Huawei Global Summit: Focusing On The Connected World
Several hundred industry analyst peers gathered in Shenzhen, China for the Huawei Global Analyst Summit this past week April 23-25. Huawei was indeed a very gracious host. While the summit covered developments in all of Huawei’s various business segments, I had laser focus on their UC&C and overall enterprise business. In context of that, I appreciated the consistent theme of the Connected World and building a better, connected world that permeated all presentations at the summit. Huawei has over 150 thousand global employees and should know a thing or two about connecting people. Also the focus on enabling the business and users with UCC was well accepted. This concept has legs, but must be executed thoroughly in Huawei product strategy.
Huawei Growth Areas
Huawei’s largest business is its carrier segment. It accounts for 70% of the overall business. The company showed healthy growth in all of its businesses, which include, Carrier, Enterprise and Consumer. China accounted for 35% of overall revenue, which showed great growth outside of China.
However, Huawei’s North American performance is declining while overall profitability is improving. North America has to be an area of focus, which has come with challenges from competitors such as Cisco. Huawei and Cisco have similar portfolios. In the course of covering UCC, Huawei does not come up in many end user conversations in North America.
Huawei Business Focus
In speaking with several Huawei executives I noticed a clearer messaging around enterprise use cases for UCC. The trappings of UC and now UCC have been to get so caught up in technical feature discussions that we forget it’s people that actually use this stuff for work. The Huawei presentations carried over an enabling business message that was designed to show relevance. It was designed to demonstrate the value of UCC is in connecting people and enabling people to get work done, thus enabling the business.
Although summit presentations had their traditional technology focus as well, Huawei needs more of this type of business use case messaging to be clear in its product strategy to show relevance to business leaders who are now making more technology purchases than ever before. In fact in speaking with Huawei executives this was the message I delivered. Also it is that kind of clear messaging around use cases and business outcomes that will aid in North American enterprise penetration.
Leveraging Consumer And Emerging Technologies
Huawei’s UCC roadmap showed clearly they would be leveraging WebRTC more. It also showed their partnership with and future implementation of WeChat capabilities, the largest mobile messaging network after WhatsApp, is an innovative move to break from traditional UCC paradigms. We will see WeChat like capabilities appear in Contact Center solutions initially.
We have always believed that consumer messaging and communications trends are a precursor to what will happen in the enterprise. Consumers are also business people. Their work and personal lives have become a continuum enabling both personal and business interactions on the devices of their choice. This is a good step for Huawei to capitalize and invest in the mobile messaging trend that we believe is impacting UCC and telecom businesses and providing alternative distribution channels to consumers.
WeChat can potentially net Huawei millions of global mobile messaging users and address the trend evidenced by the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp. Huawei competitors such as Cisco should watch this closely. WeChat is very popular in China and I noticed some Huawei executives are already using the network.
As big a company as Huawei is, the danger is in what we believe as the germs of a great business and end user focused strategy for UCC, could fail to reach all audiences including North America. There is messaging and go-to-market work to be done for Huawei to realize even more growth in its enterprise business.