The Japanese telecommunications giant NTT has formalised the creation of a new managed services company this week which will eventually consolidate as many as 28 brands, including the big three of Dimension Data, NTT Communication and NTT Security.
NTT acquired Dimension Data in 2010, and is now folding the South African IT giant into a broader multinational entity called NTT Ltd, or just NTT, except in the Middle East and Africa region where the Dimension Data brand will remain.
The new NTT will have a combined market cap of around $11 billion, employ more than 40,000 people across 57 countries, and count 11,000 clients. It will be led by Jason Goodall, who was the group CEO at Dimension Data since 2016.
"When we combine the new capabilities of NTT Ltd along with NTT Data, we create a top five global technology and business solutions provider with $20 billion revenues outside of Japan," president and CEO for NTT Corporation Jun Sawada said as part of the announcement.
This new approach aims to shift NTT away from a conglomerate of specialised IT services firms to more of a unified technology managed services partner, putting it into closer competition with the likes of IBM, Atos and Indian outsourcing giants like Tata and Infosys.
"The focus is to bring together the depth of skills across technology platforms and have this global enablement component and delivery of industry solutions," Andrew Coulson, now CEO of Europe at NTT and former European CEO of Dimension Data, told Computerworld UK.
"The physical overlap is very little, so when you bring them together you provide different components to clients," he added.
Take the Tour de France as an example: the world's most famous cycling race is a customer of NTT Communication for its physical network infrastructure, NTT Security for its security layer and Dimension Data for integration and data analytics applications, so will soon be able to consolidate some of these relationships with a single entity and point of contact.
The race this month will also be used as a launch pad for the new NTT brand, which is the innovation partner for the race, but the Dimension Data racing team will retain its branding until the end of 2019 at least.
What will change?
Customers of any of those three companies can expect very little material change straight away. Their existing contracts will continue to be honoured, and unified billing will take some time to become a reality as NTT aligns its back office applications.
In the mid-term the vendor plans to invest in building "solution teams" which will "draw on the skills in a multi-technology environment. Clients will start to see more innovation around their business needs and not what we can sell you, they will see that change," Coulson said.
Longer term the idea is to "remove any lack of synergies in how we operate between those three entities and have one voice with the client over time," Coulson explained.
He said initial conversations with big clients, which include the Tour de France as well as big banks and automotive manufacturers, have been positive.
"They are looking for a simplified model to work with us and that has been transpiring over the last four to five years," he said. "We have started working more closely together for the last year or so and have sold $4 billion across the entities in that time, and over $500 million in the last year alone, so we are starting to see that accelerate across that single P&L."
"They will see little change in how we act with them and they should see the benefit of increased innovation across the three groups with more research and development," he added. One focus area here will be advanced security solutions, using machine learning for better analytics and threat detection.
The new NTT will be based in London, where it already counts more than 3,000 employees.
"It has many benefits, including a stable economy, wealth of skills and talent, diversity in population and thinking, strong infrastructure, schools and housing for global talent moving to the city," NTT CEO Sawada said.
"Geographically it makes sense," Coulson added, while he was also pleasantly surprised that the initial churn rate since the announcement "has not been as dramatic as expected".
Beyond unified billing and some alignment of teams within the new NTT conglomerate, customers can expect a shift away from bespoke managed services to more of a platform model from NTT.
The aim is to provide a set of "standardised, platform-based managed services" which will be outcome-based, with some bespoke elements as and when required, Coulson explained.
NTT also wants to be a trusted hybrid cloud provider, where clients can have NTT manage environments which span across local data centres, hyper-scale public cloud providers and private cloud environments.