Comcast Business Analyst Day: Takeaways
The annual analyst day at Comcast Business did not disappoint. The team at Comcast Business continues to execute, and it is nice to see their progress on a yearly basis. Some themes that stood out this year:
- Comcast continues to grow beyond its established beachhead in the SMB market, growing its market share in the mid-market, and increasingly in the enterprise market and recently in the federal government. Comcast is also putting a strong emphasis on the mid-market and hired a VP of managed services, recognizing the unique needs of this market segment.
- Comcast continues to grow its traditional connectivity business where it focuses on delivering the best last mile products, gaining the customer’s trust, but is aggressively growing its applications portfolio and sees its future strategy as a mix of gigabit connectivity and applications, where applications are independent of the type of connectivity (DOCSIS, PON or other). In addition to a significant amount of in-house development (some 6,000 software- focused employees in the new Technology Center), Comcast works with best-of-breed partners to round out its rich applications portfolio. Its recent acquisition of Deep Blue led to a differentiated WIFI offering. Highlights of the offerings include a homegrown UCaaS solution, a host of security services, WIFI, SD-WAN and UTM (more on that later).
- Regarding SD-WAN, Comcast continues to emphasize its ActiveCore platform as the vehicle for delivering SD-WAN, UTM, and a host of VNFs yet to come. For SD-WAN, Comcast is working closely with Versa Networks, engaging in joint innovation. Unlike some service providers that work with a number of SD-WAN vendors, Comcast is enriching its relationship with Versa, as it finds its solution to be well-suited for its market; we at ACG believe that this is the correct strategy, as it enables Comcast to lower operating costs, simplify its offerings and go-to-market strategy, and enrich its product offering as resources are optimized around one solution. Comcast offers SD-WAN with security from Versa and recently entered into an agreement with Fortinet for a UTM offering over the Active-Core platform. Future offerings include UTM from Palo Alto, WIFI, and vSBC. Comcast is also developing its own uCPE, targeting a price point well below what is on the market today. Comcast’s disruptive approach is to offer the uCPE at cost and not price SD-WAN per bandwidth, which is the current prevailing approach. This approach seems to be resonating.
- Comcast Business is putting a strong emphasis on design and now has a chief design officer. The company aims to focus on solving real needs in the marketplace rather than augmenting the number of features. Examples of this approach include its innovative X1 solution, which has been successful in the residential market and is increasingly the business market.