Following Mobile World Congress 2014, SAP AG today released results from surveys conducted on-site to help identify top issues facing the telecommunications ecosystem. Recognizing that communications service providers (CSPs) play a key role in advancing innovative business models such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). SAP today also announced the appointment of Howard Stevens as global general manager of the Telecommunications Business Unit.

“The telecommunications industry is in the midst of rapid change and intense market pressures, and under Howard’s leadership we will work collaboratively with carriers to help them identify and maximize business opportunities,” said Simon Paris, global head, Strategic Industries, SAP. “CSPs are looking for strategic partners to help them transform and thrive in this new world order. As findings from our survey conducted at Mobile World Congress confirm, they need to more deeply engage with customers, invest in operational innovations and create new revenue streams.”

The survey findings reflect the sentiments of mobile operators, fixed telecommunication providers, over-the-top (OTT) players and other global mobile industry executives, and confirm the perception of market undergoing dramatic change. Of the 300 respondents, 68 percent believe current business models are threatened by OTT players, shifts in consumer behavior or capital constraints. With 71 percent of leaders believing that new services will significantly contribute to revenue growth over the next three years, many are exploring or already producing new capabilities and services, with a focus on IoT and data monetization.

Among IoT use cases being evaluated, asset location, utilization and optimization was listed as the most common (33 percent). The most critical factor in successful IoT implementation will be the ability to manage data, with 24 percent highlighting real-time data management, events and alerts as most critical and 28 percent responding that the ability to manage data and applications in the cloud is vital to IoT success. Notably, 40 percent of respondents felt that quality of performance and legal compliance or security and privacy issues must be resolved before widespread and rapid adoption of IoT will occur.

Responses also show that while 70 percent feel that the ability to manage Big Data is important to their company, 40 percent do not have a Big Data strategy. And 31 percent of respondents said that the lack of IT skills or insufficient data quality was their biggest challenge to sufficiently capitalizing on Big Data opportunities while 28 percent listed insufficient funding or proof of ROI as their biggest obstacle. Among cloud services, critical enterprise apps, managed mobility and managed-cloud-as-a-service (MCaaS) were rated as the most valuable services, and 79 percent of respondents listed themselves as planning or executing some cloud services solutions.

In his new role, Stevens will be responsible for overseeing the end-to-end portfolio of SAP® solutions, applications and services tailored to meet the needs of the telecommunications industry worldwide. He will lead a team dedicated to delivering solutions that help CSPs and other industry players achieve accelerated growth and business model innovation. Previously, Stevens served as senior vice president and head of Global Sales for SAP Mobile Services, responsible for the continued profitable growth of global messaging revenues across the telecommunications community and other market verticals. As the commercial lead, he drove the overall go-to-market plan, overseeing targeted M&A activity to help augment overall offerings and successfully changed the strategic direction of the business unit to match the market’s evolving needs. Stevens has held numerous leadership roles in the enterprise mobility and services industry, including serving on the executive team for Sybase 365, which was acquired by SAP in 2010. He previously ran the global sales teams for ADC Metrica and First Hop, where he raised venture capital finance and led the company’s M&A activity.

For more information, visit the SAP for Telecommunications page on and the SAP Newsroom. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews and @SAP_Telco.