Flexibility and agility - the watchwords of the Covid-19 era

Flexibility and agility - the watchwords of the Covid-19 era

24 June 2020 | Toby Forman, Managing Director of SmartCIC


Toby Forman, Managing Director of SmartCIC, gives his insights into the challenges facing the sector as a result of the global pandemic.

From his Head Office in Cannes, with the sound of seagulls in the background and the famous Croissette where the Cannes Film festival is staged only minutes away, Toby Forman is optimistic about what the future brings for SmartCIC and its customers despite current challenges.

“Our business has always been about flexibility and agility. Our customers come to us because we can offer just that. What we are seeing from our enterprise customers, particularly retailers post COVID in Europe, is an acceleration in a trend that been gaining momentum over the past few years. The need to offer dynamic solutions that can be implemented quickly.”

SmartCIC, is a global managed services provider with presence in France, Spain, the UK and the US. Operating in over 100 countries world-wide, they have built their reputation on delivery.

“Our values are transparency, honesty and dependability. We truly believe that we are only as good as our last piece of work for a customer. Having this philosophy means we never rest of our laurels and are constantly looking at ways we can improve our service and delivery.”

“The challenge facing our global industry is that the world has just become a whole lot bigger. This is in stark contrast to the last 10 years of globalisation and ease of travel. If you then add in macro-economic challenges around trade protectionism and increased nationalism, global operators and enterprises are now being forced to look at ways to navigate this new environment.”

As a dynamic and flexible solutions orientated organisation, Forman believes that they are ideally suited for this new environment. “Dealing with uncertainty, risk and a changing set of customer requirements is what our business has been built on. It doesn’t faze us. Many of our customers look to us to turn around a solution in hours. We developed a rapid 4G deployment solution for a major UK telecoms provider which guaranteed an engineer on site with a 4G router anywhere in Europe within 48 hours.

Our systems have been built to allow us to react quickly and our dedication to delivery means that we will think outside of the box to ensure that we don’t fail. Speaking to the Head of Global Service Delivery for a major international Telecoms company in January, he mentioned that the reason why we were selected for a multi-million euro deployment project for a European retailer was because we asked questions they had not thought about.

SmartCIC combines internet connectivity, structured cabling, deployment and maintenance services to provide a truly turn-key solution for its customers. “We have links with 100’s of carriers and service providers and have over 25,000 engineers in 106 countries. The combination of this means we can provide a robust set of services to our customers.

According to Forman, in a world where travel has become more challenging their spread of partners and suppliers means that they can deliver local solutions locally without the need for extensive travel. “Our technical service desks in Cannes and Barcelona are fluent in 14 languages and are able to expertly manage interventions remotely. We not only understand the technical aspects of our brief but also the local cultural environment in which we are being asked to operate.

Forman believes that this last element is important and has been a key factor in his firm’s success: “Ultimately for me telecoms, like many other businesses, is a human business. Whilst we can talk about different technologies and their various merits, for the present at least the delivery of those services is dependant on human interaction. Operating in a global market where we may have interventions happening in 10 different countries for a customer in a project, it is important to manage the alignment of the customer’s delivery expectations with the local business culture in those markets. That way we do not run the risk of over-promising and under delivering.

SmartCIC is continuing to invest despite the pandemic and Forman is optimistic about the launch of SmartCIC’s new smart cloud connect platform. He believes this solution will help the business deepen its market share, particularly with SD WAN. “Smart Cloud Connect is a middle mile solution. Its currently built across 5 PoPs in Europe and we aim to expand into the US by year end and into Asia by the end of Q2 next year. It allows our customers to benefit from low cost last mile links terminating that connectivity in country and then either breaking it out or providing access to public clouds via our local on-ramps.

“We have received considerable interest from major carriers and enterprise. We believe that it significantly improves SD WAN performance by reducing the amount of internet traversal.

Overall Forman is optimistic about the future: “If the future is all about increased flexibility and agility then I firmly believe
we have the structure and approach to take advantage of this and provide our customers with what they require.”