managed SD-WAN, and is evolving even further to include Universal or Virtual CPE (single hardware) and VNFs (software-based functions). At Orange we have been able to successfully accompany our enterprise customers on their managed SD WAN journey, thanks to our early adoption of an agile software-based approach that has enabled us develop and deliver flexible managed networking solutions.

“Our SD-WAN offering can be co-managed or fully-managed and is underwritten by performance guarantees regardless of the deployment model. Our customers can even define their own level of service management.”

Which vendors are you working with?

LP: “Orange Business Services works with best-of-breed partners to provide an SD-WAN service that integrates legacy IT, reduces costs and increases flexibility. We are working with Cisco Viptela, and this has one of our largest projects with very good traction. We have Riverbed, which is in continuity with the rest of our portfolio. We have quite a large installed base who find that working with these  key partners  makes sense to them.”

MS: “We probably have the biggest and widest managed user base with Riverbed in APAC. Riverbed is a natural choice. To be able to run our SD-WAN platform and fully integrate it in the journey of our customer, the visibility of their applications is also crucial , both on legacy networks and beyond that, up to the end user. You have to be certain that your users are having the best application experience on your network.”

LP: “We also have Infovista, which has been successful in Europe. We have an important historical partnership with them and it is a good evolution for hybrid customers. They have a good solution such as the capability to control applications.”

How important is the enterprise sector to Orange Group?

LP: “It is getting more and more important. It used to be at the group level that the consumer business was very important, but with digital transformation, the enterprise sector is becoming much more critical for our business and is a key pillar in the Orange Group global strategy.”

MS: “There has been a number of key acquisitions on the enterprise side, including Basefarm Holdings, Business & Decision and Lexsi recently. We can now offer and lead what we call the Internet of Enterprises – it is something we’ve been defining and accelerating massively over the last few years to deliver an unmatched experience for our enterprise customers worldwide and of course in APAC.”

What are you looking to get out of WAN Summit?

LP: “It is very interesting to see customer presentations and testimony, as well as get feedback from customers on our offerings. It is about hearing from key players in the industry, and an opportunity to share our best practices. This is very important because there is no single way to carry out a network transformation. While we have something to offer there are also things that we can learn.”