Acquisition background and Synergies
Tech Mahindra is looking forward to further strengthening its position as a world class multinational technology provider, after recently completing the agreement to the $240 million acquisition of Lightbridge Communications Corporation (LCC).
The multibillion Indian company, which turns 30 next year, provides information technology (IT), networking technology solutions and business support services (BPO) to the telecommunications industry Having the acquisition of global network services leader LCC closed in Q4 2015 means the company is in an even better position to capitalise on a market full of explosive growth.
As a result of the acquisition, Kenneth Young who was previously the Chief Executive Officer of LCC, has become the CEO of Tech Mahindra Network Services.
Young said: “Over three decades, LCC has grown to become the largest independent provider of wireless engineering services. Bringing LCC into Tech Mahindra will create the industry’s largest network engineering, deployment, and managed services organisation. “
“Having Tech Mahindra’s breadth of services to provide advanced managed network services coupled with its size and scale, will help increase the performance of customers’ ever-evolving networks.”
Ayon Banerjee, who led the acquisition of Lightbridge Communications from Tech Mahindra and who is now Global Sales Head of Tech Mahindra Network Services, said: “Tech Mahindra has been investing significantly in growing its network services business over the past few years and, obviously, the addition of Lightbridge Communications represents a quantum leap in that growth. It combines our considerable expertise and capabilities as one of the world’s largest providers of technology services to the communications industry with those of the world’s largest independent provider of network engineering services. “
Kenneth Young explained the rationale for the LCC acquisition and diversification into multiple verticals like banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), manufacturing and retail. He said: “We now have the ability to offer a wide range of service offerings like enterprise and engineering services to current and future customers, it’s a de-risked business model with balanced exposure across geographies, and utilises Mahindra’s pool of highly experienced, well trained professionals.”
“Integration of the groups is taking place. We’ll modify the brand and eventually phase out the LCC brand by the end of this year.”
Described by the firm’s CEO as a ‘defining moment’ for the company and the network services sector, the acquisition has subsequently created the largest and most comprehensive provider of technology services to communications service providers.
Changing Networking Landscape
The emerging demands of IOT, CEM, and technological advances towards 5G, SON, SDN, NFV on the network side coupled with emerging demands for cloud based services, digital services and move towards Dev ops and instrumentation on the IT side, has led to shift in the way networks will be built and managed.
Balaji TS, Vice President and Global Solutions and Portfolio Head - Network Services, of Tech Mahindra, said: “The Telecommunications industry is witnessing unprecedented growth and challenges today and the industry is poised for disruption. There has been a proliferation of ‘smart’ devices and this has resulted in multi-fold increase in data traffic across the world. The content consumption trends have changed drastically and consumers are looking for services anytime and anywhere. Customer expectations are rising. . Enterprises are going ‘Digital’ and seeking services on-demand. With the emerging technologies like SDN and NFV gaining acceptance, the traditional ecosystem of network providers is disrupting, as new players are entering in the market. Besides these new technologies also warrant the need of Network consolidation.”
The traditional model of proprietary appliances is giving way to virtualized network functions executing on industry standard hardware running in a NFV environment. Since the scope extends beyond current OEM supplied technologies, we are expecting a spur in new start-ups providing easy to deploy, scale and manage network functions. Since the operators will need to use their existing legacy networks, we will see a need of an independent service provider who will help integrate these new network functions with existing physical network elements. Traditional network design, build, validation & verification and operations activities will have a new connotation.
Balaji explained if you need to introduce a new service on a monolithic network it will take months before it can be rolled out. Moving forward a lot of these network components are going to get entirely virtualised so that things can be configured ‘on the fly’ because it is all on the cloud and happening with automatic provisioning systems. He further added that: “CEM solutions need to evolve and provide integrated approach covering not only customer centric operations and front desk handling and optimization but should also enable proactive service monitoring and fault management and network optimisation. Big data platforms and analytics will play a major role in enabling CEM platforms. The need for context specific routing or On the fly traffic prioritization will lead to increased adoption of SDN.”
Service providers have identified IoT as a key driver for the enhancements of the communication network leading to efforts such as 4G & beyond and device to device communications. IoT offers tremendous potential for industries to benefit from in terms of operational efficiencies, enhancing customer experience and delivering new services.
For example the Railroad / Railways industry could use IoT sensors to keep track of the rail tracks to do preventive maintenance and avoid accidents due to issues with the rail tracks. An exporter of perishable items will be able to track the environmental conditions in which the goods are being transported, the state of the goods itself and the time to deliver, thus
ensuring quality of service. The telecom service providers can play a pivotal role for such implementations. Communications between the devices and the backbone systems is a key aspect of IoT. Telcos could offer M2M based connectivity services required. They can further
evolve as a M2M service providers to offer various M2M services to the industry and government organisations.
Balaji said “Enterprise’s still don’t see a major incentive in implementing IoT on a large-scale, as the perceived return on investment is not attractive compared to the state of current operations. Thus Service providers are not only required to implement solutions, but they are also required to create the business case which will guarantee return on investment. To do this, it becomes very important for the service provider to understand the enterprise domain. “
Tech Mahindra’s role in changing landscape
Tech Mahindra was founded in 1986 as a centre of excellence for BT, based out of India where it was doing a lot of work for the company in the BSS/OSS space. Gradually it augmented its portfolio to provide solutions around networks, mobility, analytics, cloud and security under the umbrella of NMACS . Its client base started expanding, and it started working for other clients in North America . It grew into Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Tech Mahindra goes right down into Australia and NZ today and operations are a little under US$ 4 billion. This consists of both telco and enterprise segments, with telco making up about 53 percent of the business.
Ayon said: “Network services is a huge component of the telco part of the business and we are about 15 percent of the entire company. “
“Today the customers are talking about 5G and small cell. Fortunately for us we made the right bet with LTE about five years ago and we have gained immensely from that. Today we are benefiting from the proliferation of software defined networks and network function virtualisation. Our success depends on the quality of the bets we are making. And the first mover advantage we are gaining through some of these changes.”
Ayon explained that Tech Mahindra is uniquely positioned to address this evolving landscape. It has been the leader in providing network and IT solutions and services to telecom service providers and enterprises covering manufacturing, retail, healthcare, banking, travel and logistics, energy and utilities. Its focused competency units on emerging technologies such as SDN, NFV, Cloud, Analytics, M2M, Digital Enterprise Services combined with over two and half decade of telecom and IT services, are helping to augment its services and capabilities, thus providing the impetus for addressing the transformational change. He said: “Our strategy is to go to market with end-to-end solutions and to partner with vendors with complementary solution software.”
The acquisition of LCC gives the company an expanded presence in the network engineering and planning services market for network access and core infrastructure. The telecom market is currently undergoing a massive transformation, and the need for consulting, systems integration, and service management skills will drive a significant amount of services spend in the sector.
It seems Tech Mahindra now possesses the combination that can address the industry specifics. Understanding the underpinning technology and enriching the value it delivers to its customers and their end customers is a sure fire way of ensuring the company continues to strengthen.
“I think the merger created something unique in the market place.” concluded Young.