A recent joint announcement by T-Systems and Google highlighted both their partnership to collaborate on helping companies and government institutions in their digitization efforts, linking Google Cloud data solutions with T-Systems’ footprint and focus on the public sector, healthcare, automotive industry, and public transport verticals.

The collaboration aims to combine T-Systems’ customer relationship strength and, crucially, compatibility with strict German data protection laws, with Google’s cloud offerings and capabilities in AI/ML, data analytics and other related added value services.

In a parallel recent (August 2021) agreement with Microsoft, T-Systems also offers encrypted content data and meta data in compliance with EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) standards using its Cloud Privacy Service. T-Systems already hosts Microsoft’s Azure and 365 cloud services in Germany.

T-Systems have a cloud first strategy

These moves are an illustration of T-Systems’ ‘cloud first’ strategy, announced in February, whereby Deutsche Telekom’s ‘digital services’ division is looking to meet enterprise customers’ private, public, and hybrid cloud needs using its own Open Telekom Cloud and offerings from the likes of AWS, Microsoft, and Google.

There are similarities with Orange’s partnership with Capgemini and Microsoft for the formation of their Bleu ‘Cloud de Confiance’ service to meet the data sovereignty requirements of the French state, public administrations, and critical infrastructure companies.

A strong EU focus on GDPR

These events reflect the strong EU focus on GDPR, as well as a deglobalization/reregulation trend that can be seen in markets as diverse as China and the UK. Governments are (rightly) concerned about data protection as part of their contract with their citizens.

This does, however, present an attractive market opportunity for incumbent service providers who rarely have domestic-headquartered competitors with the same depth and breadth of resource – let alone political sway and (sometimes) government shareholdings.

Enterprise customers might miss out on choice through competition, but in a world where they are increasingly focused on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) challenges, the security of a safe pair of domestic hands is perceived to make up for it. Oh, and they tend not to have many credible alternative network service provider options.