MTN Group and Telefonica sign strategic partnership
The needs of enterprise customers sit at the heart of this agreement, these include services to multinational companies and collaboration in M2M technology, as well as new digital products and services aimed at the B2B sector.
The partnership has been signed under the auspices of the Telefónica Partners Program, which is a worldwide initiative launched in 2011 to partner with includes other leading telcos covering a total of 35 markets in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.
The groups will also cooperate in initiatives and exchange best practices to capture new opportunities. Both will enter in discussions on how to engage effectively in a range of verticals, including International Wholesale, Devices and Network/IT Procurement.
MTN Group and Telefónica teams are likely to also engage in other areas, such as alignment in key technology projects in network and IT, new initiatives (such as Mobile Money or Big Data) and collaborate on marketing strategies.
Herman Singh, Group Chief Digital Officer at MTN Group said: "The development scope includes our innovation process and new product offerings as we move into the New Digital World, as well as leveraging our combined scale in areas such as procurement. We are really looking forward to developing this relationship to our mutual benefit," said Singh.
Read our exclusive profile of MTN Benin and how it is overseeing massive growth in mobile money and data services here.
Mario Martin, Telefonica's Industrial Alliances Group Director, said: "And we are especially proud of having MTN Group, a player with outstanding track record, joining forces with Telefonica under the Partners Program. We are confident that this agreement will bring important benefits to both our Groups."
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”