Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2017: “ALL CLOUD” Vision Takes the Company into New Territory

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:
• The 2017 edition of Huawei’s Global Analyst Summit (GAS) presented the company’s “ALL CLOUD” strategic vision.

• “ALL CLOUD” goes further than most, if not all, of the company’s peers. Huawei will certainly execute but carriers will need to commit.

As is customary for the Huawei’s annual GAS, analysts are presented with a firehose of increasingly detailed information and presentations over three days. On Day 1, key executive strategy sessions kick off the show. Day 3, then, ends with one-on-one analyst briefing on specific products and services. During the three days, the company also makes every effort to show that the key themes of Day 1 cascade down into ever corner of its business. This year was no exception and there was little doubt that one of the major themes and most impactful themes was “ALL CLOUD”.

The cloud is not a new theme to Huawei, or to any of its major telecommunications manufacturer peers. Nevertheless, defining what “the cloud” means is always open to (mis)interpretation and over the course of the three days various cloud-related terms were used. Parsing these terms starts to reveal the depth of the company’s ambitions:

• “ALL CLOUD” is Huawei’s 2017 strategic vision. It’s at the same level as the company’s previous “ALL IP” vision, focused on major telecommunications network technology transitions. No one would argue with that, but its when you drill down on “ALL”, its apparent that the company really does mean “ALL”.

• “CloudFirst” is closer to a Huawei product strategy directive. Firstly it’s saying that its products and solutions should be developed, wherever possible, for hosting on cloud infrastructure rather than on-premise. Secondly it’s a saying that they should also be available to customers “as a service” from Huawei.

• “Public Cloud Service” (PCS) is where this all comes together. Huawei is creating its own public cloud infrastructure to host and deliver its products to telcos. It comprises a global network of the company’s own data centers, with extended reach by those of partner operators such as Telefonica, DT and Vodafone.

All in all, Huawei’s cloud ambitions seem both broader and deeper than most, if not all of its rivals. In essence, Huawei’s objective is that any operator should have the option of having as much of its functionality hosted on Huawei’s PCS as it wants and deliver carrier grade services to its customers.

But will “ALL CLOUD” be a winning strategy for Huawei?

Two factors are key. Firstly, Huawei has to execute and secondly, carriers need to feel comfortable both with Huawei and the PCS. Time will tell, but judging from the company’s track record, there is little doubt that Huawei will execute on its vision. As to the second, “build it and they will come” does not always succeed, because, however good the technology, trust overrides everything.

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