Baringa unveils plans to grow Telecoms and Media unit

23 January 2015

Consulting firm Baringa Partners has unveiled plans to grow its portfolio in the Telecoms and Media consulting space. To lead the expansion drive, the London-based consultancy has added Guy Dent to its partner team, who joins from Deloitte, where he spent more than 15 years, most recently as a partner in the Big Four’s Telecoms, Media and Technology practice.

Guy Dent has nearly 20 years’ experience in the consulting industry, of which he spent the overlage part at Deloitte. In his last role he served as a partner in the firm’s Telecoms, Media and Technology unit, and was based in London. Over the years he has led and been involved with a range of large scale programmes in the sector, in the area of among others operating model redesign, cost reduction, post-merger integration, ERP implementation, as well as programme rescue and turnaround.

Baringa - Telecom and Media

Per the first of this month Dent has decided to take on a new challenge, and joined Baringa Partners, a UK-origin consulting firm with operations in London and Düsseldorf. The team of approximately 35 partners and 350 advisors distinguishes itself in the marketplace with an industry-focused approach, centered around three key sectors: Financial Services, Energy and Utilities sectors. Yet in recent years the firm has gradually grown its footprint in Telecoms and Media as well, in essence adding a fourth pillar to its service portfolio, explains Adrian Bettridge, Baringa’s Managing Partner. “As a company, we are very well known for our work in the Energy and Financial Services industries but we have also worked in a quiet way for a number of years in the Telecoms and Media sectors.”

Based on the initial successes, and growing track record, Baringa’s partner team last year decided to earmark Telecoms and Media as a growth area, with Dent’s addition the logical result. Dent has been installed as head of the Telecoms and Media Practice, and has been granted the task of building Baringa’s brand in the industry, growing the firm’s market share and leading the internal operations of the practice. With Dent in place, Bettridge acknowledges the firm is now in a position to “becoming more public about” its ambitions, adding that he has “no doubt” that Dent is the right man for the job. “Guy has a brilliant track record delivering services in the Telecoms and Media sector and has a real passion for developing talent. We know him for shaping and delivering business and technology programmes and we can’t wait to work with him as part of our leadership team.”

Guy Dent and Adrian Bettridge - Baringa

Synergies in offerings and expertise
Whether or not Baringa’s further push into the Telecoms and Media space will turn out successful will depend on a number of factors, yet from a client offering and services point of view the move can be dubbed logical. In particular the Telecoms industry shows – in terms of market structure, trends and operating models – high resemblance to the Energy and Utilities markets, a domain which the firm has been serving since its establishment in 1999. Topics such as digital transformation, customer service, operational efficiency and field force optimisation are ‘hot topics’ for both industries, and as a result synergies exist in among other methodologies, expertise and project experience. As Bettridge notes, Dent will be able to “capitalise on the adjacent capabilities the company currently offers to its clients in the Energy and Financial Services industries.”

“I am excited about joining Baringa at a time when it is continuing to pursue its strategy for growth in existing and new industry sectors. I was impressed not only by Baringa’s client focus, but by its approach to recruitment and its commitment to development. It really has a distinctive culture centred on its people,” concludes Dent.

Earlier this year Baringa launched a new offering within its Risk & Compliance practice – dubbed ‘Risk Analytics’ – which is headed by former Barclays banker James Belmont.


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5G internet impact underestimated by business

27 March 2019

The UK rollout of 5G mobile internet is set to get under way in 2019, with a growing number of telecomms providers stating they will launch their next-generation coverage by the end of the year. Despite the increasing buzz surrounding the new technology, however, a survey of executives has found a business community which holds rather downbeat opinions about the transformative potential of 5G.

Every decade or so, a new generation of network technology comes along that promises more speed, more capacity and more uses. With each generation, network operators invest capital to upgrade their infrastructure, with the firm belief that those investments will lead to more satisfied customers and reinvigorated revenues and profits. Following on from the launch of 4G in the 2010s, the next decade is set to see the rise of the 5G generation of new mobile technologies. EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three UK are among the telecomms providers to have already announced they will launch 5G services in the UK in 2019.

