MCI WorldCom: “It’s not an age, it’s an attitude”

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MCI WorldCom: "It's not an age, it's an attitude"
A. Turner -May 10, 2000

Event Summary

According to President and Chief Executive Officer Bernard J. Ebbers, "MCI WorldCom is fundamentally shifting its corporate strategy, business initiatives, product focus and sales practices to expand its leadership position beyond high-growth, high-speed data and Internet services," Ebbers said. "The company is announcing a sweeping initiative to extend the network and transport services MCI WorldCom is so well known for to include a broad range of value added services to facilitate e-commerce and e-business."

The move leverages MCI WorldCom's global network assets, experience in data communications and Internet operations, as well as 77,000 employees.

The company unveiled its vision for providing a range of services for both emerging and established "e-companies," and existing brick-and-mortar companies who are adding "e" capabilities to become "click-and-mortar" companies.

The services are part of five core service sets, which include network and access, hosting, an e-business "toolkit," turnkey web solutions, and custom web solutions. The initiative builds upon the Internet transport and access capabilities provided by its UUNET business unit.

Further differentiating MCI WorldCom's approach is an e-business toolkit, which enables its customers to choose carrier-class components to build their e-services. These tools include directory services, security/certificate services, voice browsing, prepaid access alternatives, and support for delivering third-party applications.

MCI WorldCom is leveraging its call center services experience to create a broad range of capabilities to establish "web centers" and to turn existing call centers into web-enabled communications centers.

Market Impact

There are literally hundreds of companies that provide various pieces of the puzzle that businesses need to become "e-companies." Dozens of companies offer hosting and/or web site creation services. Others provide a turnkey e-business creation environment. While still many others furnish, to varying degrees, customized solutions or key components that customers can use to build their own solutions.

MCI WorldCom's strategy is to provide a soup-to-nuts range of services - from network and access services to hosting and site creation services - for small businesses to global multinational corporations.

"generation d"

As part of the corporate-wide effort, MCI WorldCom is launching a national advertising campaign focusing on new types of customers, entrepreneurial companies, and MCI WorldCom employees - "generation d" - all of whom are driving today's new digital economy. A main theme of the campaign - "generation d, it's not an age, it's an attitude" - will be incorporated in broadcast, print, and on-line media.

This marks an interesting direction for MCI. Competitor AT&T has launched its "Ecosystem" in an effort to provide service and infrastructure support to companies embracing the application service provider model. Having built an impressive array of partners, AT&T is leveraging its technological resources and established brand to support clients. MCI has chosen a slightly different track as it hopes to provide network /access solutions, as well as customized, turnkey e-business solutions.

User Recommendations

The announcement is chock full of potential but short on substance. MCI WorldCom has unveiled the "vision" but has not described the path or methodology to achieve these new value added services.

Will they partner? If so, with who? When will this vision become a reality? What will make their services better than those of smaller companies? Exactly how will they provide the "soup to nuts" solution, and will it be all things to all people? More details are needed.

An additional consideration is the approval and execution of the Sprint merger. With services in more than 65 countries, it is not difficult to imagine the merger will require time, resources and mind-share to be successful.

Perhaps with MCI's top down vision, coupled with strong marketing and an even stronger implementation and support mechanism, they will achieve the "attitude" required to become the full service provider Mr. Ebbers describes.

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