• Comcast Business is looking to move beyond its small and mid-sized business roots and expand into the large enterprise market.
• As part of its vision to serve large enterprise customers, Comcast is looking towards international expansion and to grow its product portfolio.
On September 4th and 5th, 2019, Comcast Business hosted industry analysts at the newly opened Comcast Technology Center and Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia. During the conference, Comcast outlined its Enterprise 2.0 strategy that will drive its agenda over the next year, highlighted its plans for leveraging recent acquisitions, and detailed its launch of two new security-related solutions. It plans to build on the success it has already seen in the business market, which includes revenue growth of 10.8% of 2018 (which compared to 2017), a base of 2.3 million business customers, and a team of over 10,000 employees dedicated to business services.
Comcast’s aspirations are ambitious. The service provider is looking to move beyond its small and mid-sized business roots and expand into the large enterprise market. Such an endeavor is not without challenges, as Comcast Business needs to cultivate broader awareness of its ability to serve this segment. Although well-known as a provider of solutions for small and medium-sized organizations, as well as large enterprise branch offices, with its latest initiatives Comcast Business is more aggressively looking to meet the connectivity and managed services requirements of large enterprise sites and headquarters locations. Comcast is messaging that it delivers high speed solutions, and more. Connectivity and data remain foundational services, but Comcast is looking to grow awareness of its large enterprise offerings and managed services portfolio. It plans to leverage recent acquisitions, an expanded footprint, and its growing portfolio of solutions to better target this lucrative customer base.
As part of its Enterprise 2.0 vision, Comcast plans to focus on developing emotional connections with customers and delivering exceptional customer experiences. It expects to meet customers’ evolving networking and communications needs by providing ‘elegant’ solutions’, moving away from selling discrete products and to offering integrated solutions instead. Additionally, as part of its vision, Comcast wants to commoditize the hardware layer and help customers avoid vendor lock-in. It will be prioritizing virtualized services and delivering solutions via software over the cloud. The service provider is investing in what it calls ‘human-centric’ product design that provides customers with greater control, enables access to more information, can be utilized on demand, is mobile-first but also multi-channel, provides consistent experiences, and saves customers time. The vision aligns with the goals of many service providers, namely to provide greater flexibility in product consumption, enable customized reporting and dashboards, and to provide omni-channel support. To ensure its portfolio truly meets the needs of its customers, Comcast is installing two separate teams: one to oversee the mid-market portfolio and another to oversee the large enterprise portfolio.
As part of its vision to serve large enterprise customers, Comcast is looking towards international expansion and to grow its product portfolio. During the latter part of 2018 and into the first half of 2019 Comcast made several acquisitions that will play an important part in helping it realize its vision by providing an expanded network footprint and broader portfolio of services. The service provider bought Sky, a provider of pay television services in Europe in October 2018. The acquisition includes international network assets that Comcast plans to leverage when working with enterprises that have overseas connectivity requirements. In early 2019 it expanded its large enterprise portfolio by purchasing Virginia-based BluVector, a cybersecurity company that specializes in providing services to the federal government. Additionally, in May 2019 Comcast bought New York-based Deep Blue Communications, a provider of managed Wi-Fi services with expertise in the retail and hospitality sectors. With the acquisitions of BluVector and Deep Blue, Comcast will be able to offer its large enterprises a more robust portfolio and better meet the requirements of its hospitality and retail customers.
During the analyst conference Comcast also detailed its vision for its cyber security portfolio, which includes providing a range of scalable solutions for small businesses through large enterprises that can be purchased for a flat monthly fee. Comcast Business SecurityEdge is designed for small businesses and leverages broadband CPE. The solution automatically detects threats and malicious sites, and is offered in partnership with Akamai. For the mid-market (though it can potentially go up-market to non-Comcast sites), Comcast offers a DDoS Mitigation Service, and for its SD-WAN mid-market and large enterprise customers, it offers Comcast Business UTM. The Fortinet-powered solution leverages uCPE, and similar to its other solutions, can be purchased via a flat monthly charge. Comcast Business UTM is available in standardized configurations, but can be upgraded with advanced features as well as professional and managed services.
As Comcast aspires to move upmarket, it will need to more broadly publicize its solutions for the large enterprise segment, since many organizations still associate it with the small and medium-sized business market. The effort will take patience and training, but the service provider’s newly acquired capabilities and fiber footprint will serve as a strong foundation from which to begin the conversation. Furthermore, Comcast will need to build out a professional services team and portfolio that demonstrates its ability to help customers implement increasingly complex solutions.