While previous generations have been understood in almost universally positive terms, the often complex definitions as to precisely what 5G consists of often causes confusion and, in some cases, cynicism. Indeed, a recent study found that 53% of business leaders see no near-term business case for the technology. While the leaps to 3G and 4G were more noticeable, 5G New Radio speed in sub-6 GHz bands is said to be ‘modestly higher’ than 4G, meaning many still believe networks can do well enough leveraging 4G, while implementing 5G is likely to invoke hefty movements of capital.

In response to this lingering scepticism, George Nazi, Global Lead at Accenture’s network practice, has argued that businesses are missing the point about 5G. Commenting on the state of play following the release of a new study on 5G by Accenture, Nazi said that breakthroughs in three-dimensional video, immersive television, autonomous cars and smart-city infrastructure are set to unleash opportunities that are difficult to imagine today, but will soon be transformative. If companies fail to plan for 5G, they could well miss out on these opportunities.

Nazi added, “The reality is that 5G will bring a major wave of connectivity that opens new dimensions for innovation and commercial and economic development… Telecommunications companies will play a pivotal role in bringing these prospects to light.”

Underestimating 5G disruption

Despite these apparent opportunities, the majority of the 1,800 executives Accenture polled remain unconvinced. 53% of respondents from the mid-sized and large businesses canvassed across industries in ten countries said that there were ‘very few’ things that 5G will enable them to do that they cannot already do with 4G networks. Meanwhile, less than two in every five executives expected 5G to bring any sort of  ‘revolutionary’ shift in terms of either speed or capacity.

There were notable differences in opinion across different sectors, however. According to Accenture, over half of respondents from the energy sector believed 5G will have a revolutionary impact with its ability to reach new places – like remote and inhospitable areas – something which can further boost innovative new techniques in the renewable sphere in particular. Compared with just 41% of all executives surveyed, this suggests that specific sectors likely have an altogether more positive outlook for 5G.

Slow uptake

One factor which might be hindering enthusiasm for 5G is that executives may simply not know much about it. While it is true that these same executives are unlikely to have truly understood 4G either, the fact remains that simply improving the product’s name to the power of one has ceased to impress business leaders enough to invest in the technology. Accenture found that almost three-quarters of executives needed help to foresee future 5G possibilities and use cases.

If the upgrade is to take off, then, its champions will need to work hard to address this. This need is further underlined by the fact that roughly six in every ten survey respondents blamed their lack of knowledge on communication service providers. These providers were subsequently slated by executives, who said they had not been made aware of specific challenges in different industry verticals.

Pivotal role for telcos with 5G

At the same time, around a third of respondents noted a number of other perceived barriers for 5G adoption, which they need to be convinced are worth facing. 36% of respondents predictably said upfront investment was their biggest hurdle to get past – the most sizeable minority of those surveyed. 32%, meanwhile, said security was a concern, and understandable qualm in an environment where many still struggle to protect data under tried and tested 4G systems. Employee uptake was also mentioned as a cause of concern to that end, with 30% of responses.

Despite this, Accenture’s survey still found significant cause for optimism on the subject of 5G. Anders Lindblad, Accenture’s Communications & Media industry lead for Europe, contended that despite the knowledge gap, there is excitement among business leaders about the value that 5G can bring to enterprises.

Lindblad added, “This value is currently trapped within the perceived risks and uncertainty around 5G, which can be unlocked by organisations that understand customer needs, can overcome barriers to adoption and can drive collaboration among service providers.”

Looking ahead, the analysis suggests that 5G service providers have a lot to be upbeat about, especially from 2022 onwards. As many as  70% of survey respondents said 5G applications will give them a competitive edge with customers after that point, suggesting that while uptake will initially be sluggish, it will pick up rapidly in the next three years.

On top of that, respondents also related that they were optimistic with regards to 5G coverage. Three fifths of all those surveyed said that they expect 5G to cover nearly all the population – presumably in their own national territories – by 2022, something which would give them rapid access to new markets across the globe in ways never seen before.

While only 46% of survey respondents thought 5G will be making its mark on speed by 2022, and 42% thought the same about capacity, there is a clear belief that eventually the technology will become indispensible. It just may take some time to do so.