As AT&T pursues more managed service opportunities that leverage its growing software network infrastructure model, it is finding that business customers are desiring a “hybrid” managed service model.
Under this model, a customer will manage part of the service while AT&T manages another element. For example, a business customer could have AT&T manage routing while they manage the firewall policy.
“We have the ability to satisfy those types of situations where the customer is looking for a hybrid model,” said Roman Pacewicz, SVP of offer management and service integration for AT&T Business, in an interview with FierceTelecom. “In the past it was all or nothing where we were managing it or not managing it.”
This hybrid model is part of AT&T’s FlexWare service. In May, AT&T enhanced its FlexWare service platform with additional network connectivity and security applications, with its key supplier Ericsson being named as its first large-scale customer.
FlexWare, which was launched in 2016, is being made available in 200 countries worldwide. This is an increase over 153 countries in October, and has been "sold" to over 2,000 large and small business customers.
Interestingly, AT&T is seeing more of its customers using components of the FlexWare platform for specific applications.
One of AT&T’s large global media company customers is using the infrastructure as the underlying platform for its unified communications infrastructure. Likewise, another customer is using the FlexWare platform in an IoT application that collects information from shipping containers.
“Those are the learnings we have gotten from the last nine months of selling the FlexWare capability,” Pacewicz said.
AT&T will work with each of its customers to figure out what their specific needs are. The larger customers obviously have more sophisticated needs and AT&T can craft a solution that best fits each customer’s mission.
“This is an evolution of networking from traditional static models to more dynamic models and is one of our three anchor value propositions,” Pacewicz said.
These network propositions include: core enabled services like Ethernet on demand, virtual edge and network-based SD-WAN.
Pacewicz said AT&T sees its “customers mix and match all three of these capabilities and we want to give customers the flexibility to evolve from traditional environments to these hybrid environments to meet a customer’s needs.”