Japan's NTT has been working with European consulting firm BearingPoint for some time to help it become a "platform" player that is then able to offer a buffet of digital services to business customers.
The relationship began in 2019, when NTT Comware, the systems integrator part of NTT, started to support a new cloud-based software platform called Infonova, provided by the "Beyond by BearingPoint" unit.
The Beyond unit has now gone solo after completing a management buyout from BearingPoint in November 2021.
In February this year, it relaunched itself under the Beyond Now brand with a new identity as an independent ecosystem orchestration and digital platform provider, although BearingPoint and Beyond Now said they will continue to work together on shared customers.
NTT's mobile unit, NTT DoCoMo, has now turned to Beyond Now to help it better serve its small and midsized enterprise (SME) customers. Indeed, the new DoCoMo deal looks to be Beyond Now's first major announcement since it cast itself adrift from its former parent.
In essence, Beyond Now is now also supplying the Infonova platform to support DoCoMo's newly launched SME marketplace. It had always been likely that NTT's other subsidiaries – of which there are many – would be able to jump on this platform with their own partners, sales channels and customers.
The idea is that the mobile carrier's SME customers will be able to access a range of services such as remote sales, telecommunications, labor management and subsidy support.
Beyond Now commented that SMEs face challenges such as knowing which service to choose from the many options available, as well as overcoming budget limitations. DoCoMo wanted to help SMEs navigate this complexity and provide them with one-stop access to a growing number of partners.
Angus Ward, the CEO of Beyond Now said Beyond Now, when still part of BearingPoint, began its relationship with NTT as part of a "shared vision for how NTT needed to transform to support new business models, 5G monetization, B2B2X models and the launch of digital marketplaces."
"Now, with digitalization and COVID-19 transforming the needs of SMEs, this vision has become a reality with NTT subsidiaries like DoCoMo configuring and monetizing their networks and services in ways that were not previously possible," Ward said.
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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading