Q&A—Masergy CEO Parker on why SDN is a cornerstone to company's success

Masergy CEO James Parker says his company is well positioned in the unified communications sector for enterprises. (Masergy)

As Masergy's newly minted CEO, James Parker acknowledges that the managed service sector is becoming more competitive, but he points to the company's SDN-based architecture as a key differentiator.

Parker's hiring as Masegy's new CEO was announced back in September, but he didn't take the reins until last month. Prior to joining Masergy, Parker served as executive vice president and chief customer officer at Tata Communications. His career also includes stints in senior-level executive positions at CenturyLink and Microsoft.

In this Q&A, which was edited for clarity and length, Parker speaks about the three areas where he feels Masergy has an advantage in the managed service sector.

FierceTelecom: In the press release announcing your appointment, it mentions the goal of increasing the company's revenue to more than $1 billion by outpacing the competition. What is the roadmap for accomplishing those goals?

James Parker: I think there are a couple of different pivots to that question. I think the starting place is really looking at the market, and the trends that are occurring in the market, and what's driving the industry growth. We want to pick that a bit. When we look into the network, where we see the large growth wave occurring it's very obvious it's in SD-WAN. SD-WAN is north of a 70% CAGR over the next three to five years.

What's our role and how are we going to participate on the network side and of that growth wave around SD-WAN? As you know, we have a software-defined network. We have an amazing platform that really lends itself well to light up the capabilities within SD-WAN and we feel we have a different shaded offer that should allow us to capture more than our share of the market and accelerate growth for our firm.

Related: Masergy's Watson: NFV is still not living up to its full potential

FierceTelecom: Are there other growth waves that Masergy is targeting?

Parker: You then move and look at the next waves of growth that are coming through. Clearly, on top of the network, what applications at scale are driving growth? For that category of applications, you can look at the ones that are really migrating to the cloud. They could have been on-premises and then going to the cloud, and then really then looking at the strength of the network to deliver those applications. Then, I think, the obvious categories here is unified communications. You see that migration that's occurring.

I was looking at different surveys recently. There was one that says you have north of 30% to 40% of CIOs in some form or manner contemplating that shift. So a UCaaS (unified communications as-a-service) offering is one, and obviously not an on-prem one, but to a cloud one. The interesting point here is not only do you have to deliver that capability, but it's on top of your network. When you think about Masergy and our software-defined network, we're built for applications. Now you can really get into that architecture and tune different applications, different workloads that have different services. You can do that dynamically. We're layering in unified communications to be able to provide that service. That gives us tremendous opportunity for growth.

Then you can look at that third category and it's really the security. We're continuing to build out our security offering. More and more, it's becoming that secure network and how do we build in our security offerings and continue to have a great experience for our customers around, I would say, the security platform? We're going to continue to invest and continue to partner, and take again, our share and growth from that product line category.

You look across the spectrum and there are vectors that are clearly within the network lens, the application lens and the security lens. These are all tied then to the trends that are in the market, that are really underpinning a lot of the IT spend enterprises are putting investments into to advance the performance of their business and their firm.

FierceTelecom: We've heard about digital transformations for years now, but there are still some enterprises that are still struggling to make that transition? What are they looking for in regards to their digital transformations?

Parker: I think ultimately what enterprises are looking for is this broad set of agility to this broad set of capabilities to give them the agility for their digital transformation. And then clearly looking to get that at the right cost point, the right performance that they need to deliver the business.

Things are getting much more granular by use case, by application, by location. Then what's the right offer or capability by workload, by use case, by application to deliver them? In some cases, it's SD-WAN. Some cases, it still may be MPLS. Then other cases, it could just be different with the various forms of connectivity and then network automation around it.