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Kassir Hussein, director technology, British Gas

Kassir Hussain, director technology, British Gas

Telcos are not the natural providers of enterprise cloud services because they do not come from the software industry, according to Kassir Hussain, director of technology for Centrica/British gas, and a former O2, Orange and 3UK network specialist.

Hussain was speaking on a panel at the Cloud World Forum in London this week and his dismissal of telcos’ opportunities in the cloud will doubtless prove contentious. Informa principal analyst Camille Mendler has said that there were more than 300 telco cloud service launches in 2012 and more than 800,000 square metres of datacentre construction by telcos in the last three years.

Hussain’s background in the telecoms industry makes his judgement noteworthy. “Telcos will not be at the core of cloud,” he said. “To be at the core of cloud you need software in your DNA.”

The observation that software is not in the telco DNA is “entirely fair,” Mendler told Telecoms.com. But that is changing as the network that sits at the heart of the telco becomes increasingly software defined, she pointed out.

Mendler said that there is a “spectrum of ability” within the telco sector when it comes to cloud-based enterprise offerings, in which a few telcos have competence while others will buy it in, she said.

Uri Gurevitz, director of product marketing at Amdocs, who was on the same panel, made a similar observation, suggesting that telcos remain in a strong position because of their existing relationships with enterprises. Even if they partner to provide a range of services, Gurevitz said, they are the natural service providers.

But even the nature of service provision is changing with the cloud, said Hussain. He said that automation and self-provisioning are more important than personal customer relationship management.

“I don’t want to have to talk to an account manager,” he said.

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