George Konnis


Bio: George Konnis, Managing Director, Cyprus Research and Academic Network (CYNET), Cyprus

Dr. George Konnis is the Managing Director of CYNET, (Cyprus Research and Academic Network), and Head of the Cyprus Academic Computer Security Incident Response Team (CYNET-CSIRT). He is also member of the GÉANT Association Board.
He received his Diploma in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in 1992 and his Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering in 1998 from the same institution, where he worked as a Researcher, Research Scientist and Research Assistant Professor at the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems from 1992, 1998 and 2003 respectively.
During his career Dr. Konnis has been an associate with various IT companies such as IBM S.A, Datamed S.A., Cyprus Telecommunication Authority, Delta-Singular Educational Services S.A, in a variety of roles such as Senior Project Manager, Software Development Team Leader, Senior IT Consultant, Director of Training. He has extensive experience as a project manager and software team leader in national level public institutions’ supply, installation, pilot operation and maintenance projects. He has published 34 scientific papers in international journals and conferences. He has been active in numerous European R&D programmes in the field of Information Technology and was the principal investigator in several European and national research programmes. He is also a Marie Curie fellow. 

Abstract: "How GÉANT can support the sustainability of NRENs - Building blocks of a business model for all NRENs"

NRENs are called to operate in the highly competitive and constantly changing interdisciplinary field of technology and education, by contributing to the digital transformation of their countries with technological studies, new product development and special know-how. NRENs around the globe, are at a different level of maturity. However, many share similar challenges and can benefit from being part of the learning and sharing community of GÉANT. Additionally, in many countries where the connectivity has not reached a crucial mass, the competition with commercial providers is becoming more and more difficult. The only way for a NREN to differentiate is through services. The development of new services will also increase the demand for higher connections. GÉANT develops these specialist services that members need, in order to support researchers, educators and innovators – at national, European and international levels.

Apart from developing and supporting specialist services, NRENs may need to make changes in their operational model, i.e., preparing a business plan. All the major transformations in an NREN that will make it sustainable, could be accomplished with the support of GÉANT.

Some NRENs mainly receive their funding from their governments, others operate as associations and work completely independently from their governments. Some NRENs are bound by instructions of their members, others are given the freedom to explore additional sources for revenues. Furthermore, not only the sources of income differ, but also the NRENs' strategies on sustainability - the actual solutions that NRENs have developed to address their unique challenges. Although the majority of NRENs are non-commercial entities and the minority are government entities, they all need to have a business model to be sustainable, which makes the Business model canvas a useful tool. There is no one-size-fits-all model for a successful NREN, therefore NRENs around the globe have different business models. 

The Business model canvas consists of nine building blocks: Key activities, Key resources, Partners, Value proposition, Customer segments, Channels, Customer relations, Revenue streams, Cost structure. The most important block is the Value proposition, which describes what problems are solved for the users. Apart from the above segments a complete NREN’s business plan must include two more segments: (a) Strategic autonomy which analyzes if the business strategy is decided by the NREN itself, or its stakeholders, or the government and (b) Technical independence, which analyzes if the NREN has all the technical resources for running all its activities or relies on external resources, i.e., IT departments of Universities. 

Finally, by filling up all the segments, the Management of an NREN can have a complete and clear view of its structure.