Verizon Enterprise chief looks past AT&T, eyes Amazon and Google as rivals

John Stratton discusses prospects of mobile platform to rival iOS and Android, how the cloud is reshaping IT, and more

In the battle for the next generation of enterprise IT, John Stratton carries a lot of weapons. Stratton is president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, the nearly $30 billion unit formed just over a year ago to deliver networking, cloud, mobility, managed security, telematics, and a host of other services in a more coordinated fashion for Verizon's top enterprise buyers. Building on a traditionally strong base of wired and wireless network services, Verizon Enterprise also blends in acquired assets like cloud hosting company Terremark, security company Cybertrust, and Hughes Telematics.

In this installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, Stratton spoke with Chief Content Officer John Gallant about Verizon Enterprise's progress since its inception, including a dramatic streamlining of internal systems and processes designed to make life much easier for the company's customers. Stratton also discussed the company's suite of services aimed at simplifying life for IT teams struggling with mobility and the influx of consumer devices, and he talked candidly about the prospects for a third mobile platform to rival Apple's iOS and Google's Android. He also addressed how cloud is reshaping the IT landscape and hinted at a series of major upcoming cloud announcements from Verizon Enterprise. Also, he explained how the "Internet of things" is creating powerful new business opportunities for Verizon and its enterprise customers.

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This group was formed, as I understand, late in 2011?

We officially took the field on Jan. 1, 2012. We had a need to coalesce assets and take a more effective, integrated approach to the solutions that we were providing in the market, the interaction model with our clients, etc. We had done, over the course of six or seven years, a number of acquisitions that were principally designed to serve enterprise customers around the world and we needed to bring them together. Look at the genealogy here, starting with our first move, the acquisition of MCI back in 2006. That provided us this very expansive global IP backbone network. [Then we moved] on to Cybertrust Managed Security capabilities in 2007, and then further on with Terremark in 2011, then a company called CloudSwitch, then Hughes Telematics, as well as the organic investment in our 4G LTE wireless network.

We took a very aggressive approach to driving forward that technology with the expectation that it would have significant implications for our U.S.-based customers. But we were a bit fragmented in the way we went to market. So bringing all of these things together for us was an important first step to enabling an integrated set of solutions.

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From a Verizon corporate structure, this is not a reporting unit with separate financials. How does it all come together, just so people understand?

It is not. Exactly right. We have not shifted the segment reporting. We've got some ownership structures that are sort of in play in there as well. For example, we manage the enterprise and government effort on behalf of Verizon Wireless, which is a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone. In that regard, I feed a piece of the Verizon Wireless P&L. In terms of our wireline business, we had several years ago put all of the wireline assets together into a single segment and we have not chosen to peel that apart, at least at this point in time. When we report publicly, we talk to the wireless and wireline segments. We will usually provide some commentary below the line.

What can you tell me that gives the reader a sense of the size of your organization?

We've talked about this in a variety of different contexts. In terms of total revenue, it's just under a $30 billion concern inside what is a $110 billion Verizon overall. Our network is in 150-plus countries around the world, 2,700 cities. We have people on the ground in 82 of those countries, with obviously a significant concentration and focus here in North America, where all of our assets come together, including wireless. We're growing our businesses in EMEA, in Asia-Pacific and Latin America as well. Obviously, as we watch our clients' evolutions and we see where their business is bringing them, it's important for us to make sure that we are able to support their expansions.

Initially our work in those places had been what we called "B end" support of our primary customers. But increasingly we've begun to do more what we call "A end" sourcing for companies that are based in Asia, based in Europe, less so in Latin America. ["A end" refers to the headquarters location of a multinational company. "B end" refers to areas with regional offices, large employee populations, retail outlets, etc.] We are just now beginning to pick up our investment levels down in Latin America. But we see again, of course, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia. There's a lot of interesting activity happening there as well.

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