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Dec 22, 2017
Marcus, what do you feel, when you look back at 2017 and the progress ngena has made this year?
I am very proud of our achievements this year! So many things have happened: First of all, a lot of new partners have joined ngena and we have now become a really strong global alliance. Then, we went live with our platform in July and first customers are testing our SD-WAN offering, which is exciting to see.
In addition, a lot of trainings have taken place around the world, enabling our partners to sell our solution. But fortunately, the ngena team is growing fast, so I did not have to do all this traveling on my own (laughs). Indeed, we were able to add some exceptional talents to our strong team, so we are now in a much better position to handle all the work that is ahead of us.
More than ever before, I was also involved in spreading the word about ngena and our achievements, and I had quite a number of speaker opportunities in 2017, for example at the SDN NFV World Congress and the Total Telecom Congress in October. Additionally, I recall speaking in front of thousands of sales representatives at Cisco’s Global Sales Conference in Las Vegas in August, which was, as always, a very exciting event. The good thing is: if I think of all the events we attended, like ITW, CeBIT, the Mobile World Congress or the PTC in Hawaii – everywhere we saw huge interest from the industry on the ngena approach and the positive feedback we received was really overwhelming.
To sum up: There is really much to be proud of – especially of the team that made this happen!
What were your personal highlights in 2017?
As mentioned above, there were many highlights, but I want to underline three topics:
First, the Partner Summit, which we held in September in Frankfurt was a great success. To see 20 leading telecommunication companies from all over the world getting together and building a new business model by linking-up their local networks to one software defined global network via our innovative ngena service platform was more than exciting. There is huge engagement amongst our partners and strong belief to be part of something that will truly reshape the industry.
Secondly, the market launch of the platform in July, being built in a very integrated way with our key technology partners Cisco and Comarch, was amazing. To see a global hybrid SD WAN platform up and running that provides a broad set of services and is leveraging the local networks of our alliance partners was very satisfying to me.
Last but not least, talking to many enterprise customers and explaining what ngena, in cooperation with our alliance partners, can do for their business was a rich source of feedback and inspiration. To see how much customers liked our approach and asked for these types of services is very encouraging for the future.
Have there been moments, where you felt things weren’t progressing as fast as you would have wished and how did you deal with these situations?
If you do something really new and build something that has never been done before, you sometimes underestimate the complexity and challenges. Sometimes it takes longer to onboard a partner than expected. Sometimes you have to change a technology, because you have learned that a service can be delivered in a better way. From a manager’s point of view, you always believe that it can be done better, faster, and more successful. This is what drives you.
On the other hand, the SDN technology and a truly end-to-end automation is such a new endeavor and the technology so innovative and full of potential, that you have to focus on the huge opportunities and have to accept the challenges.
Many leading telcos have publicly announced their joining the alliance. Are you still looking for additional partners to join ngena and can we expect more announcements in due course?
First of all, I am really happy, to have our partners CenturyLink, Deutsche Telekom, Reliance Jio, SK Telecom, Altice with SFR and Portugal Telecom, KPN, Expereo, Neutrona, PCCW Global, Starhub and Telus as well as our strong technology partners Cisco, Comarch and Equinix on board. This already is a big success.
But yes, we are also looking for several more alliance partners and are currently finalizing the on-boarding processes. Overall the number of partners will rise to approximately 20 and with this a comprehensive global coverage will be available next year via our alliance partners. So, stay tuned for the upcoming announcements in 2018.