Patrick Molck-Ude and François Fleutiaux about differentiation for the customer, high-performance networks and IoT platforms.
INTERVIEW

Performance is Teamplay.

T-Systems Managing Directors Patrick Molck-Ude and François Fleutiaux on assets, the linking of portfolios, and the need to meet customers’ expectations.
Copy: Thomas van Zütphen
Photos: Selina Pfrüner

T-Systems aims to make digitization easy, fast and hassle free for its customers. And what exactly does this demand?

Molck-Ude: We need to pay much closer attention to our customers. To do that we need much deeper insights into their industry, the challenges they face, and we need to tackle the question: How can we help them be more succesful in their market or entering even into new markets?
Fleutiaux: Taking for example the automotive industry. OEM manufacturers are entering currently multiple markets at the same time. This demands from us special expertise along the products’ value chain. We have this expertise, experience necessary to manage the complexity of digitization and we have the kind of broad portfolio. This is key to build individual, straightforward, and easy to use solutions for our customers tailored to meet their needs.

Networks need to be fast, mobile ready, and secure. How will you realize that and keep the whole piece simple?

Molck-Ude: The digitization itself drives this topic. Customers want to be faster, more agile, and that all over the world. Therefore we need a platform that allows us to provide our services on an international scale. Add to that 24/7 provision and reliability – the highest level of security for our customers, who grow more and more dependent on their network – in a positive sense – the more they shift their applications to the cloud. Apart from price sensitivity, it is important to guarantee the same speed across several cloud platforms to ensure customers can implement custom-made technological solutions in line with their own strategy. That is what we at T-Systems are prepared for – both on the mobile services side with partnerships like FreeMove as well as on the fixed network side where we are combining up to 25 international top partners in a global network with ngena. We’ve got a highly standardised and highly automated platform with which we can provide the services our customers want globally.
Fleutiaux: There is no doubt that the Internet of Things will be the almighty technical booster for digitization. By 2020, more than 25 billion machines, devices and sensors will be integrated in the world of the IoT. In order to store and analyse that flood of data, we will need even more powerful data centres equipped with scalable and secure cloud platforms on the IT side and super powerful networks with different probably software-defined network technologies on the TC side.

Customers need a network-corresponding infrastructure. How does our combined TC and IT offering benefit our customers?

Molck-Ude: Without a network there is no digitization. That’s why, when we talk to our customers about a digitization plan, we always ask: Is the customer already positioned to implement digitization through the network right now? In other words: Which requirements do they have in terms of Service Level Agreements, that we then need to realise on the fixed network or mobile network side, or worst case via satellite.
Fleutiaux: What makes us so attractive for our customers, is when we look at their challenges we’re able to discuss with them on the IT part but also on the telco part because for us they are completely linked. And with the demand for global delivery we combine the best of both worlds at the best price, we create the best arbitrage and combination between a high performing network, high performing data centres, our customers’ positioning, and ensure the interplay works well together.

What economic significance will industrial IT platforms and the provision of corresponding services have for Europe? 

Patrick Molck-Ude and François Fleutiaux about differentiation for the customer, high-performance networks and IoT platforms.
Patrick Molck-Ude (l.)
After studying business administration, Patrick Molck-Ude, born in 1966, spent in various Top Management positions at IBM. Since 2004 in different executive functions at Deutsche Telekom AG, he has been Managing Director of the TC Division and Member of the Board of Management of T-Systems since January 2015.

François Fleutiaux
As a computer scientist by education, François Fleutiaux, born in 1965, began his professional career in 1989 at IBM. After various Top Management functions at Unisys and Fujitsu, he has been appointed a Member of the Board of Management of T-Systems and Managing Director of the IT Division since September 1, 2017.
Fleutiaux: Industry 4.0 is all about platforms, we’re talking here about standardisation, automation, potentially what artificial intelligence can bring and the impact on the IT business. Machine-to-machine communication or network value chains that could create new production logic are examples for the potential and economic importance of the industrial IT platforms for Europe. Here we have a competitive advantage because of, once again, the link of our knowledge in networks and our knowledge in IT, which we can combine and use in the IoT sector like no other. The interplay of our expertise in IT and networks makes the Internet of Things the perfect playground for Deutsche Telekom and T-Systems.
Molck-Ude: Telecommunications too is becoming more and more of a platform business. What used to be an intelligent network is now split up into the network and the intelligence component. That’s the keyword ‘software defined’, that means I’m buying a topology, be it a backbone, or the network in a country, build it up to a network infrastructure, and then operate and control it through intelligence. And we connect these telecommunication platforms that we’re currently developing for fixed networks and mobile networks with IT platforms like our Open Telekom Cloud, Amazon, Google or Microsoft to deliver the best possible services globally.

How can we speed up the journey towards the goal of ‘keeping IT simple’ for customers?

Fleutiaux: At its core, the IT Division is about managed services. We are not Amazon and we do not want to be a place where someone puts a credit card in, orders something, and then cannot talk to anyone. We want to be a company that simplifies of course, managing a business for the customer with strong service level agreements, reliable commitments and security standards. And we want to be that player whatever the technology is about.
Molck-Ude: Speaking of commitment. We are talking to big companies, who will say straightforward: ‘We’re going to take all our data centres, discontinue their operations, and move them to the cloud. And to do that, we need a network provider who will support me because I want everything to be available in the cloud, everywhere across the world.’ And what’s implied in that is: ‘Everyone who supports us is our partner. Everyone else will be phased out.’ And then differentiation becomes important. Providing technology is one thing. But at the end of the day our employees and their know-how and expertise are what makes the difference for the customers. We want them to say: Damn, they really get us, they are prepared, they are in tune with us, and they have people who are motivated to drive our development together.

5G is possibly the most exciting area of innovative technological development. How well prepared are we for its arrival?

Molck-Ude: We need to drive that from different perspectives. The business model, the technology and infrastructure side as well as its administration. To really exploit the net and its opportunities – let’s say for autonomous driving – I need to move the data center to the road to realize latencies that will be possible in the future. Besides that I’d like to focus on the question, how does 5G work across boarders? Because that means creating standards, legislative norms that are applicable all over the continent or even worldwide.
Fleutiaux: We at Deutsche Telekom and T-Systems are well prepared for this in good time. We are for example in close discussions with the leading OEMs and suppliers to make the so called day-one use case for autonomous driving, which will allow signal processing for emergency vehicles on public crossroads. This increases the security for pedestrians and sets the basis for autonomous driving powered by 5G.

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