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Ericsson's New CMO Has a Soft Side

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is adding to its senior management team with the appointment of Arun Bhikshesvaran as chief marketing officer (CMO) from July 1, a move that could see the Swedish vendor pushing harder to position itself as a Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialist as well as a leader in mobile networks and associated professional services. (See Ericsson Names New CMO.)

Currently senior vice president, strategy, and chief technical officer at Ericsson North America, Bhikshesvaran will lead a global marketing team of about 600. He will be based in Sweden (when not on a plane) and will report to Ericsson's head of sales and marketing, Jan Wäreby.

And it seems he's geared up to promote Ericsson as more than just a mobile networks giant. "Our goal is to be a top IT player, building on our telecom strength. We are already one of the top five companies in the world for software," Bhikshesvaran tells Light Reading.

Say wha ... ?

Well, the Ericsson communications team points out that, according to the Software Top 100 website, which is dedicated to all things to do with the Software Top 100, the Swedish firm is the fifth-largest global provider of software by annual revenues, with sales of nearly US$7.6 billion in 2010 (about 26 percent of its total annual revenues). You can see the relevant chart here.

Being a leading IT player is about more than selling software, though. What about Ericsson's strategy and plans for supporting and delivering cloud services?

"The main thing people forget about the cloud is that it needs the network ... the underlying capabilities," says Bhikshesvaran, who goes on to say that Ericsson's networks, services and software capabilities mean there is "a strong role we can play" in the "enablence of the cloud."

Right ... some work to do there, perhaps.

Bhikshesvaran couldn't be any more specific on the main challenges Ericsson faces in the near future, whether Ericsson needs to be an even bigger company to keep pace with expanding competitors such as Huawei and Samsung Corp. , or what the company needs to do to maintain its position as a leading supplier to communications service providers. (See Huawei Aims for $100B Annual Revenues, Samsung Expands Euro Activities and Ericsson Keeps Its Distance From Huawei .)

"We don't take competition lightly, but we are focused on our customer relationships and focusing on our strengths. I don't see those core principles changing."

But he did challenge the perception that Ericsson is a mobile network specialist but not much more. " Look at what we have been able to achieve in North America during the past 12 months, with success not just in mobile but in fixed broadband, backhaul, TV and media, systems integration and evolved packet core, which is effectively an IP router. We are going to build on this and take this reputation to other markets," says Bhikshesvaran. (See Clearwire Hands Network to Ericsson, Rogers Picks Ericsson for LTE, MetroPCS Saddles Up LTE in Dallas, Ericsson Takes ESPN to 3D, AT&T Picks AlcaLu, Ericsson for LTE, BBWF: Ericsson Enters AT&T's GPON Domain and Ericsson Powers NBC HD.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

ycurrent 12/5/2012 | 5:05:00 PM
re: Ericsson's New CMO Has a Soft Side

Perhaps the start of a more rational approach to Ericsson's Multimedia business unit which incorporates a mish-mash of software and acquired entities?

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