We make everything connect by delivering technology that works, for you” – that’s what it says on the website of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE). Serving more than 830,000 customers worldwide under the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise brand, the company tailors to its customers’ needs by providing solutions in the area of networking and communications and overall end-to-end solutions that help businesses “compete in a digital world”.
Fintech caught up with Philip Magimairaj, ALE’s regional manager for South India and the SAARC region while he was visiting Dhaka a month ago.
FINTECH: Start out by telling us a little bit about yourself and then about ALE’s operation in this region.
I’m Philip. I represent Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. I’m part of the team in India. We have the regional headquarters for APAC in Singapore. I’m part the South-Asia team, which is headquartered in Bangalore and I work from the Bangalore office. I play a role taking care of South India and then also the SAARC countries. That’s basically my role.
FINTECH: You have a wide range of products. Which is your biggest segment or the best selling product?
We have networking products, which is the data switching and the wireless. And then we also have the communications products. Communications is our flagship solution product. Right now, I would say our focused product is cloud solution products. As you know, everything is moving towards cloud based systems. So, the cloud and the wireless technology is kind of what we are very aggressively pushing forward.
There’s been a lot of development obviously in this area. So, we are trying to help facilitate the adoption of the latest innovations in the market.
FINTECH: What is your view of Bangladesh as a market?
Amongst the SAARC countries, Bangladesh is one of the key developing areas. Whenever a region is developed, unlike the US or areas like that, whenever there is development happening there will be opportunities.
We have a lot of application oriented businesses. That is why we are looking at Bangladesh as a key business area of growth.
FINTECH: Tell us about the kinds of after-sales service you provide.
Today Alcatel works through the distributors, what we call value added distributors. We have ABS India, who is our distributor for India and SAARC countries. And then we have partners in Bangladesh. So, Universal IT is the partner with us for the Bangladesh market. We have about three partners with whom we work. Each of them has different strengths.
We are looking at different partners who can sell our products and who can also provide support, because it’s not just about the sales. We make sure to empower the partners to take care of the products, things like installation and so on.
FINTECH: You are in charge of South India and SAARC. What is the solution market like in this region and how fast it is growing?
The key solution area is definitely amongst communication area. We are looking at application based communications. So, communication platform as a service is something which we are looking at where inner region, specifically the SAARC countries they would adapt to that.
Also, the wireless and networking technologies are the next product in which everyone is interested in. this is because mobility is the keyword right now. So, that is where we are also investing our time and effort and money.
FINTECH: How do you compete with bigger brands? And what convinces clients to choose you over world renowned companies like Huawei for example.
There are many competition in the market. We feel that our key strength is the convert solution that we have. Today that is something where we outmatch our competition, specially where we could offer the complete end to end solution. We start off with the communication part of it, then networking, wireless and then top it all the cloud based solution, where you can have the cloud connectivity for the entire product solutions that we offer.
FINTECH: Tell us about your prospect in Bangladesh. What you want to achieve and what are your challenges?
Bangladesh is, as I said, a developing market. A lot of new developments are happening, in terms of real estate, development in hospitality – like a lot of new hotels are coming up now, which wasn’t the case just while back. Of course, banks are already there. But banks have to keep their pace up to provide the service to customers to stay ahead of the competition.
We are here to offer them the technology, which will give them the edge over their competitors. That is something that we are working on. We work on specific verticals, whether it is for banks or insurances, so that they can have that winning edge over their competitors.
FINTECH: Google has developed and obviously continues to improve AI that had reached unbelievable level of automation. And Google is obviously able to deliver that to businesses. Do you think this might be a challenge for companies like you? Or there is room for everyone?
Today what Google or other players have done in the market, it is definitely an eye opener for our customers. I would say AI todays is something that is developed by different companies, which is giving a heads up for us to go and sell products, because people now understand solutions, they understand what is AI and they understand what is a bot. Overall, this is helping people understand the whole technology and innovation more clearly and what it is all about.
So, I think we appreciate these companies for coming up with the cutting edge technologies. Whereas, we are providing and aiding to deliver those new innovations.
From ALE’s perspective, I would say today connecting everybody and providing a solution that is borderless, where you can go beyond your workspace is what people are looking at. Today, nobody wants to be confined in a particular workstation. People want to be free and still want to be connected. That is what companies like that Google are providing through their cloud space.
What we are trying to do, or rather have done, is design solution based on cloud that we are able to support and through which we can provide our solutions, such as our communication solution. The PABX is the legacy system, which we had. But now we have updated to a cloud based system and providing solutions like UCAS or Unified Communication Added Servicer and CPAS or Communication Platform as a Service in order to support the communication. We really facilitate the needs that were always there, but we just provide the best technological solutions.