Sprint Canada launches Web services suite

Sprint Canada executives say the launch of its enterprise Web services suite later this year will deliver a message to Canadian business customers – that Sprint Canada is the stable choice.

“Canada is a large marketplace, but it is not well served from coast-to-coast by any one player,” said Paul Engels, vice-president of enterprise marketing for Sprint Canada. “Sprint Canada is in the unique position to bring the solution with national support, national service and national coverage.”

Sprint E/Solutions, which offers end-to-end Internet transport, hosting, security, consulting and managed services, should be available to Canadian customers in the third quarter of this year.

Engels said Canadians need a service like this one, which was launched by the company’s U.S. parent last year. Currently, Sprint Canada provides similar services via its partners.

“The big difference with this is that it brings the entire solution in house,” Engels said. “Our take is that larger providers with deep capabilities like Sprint Canada are positioned to step into the early stages in the marketplace, but to do it with more innovative resources, distribution and back-end infrastructure to do the play correctly and successfully.”

Elroy Jopling, principal analyst of worldwide public services at market research firm Gartner Dataquest, said Sprint’s move is a positive one simply because it provides more choice for Canadian customers.

“This is an interesting and a good move for Sprint,” Jopling said Tuesday. “There is a market there and Sprint realized it was something they had to do, otherwise a lot of its customers would go to the competitors. It was a defensive move, but at the same time, a smart strategic move.”

With approximately 900 technical consultants already working in the United States with Sprint, Jopling believes Sprint Canada will make use of the American capabilities. However, he said this strategy could get “tricky” when they are faced with some legacy applications and system integration.

“Sprint went through some hard times in the last little while and now they are starting to see some more light at the end of the tunnel, so they feel a little more confident in adding another type of business,” he said.

Kan Inaba, director of new product development with hosting and IP products at Sprint Canada, said the launch of E/Solutions would also mark the beginning of a different approach.

“Typically, in terms of developing new products and services a lot of the focus has been on how you implement a customer,” he said. “Our approach with this particular service is very much a solutioning process. Eighty per cent of our effort is going to be focused on the front-end.”

Sprint Canada doesn’t have customers for E/Solutions yet because the suite won’t be in the marketplace for several months, Engels said.

“We have had expressions of interest, but it would be premature to drop company names at this stage,” Engels said. He added that the RFPs Sprint Canada will be entertaining will probably spend between $10,000 and $20,000 per month on consulting, design, application hosting, application management and monitoring.

“The growth prospects for medium and large-sized businesses to outsource and expand their spending on hosting solutions is probably in the triple-digit growth category,” he said. “It is at least doubling on an annual basis. That’s a pretty compelling reason to draw any competitive provider into the marketplace.”

Sprint Canada is at http://www.sprintcanada.ca/