Oliver Harmel | NTT Europe | TechWeek18

Avatar Ben Fower | 28/12/2018

Oliver Harmel from NTT Europe joined us at TechWeek18 to discuss NTT as a business and SD Wan. Hosted by Will Spalding.

Will: I am delighted to be joined with potentially our last guest of the day, but it could be open penultimate, Oliver Harmel from NTT Communications. Thanks for joining us today.

Oliver: Thanks for having me today and it is a pleasure to be the last guest today.

Will: Well, I am not sure yet as to whether you are the last guest today, anyway Oliver you look after sales essentially Continental Europe, which is Western Europe.

Oliver: Yes, it is pretty much everything outside UK on the Western European side, and I have been with NTT for more than 12 years now, and I have gained a lot of experience, there is a lot I can talk about today and give you a little bit of an insight on what we do and what or how we help the cloud and Tech Communicate Community to get to support their cloud and infrastructure plans.

Will: Fantastic. I mean so NTT Communications what brings you guys to Tech Week 18. What is the main goal to get out of being here?

Oliver: So we are here I think this is the fifth year, we are pretty excited about the show because we have a pretty quality of visitors here at the show and we were running to a kind of evolution of the industry and the maturity of the cloud was so to say because we look pretty much around at the cloud services got Centric company entity itself is one of the largest IT services company and owns a lot of effort in the area of ‘Why do your own networking’ where we cover 193 countries? We are one of the largest IP backbone provider and we are one of the largest data centre providers in Continental Europe. So a couple of assets we want to monetize on, but you may think we are at an infrastructure cable or data centre brick and mortar company, which we are on one hand, but we are a Service Company on the other hand and when I look at Tech Week how it has evolved and the topics we are discussing about, we are now at a pretty mature level actually so are the quality of the conversations we have been having. The number of attendees we are seeing during our speeches is reflecting for us and so we are doing something right.

Will: It is growing quite a lot, people talk about the IP, Cloud Expo’s everything like that, which has been going for quite some time but I am finding that a lot more people are now feeling a lot more comfortable getting up on stage or being media trade, because you have to be in this day in age. So there is more of a mature conversation an open conversation about you know what each other are offering and talking to fellow competitors about it as well. Is that something that NTT has been doing at all.

Oliver: That is a very good point you mentioned. So when I remember the early days, we were all looking for our Niche more or less or where we are and talking about our approach is the best, our competitors are doing that, they are probably more expensive, not as agile or not as secure or other attributes that we are missing. We are slightly bashing out on each other and identifying that the world in a multi-cloud environment is changing and it is looking for different kinds of Partnerships, on one hand, and if you look into a company like NTT we are layered. So with our data centre, we are one of the largest places for hyperscale of cloud providers to go to and host their environment. From a services point of view then we build other service models on top of these hyper scalars. We are no longer just looking to monetize our own infrastructure. We think about on this ecosystem that is centred around our network and our data centres what can we do in terms of building additional services on top building more value for cloud adopting companies and helping them to build a multi-cloud environment not just with infrastructure that we provide as a kind of pipe or a little bit of a space in the data centre. So it is more than that. We really help companies with our managed service offering to create multi cloud environment and also bring this multicultural environment to life.

Will: You mentioned something just now which is a really interesting point about hyper scalars. The conversation came up earlier today about the US hyper scalars everything like that in terms of the different laws that we have got with GDPR and everything. How is NTT Communications dealing with that, is that something that is on your agenda at the minute or is that your work?

Oliver: It is in the centre of our agenda and to be honest we are in a very lucky position because we run the largest data centre environment in Frankfurt and in Germany. Germany is one of the most aggressive markets. So the German DSGVO is a kind of GDPR on steroid. So it is the strongest in Europe. I want to use that one, by the way, that is fine, you can use it. It is not coming from me and I heard it and I love it actually, yes, but it expresses what this market means and even though it is probably not the most cost-efficient market to build environment data security and confidence into the services is quite King. Means Frankfurt as a place is one of the most secure data centre markets and where people have the most confidence in being there and running one of the largest data centres here as NTT.com. This is quite important that we are participating on this growth journey and more exciting. Then we can build in this ecosystem more services and they are all centred around the data centre and network.

Will: When I think about what you are talking about right now, NTT are the kind of full package really in some respects because you also do SD Wan as well. That is the market that you have moved into quite heavily. Is that something that you would like to discuss a little bit more about,  what you guys are moving in with that.

Oliver: Yeah. I am happy to. So SD Wan is something that I have just talked to other people from the press today about. It is a little bit heavy but these days and a lot of companies use it. What NTT did in comparison to other players was bring the network virtualised functions closer to our customers on the global level. So with our 193 countries we cover we did put 78 local cloud centres next to the network edge and are providing a lot of cloud services as part of the network, that is one element, so we are bringing in very nice features to the network and we have gone through quite a long journey to adopt SD Wand with various technology providers or appliances and technology providers. We currently are at a level that we can really help organisations that say to change the paradigm of and transforming their network in the past. Usually, network transformation was driven by a huge procurement exercise, the cycles of implementing and transforming a network were pretty long one or two years. Let’s say we are concentrating talking to customers about ‘What is your real problem in the network?’ and actually we can help them more or less in five days to solve the most pressing problems by putting an overlay in the network, on top of their network, putting hybrids, connectivity in left and right and even if it is a third party network, we can really pimp the underlay and provide new functionality in the overlay. Really helping the customers to solve their problems more or less in a couple of days/weeks and then help them also to get the cost element. As we move forward from the underlying network to improve that we really help more or fewer organisations from day one to get from a problem situation into a safe situation and in the third step into a more cost efficient situation.

Will: I mean if you look at what you rightly said there, they used to take 1 year, 2 years or 3 years for a lot of companies to be able to think okay, we are going to actually implement a plan but I suppose nowadays though, because technology has moved on so much the cloud has just gone to another level, and as you know can be done as you rightly said in within a couple of days or a week, it is pretty impressive stuff. What has been your favourite thing so far of Tech Week 18? I want to give this a bit of a roundup because it has been a great couple of days for not only ourselves at Disruptive Live but I think for a lot of people they have come away and gone you know, we have really learned something as well. So what has been your highlight so far?

Oliver: I can just tell you what a lot of people were talking about. They were talking about the excellent coffee we serve on our booth.

Will: All right, isn’t it?

Oliver: Yeah, so I think more or less half of the show already enjoyed our coffee, but actually it was the conversation really to have this plenty of conversations we have had over these coffees and we were really testing the atmosphere and the readiness where everyone currently sits in their cloud journey in their technology. It is fair to say we have had a fantastic conversation.

Will: I know I will give you a better conversation right now because there is a beer tent right next door.

Oliver: Ok that sounds good.

Will: You can nip over there after your coffee in the morning and finish it off with a beer later.

Oliver: Sounds like a good plan Will.

Will: As I said it has been really good having you on the show, I just want to round it off quickly,  I have said it for the last three guests that we have had on and I am going to use the same one again because I have been getting good answers out of it, so if you have to take one thing to a desert island, what would you choose it to be Oliver?

Oliver: One thing, I would put my Kindle full of a library, so to have not just one book, so I could read for a couple of years.

Will: That is great stuff. Well, it is a good choice anyway. Oliver Harmel from NTT Communications it has been a real pleasure having you on the show today so thank you very much.

Oliver: Thank you.

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