Telecom transformation: A1 enters the ICT sector with new business solutions

Telecom transformation: A1 enters the ICT sector with new business solutions

Ivan Ivanov has more than 16 years of experience in the telecom sector. He leads the Corporate Sales аrea of A1 Bulgaria since 2016. Before that he successively held the positions Prospect Customers Manager, Senior Regional Manager and Senior Sales

Снимка: EconomyMagazine/Krassimir Svrakov

Автор: Tatyana Yavasheva

Mr. Ivanov, how the increasing digitalization influenced the repositioning of A1 in the corporate sector?

The most important thing is that A1 is part of a global group that during the recent years has been transformed from offering traditional telco services like voice and mobile internet into a technology partner for its clients. This is providing us with know-how and experience which is of a great use to us. In order to become a trusted partner and a driver of the digital transformation for the local business we had to change ourselves first and this was not connected only with changing our name and logo. We changed the way we perceive  our clients and their needs. At the moment more than 50% of our growth in the fixed corporate services comes by ICT projects. And it is not a surprise – this is the result of our constant efforts to improve ourselves and to be agile and fast with the solutions that we deliver. 

Which are the ICT services that A1 delivers to the business in Bulgaria?

During the last two years, we covered up the entire specter of ICT services that one modern company could use. We develop Software as a Service (SaaS) in our portfolio which empowers our clients to activate and manage licensed software products on monthly fee and using only one digital platform. With that platform, we offer different software tools – from MS Office, business email and antivirus software, through CRM solutions, to website and mobile app as a service. Our ICT portfolio also includes solutions that we offer at the A1’s data centers. Apart from the servers colocation we successfully developed the cloud project Smart Server. It allows the client to use a virtual machine, which meets both the requirements and the dynamics of the business. The Smart Server service is based on the last version of the leading platform for server virtualization – VMware vSphere. Since mid-2019 in our data center is collocated the cloud platform of A1 Group – Exoscale. It is an effective solution for software developers. They could test, simulate and activate their products and pay for this on hourly basis. As we are part of a European company, Exoscale meets all of GDPR’s requirements.

What is typical for the B2B solutions of A1?

We try to design our B2B services according to the client’s needs. In general, we provide a tailor made solution for each particular case. Key part of our approach is to deliver the best possible product or mix of products. Another important advantage of our B2B portfolio is that significant part of the solutions are provided as a service – the client pays monthly fee and it is not necessary to make huge initial investments. Our solutions are end2end – the client does not receive connectivity from one company, equipment from another, support and configuration from third subcontractor. We deliver a complex service and we are entirely responsible for it. We are getting into the business of any of our clients deeper and deeper and it is very crucial to establish a good contact and then to provide the best possible service. The integration of cybersecurity solutions for example, requires serious analysis, good knowledge of the specific business area and particularly – of its IT infrastructure.

Tell us about your projects in the field of cybersecurity…

This topic is very important and we are focusing on it with our platform A1 Security Cloud. It includes different products and services related to information security. These solutions provide corporate data protection, identification of the data flows and how it is used. A1 Security Cloud includes also solutions that monitor the compliance of the corporate security policies through checking of the network activities and protection and control of sensitive data in real time. We offer such services to the Bulgarian municipalities and we already have implemented projects.

Which are your competitors as you enter new technological field?

In our new role as an ICT provider, we are not facing rivals among the IT companies – we are rather partners with them because we provide the connectivity for their digital services. We have broad list of partners that are leaders in their field and this help us to create good, thorough product. Another advantage is that we have licensed partnerships with one of the biggest global IT companies. A1 is Premier partner of Cisco, and official partner of SAP Solutions and SAP Bulgaria. We are proud that we successfully developed the so-called SAP Competence Center for the whole A1 Group with SAP certified Bulgarian employees.

Which client is more important – the big or the small one?

We have never separated our clients to big and small because all of them are important. It sounds like a cliché but it is true. A business could not survive if neglects some of its clients. Yes, the large projects help us to work on bigger scale but the small clients are those who give us an immediate feedback, which help us to be agile and to meet the requirements of the dynamic digital world. 
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