The telecom industry has been looking into ways to capitalise on the opportunities offered by cloud computing ever since the hype around the concept emerged in the mid 2000s.Traditional telecom providers have approached the cloud opportunity from two angles. On the consumer side, mobile players have started to add cloud-based services on top of their subscriber offering through portals and apps, for example, with the aim of helping to retain existing subscribers. On the business side, ever-tighter regulations and increasingly squeezed margins in voice mean that telecoms providers have to look for other revenue streams.Arguably, telecom players that want to stay relevant and competitive need to seize the opportunity to extend their offering. They need to combine the strength of their network and data centre infrastructure and offer integrated network, data, IT and cloud services for enterprises.Yet some traditional telecom players have struggled to compete in the cloud space, as they are not used to selling to strategic IT decision-makers.With telecoms solutions, there is a limited number of variables: where do you want to connect to? How fast do you want the connection to be? That is why the purchase decision for telecoms is often operational instead of strategic.When it comes to cloud and other IT services, there are a lot more variables that businesses need to consider. You need to adopt a much more consultative approach to guide the IT decision-maker through those many variables.Some telecoms providers have failed to sell to the enterprise because they have forgotten the importance of building and fostering these new strategic relationships with the CIO – and have lost business as a result.So, what should telecoms players do?We think that the winning formula is integration and converged services. Telecoms players that have expanded their offering are in a very strong position to compete against enterprise IT and cloud heavyweights by bringing a full portfolio of network, data, cloud and IT services to enterprises and partners’ fingertips.This is a hugely compelling proposition for enterprises because it simplifies technology choices for the CIO and the IT director by eliminating the complexities and escalating costs that they often face when dealing with multiple suppliers.Previously featured in Capacity Magazine.