O2 and IT service provider 2e2 have launched a joint venture called O2 Unify in a bid to grab a slice of the £7bn ICT market.
The move will provide businesses with the opportunity to outsource their IT and communications needs to a single provider and could drive efficiency savings of up to 30%, the two companies said.
O2 Unify marks first major tie-up between a mobile operator and an IT services provider, the pair added. The new company will launch on 2 April.
The new company will provide traditional converged solutions, such as fixed, mobile, voice and data, as well as services including Managed WAN, cloud data services and flexible working solutions. Customers will also have full access to 2e2’s extensive ICT service framework.
The joint O2 Unify team will be based in Slough, supported by a sales force of over 500 people. It will be headed up by Paul Osborne, who was previously O2 head of professional and managed services.
O2 and 2e2 anticipate that the venture will deliver ‘significant revenues’ to both businesses in the coming years.
O2 business director Ben Dowd: ‘Today’s announcement shows the desire of O2 to accelerate the “Joined Up” strategy that was announced at the end of 2009, and take a far greater share of the ICT market. With smart devices now a key element for UK businesses the ability to manage complex fixed and mobile networks is at the heart of the next generation of converged solutions. By cooperating with a growing IT services provider we believe we can transform the way our customers do business and help drive efficiency at a time when budgets are still under pressure.
‘As the worlds of data and voice continue to converge, ‘O2 Unify’ will see us move from managing simple data and broadband connections to overseeing complex business applications and communications infrastructures. It’s a big and exciting move and the natural next step for O2.’
2e2 CEO Terry Burt said: ‘Naturally I am delighted that O2 has chosen 2e2, from over 100 possible candidates, for this key alliance. This is a very strong validation of our technical, marketing and business competence. Corporate IT departments are under increasing pressure to drive productivity by enabling flexible working. This often requires rewriting corporate apps for a web world and freeing the business to use smart mobile devices to access these services, whilst maintaining compliance, governance and security posture. O2 Unify uniquely brings together the best skills in the market to provide this capability in partnership with our customers. I very much look forward to growing our relationship with O2 and I believe this joint venture is the key to our long term growth.’
‘O2 Unify’ will initially focus its attention on ways that business can develop flexible working programmes and manage their networks more efficiently. Customers will have full access to O2 and 2e2’s portfolio, under a single service model. There will be one help desk, unified reporting and billing as well as bespoke services designed to continue to provide a great experience which is expected by our customers.
Osborne said: ’This landmark alliance with 2e2 will build on our existing ‘Joined Up’ portfolio, dramatically expanding our capabilities. Our customers will be able to take advantage of emerging technologies, such as cloud capabilities, and unify their communications across all channels. This move is absolutely based on what our customers have asked for. We are now seeing around 30% of bids requiring a totally converged solution and I believe with our “personal service” we are in a great place with O2 Unify to provide exactly what corporate customers are looking for.’