Tedesco's leadership priorities

Here, Diego Tedesco, Director of Wholesale Fixed, Virgin Media O2 Business, discusses a broad spectrum of priority leadership topics from backhaul empowered partnerships to AI and ESG imperatives.

To become a top player it is essential to consider the many success factors at play in today’s market. Core business is of course key, but there are a number of other priorities to be elevated up the leadership agenda, and Virgin Media Business Wholesale is urging partners to consider them all. The company is also opening minds to new possibilities linked to the evolution of its network, in large part because its long-term goal to upgrade the UK has brought a renewed focus on how backhaul capabilities empower partners to support growing demand for infrastructure beyond Ethernet. “By the end of 2023 we will have covered our entire network with scalable architecture that supports 10Gb National Ethernet and Optical services,” commented Tedesco.

Virgin’s multi-million-pound investment programme to transform its 10Gbps portfolio, called Project Spark, will provide a significant boost to channel partners. “Project Spark will give partners access to a high performance national 10Gb network that enables lower costs and faster deployment,” added Tedesco. “In another development, we are starting designs on a standardised 100Gb optical network that should be available from the end of the year.”  

Leveraging an advantage
As well as driving standardisation and accessibility of its high bandwidth portfolio, Virgin is also exploring how it can leverage its own technology changes to introduce XGS-PON for partners in the future. Longer term, Tedesco noted that Virgin is aiming to upgraded its entire network to FTTP by 2028. “Businesses are expecting faster speeds, greater capacity and more resilient networks,” he said. “This upgrade will provide an alternative to Ethernet connectivity with XGS-PON offering the symmetry and guaranteed performance of Ethernet at a lower price. For businesses stuck on copper technology the increase in upload and download speed will transform how they communicate, with more complex UC systems and AI solutions becoming more viable.”

Tedesco also believes that the industry is heading towards the ‘decentralisation of connectivity’. “Businesses need lightning fast results and they can’t be constantly transferring data to core sites that are hundreds of miles away,” he added. “Services like 5G-enabled small cells and XGS-PON are helping bring connectivity closer to the people that need it, and they’re key to our fibre roll out programme.”

Primary trends
According to Tedesco there are three notable trends in the market today, all calling on partners to rethink their partnerships. “Firstly, as the requirements for high capacity services increase exponentially, so too is the complexity of channel offerings,” he said. “This is leading to a convergence of interoperable 5G and fibre. It’s not enough for partners to offer one or the other, the channel is looking for solutions that work in tandem. This allows for the resilient transfer of huge quantities of data from point to point. But it also helps multiple users collaborate more seamlessly in the cloud.

“Solutions this complicated can’t be supplied by one partner alone. So we’re seeing an increase in the demand for a multi-partner approach with partners collaborating to provide a unified solution.”
This need for collaboration is mobilising great change in the market, believes Tedesco, and catalysing an increase in demand for flexible and scalable partnerships that allow partners to grow their offerings. “It’s exciting to see where this will take the market in the future as collaboration becomes even more key to success,” he added.

Removing complexity
It follows that the role of resellers and systems integrators is transforming as they respond to a new customer emphasis on solutions over systems. And as businesses increasingly look to the cloud, the huge variety of implementation routes can be ‘scary’, noted Tedesco. “To overcome complexity customers are looking for a partner that can manage their services and ease the pain points of integration and troubleshooting,” he commented.

“This may mean transforming to look more like a managed service provider and building in integration and alignment support into their offerings. For example, resellers and SIs may need to include managed network services, cloud connectivity and other value added services to help customers optimise their network infrastructure.”

MSPs should be ready for the huge increase in demand for AI across industries. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is as seismic as the invention of electricity

In order to succeed in the market resellers and SIs should also adopt a customer focused strategy, observed Tedesco. “They’ll need to build their offerings around their customers’ needs and provide more tailored solutions,” he added. “In an increasingly competitive market being able to find these points of differentiation will be crucial. Those that can’t evolve will be left behind because customers are expecting more from their partners, and there’s no going back.”

On the one hand, this has been catalysed by recent advancements in AI, most notably the launch of chatbots like ChatGPT, believes Tedesco. “It’s no exaggeration to say that this is as seismic as the invention of electricity,” he added. “It’s transforming what we’re capable of doing in the modern world, and MSPs should be ready for the huge increase in demand for AI across industries.

“The bandwidth required to produce AI responses, especially when these services are being rolled out across Microsoft and Google platforms, is enormous. MSPs will need to re-evaluate their own connectivity to ensure they’re future proofed for more data hungry solutions.”

Multi-dimensional value
Partners will also need to offer their customers confidence that they will be by their side to deliver value, especially in these turbulent times. Because to truly differentiate from competitors MSPs can’t just provide digital solutions – they must understand that client relationships are far more multi-dimensional.

“One example is making Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) a priority,” commented Tedesco. “It’s no longer enough to make empty statements. Partners need to be actively involved in the race to Net Zero while also implementing effective diversity and inclusion policies. There is a fantastic opportunity for us to achieve collaboration through a green lens and enable the channel to come together and work towards agreeing on a standard to achieve Net Zero operations across the industry. Virgin Media O2 has launched its sustainability strategy including robust targets to achieve Net Zero carbon across our operations, products and supply chain by the end of 2040.

“We want to share our learnings with channel partners and hear their plans too, so we can establish best practices across the industry and have a collective approach to cutting carbon while helping businesses and communities to lead greener lives.

Time for action
“Ambitious targets are a good first step, but it’s an immediate action that is most needed. So ensuring your supply chain is trending towards Net Zero, and rethinking recruitment policies to encourage diverse talent into your business is more essential than ever to prove you’re not just talking the talk, but actually making a difference.”

This is all part of building a future that is already ‘hurtling towards us’, believes Tedesco. “It’s an exciting prospect, but one that we’ll all need to be ready to adapt to,” he added. “MSPs should consider what they are offering today, and what they might need to offer tomorrow. Building a roadmap that considers the new advancements in automation and the onus of the telecoms channel to become more sustainable will help MSPs respond successfully to this period of great change.”

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