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HCL is turning its attention to the SME and government sector in the Benelux region through a partnership with telecoms giant Proximus, in a relationship that will see HCL modernise Proximus’s core datacentre and cloud technology, create a tech development lab, and enable Proximus customers to plug into its services in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
HCL traditionally supplies large enterprise customers, but through the relationship with the telco can target smaller customers and government organisations without the extensive sales and marketing costs.
Ashish Gupta, head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at HCL Technologies, said the partnership is the first of its kind for HCL and could be emulated in other countries if successful.
The region is a relatively small market, but contains international global businesses, which HCL currently supplies in the region, and has a mid-market. The partnership with Proximus will allow it to reach enterprises smaller than its traditional customers, as well as government customers indirectly.
To date, HCL has not even attempted to win government contracts in continental Europe and doesn’t target mid-sized enterprises, according to Gupta. “Not only do we want to improve Proximus’s cloud and datacentre capability for servicing its own customers, but for HCL to serve SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] indirectly through them,” he said. “This takes us into a market we don’t naturally target, as well as the government sector in the region for the first time.
“The Benelux region has a disproportionate number of SME, and Proximus, with HCL behind it, can target them and government,” he added.
Proximus will broaden its services by getting the entire HCL range in its portfolio, and HCL will train Proximus sales staff on the expanded offerings. “We don’t currently have the feet on the ground or muscle to target this market, so partnerships make sense,” said Gupta. “This is the first time we have done an arrangement of this kind. It is very exciting because it will break new ground for HCL.”
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Guillaume Boutin, CEO of the Proximus Group, said the agreement will give the company economies of scale, knowledge, best practices, tools, experience and expertise. “This IT infrastructure partnership will not only allow us to assure the development of the best customer offer, but it will also make sure we’re able to retain strong strategic influence in the cloud domain.”
In the UK, HCL has a relatively small government business and is focused on the large enterprise sector.