Cover StoryICT Telecoms and Technology

Delivering a step change: BT’s Peter Russell

russell-peterA combination of global capability and local expertise makes BT a unique managed service provider in Northern Ireland, delivering real value alongside innovative technology solutions, explains Peter Russell, Head of BT Public Sector and Major Accounts NI.

Managed services, data centre hosting  and  strategic partnerships are  becoming increasingly compelling propositions for many enterprise  organisations – both in the public and private sectors, particularly in the area of IT and communications technology.  It seems a reasonably straightforward principle that government and corporate organisations are much better able to focus on their core areas of service delivery, if a trusted third party is working with them to deliver reliable and efficient ‘back end’ ICT services.

It’s a simple model that can cause real problems if you pick the wrong partner. Experience tells us that customers need to choose a service provider that not only has the right technical capabilities but who also understands the customers’ business challenges and has a proven track record in being able to deliver successfully in a similar environment.

Understanding client needs and market trends has been key to BT’s success over the past three years. Putting customer experience at the heart of what we do has really focused our investment and transformation agenda and enabled us to drive some very positive changes in our business. This is something that has been recognised by Deep-Insight, a research company that analyses business relationships to improve customer retention and increase employee performance. “The journey to becoming a truly customer-centric organisation is not easy,” John O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at Deep-Insight has said. “BT has made remarkable progress towards this goal, and is a role model for other companies.”

Time spent really listening to customers and understanding their challenges has been instrumental in helping win a wide range of contracts.  Whether it’s rolling out Account NI, the financial shared service centre to the Northern Ireland Civil Service, running the ICT function for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, or working in a strategic telecoms partnership with the Belfast Trust, BT’s approach is characterised by being relevant, delivering value and working in true collaborative partnership with its customers. John Crosby, Chief Executive of Account NI, has said: “BT has helped us achieve something quite unique. We’ve built a very strong partnership in the delivery of shared services and have a joint vision and agenda for the future.”
In the current climate, one of BT’s key strengths as a successful and growing business is its ability to continue to invest, either in the recruitment of key people or in making capital investments such as the best in class Remedy Enterprise managed service platform. We recognise the importance of collaborating with smaller organisations and have a track record of partnering with many indigenous organisations such as Asidua and Kana (formerly Lagan). This collaborative approach, coupled with our significant local investments, means we are uniquely placed to help our customers solve their business challenges.

BT has a thriving global business that gives customers the reassurances they need when embarking on a managed service partnership. With a presence in 170 countries and 100,000 employees worldwide, there is plenty of knowledge and experience to leverage, but  one of BT’s key differentiators in Northern Ireland is the ability to provide a global capability matched with significant local expertise.

We have been working with enterprise customers in Northern Ireland for many years and are one of the few local companies that have continued to make significant investment in Northern Ireland during the economic downturn. We are also one of the few that has the end-to-end capability – network, data centre, IT services – to make the most of a new wave of technological innovation.

This innovation includes BT’s new cloud computing delivery model – BT Compute – that is transforming the way organisations use and consume IT i.e. ‘Infrastructure as a Service’. For many years, BT has been building on its leadership in communications technologies, moving into the IT epicentre of organisations as voice and data networks converged. Providing BT Compute nodes in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is a natural next step in this evolutionary process.

For us, BT Compute is about building on our unrivalled network capability by layering on top a full suite of communication and IT services, all blended into a utility model where customers only pay for what they use. This model is currently deployed by Amey in the provision of disaster recovery services to the Northern Ireland education sector.

BTPerfect host

With two data centres in Ireland, BT has the facilities to deliver the full range of managed services, including BT Compute solutions. BT’s ability to host  resilient communications and IT  services with full disaster recovery capabilities, and to provide 24/7 helpdesk support to agreed customer  service level agreements, whilst adhering to international ISO and ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) standards is a unique differentiator in the Northern Ireland market  place.  We know how important it is for customers, particularly in the public sector, to be able to measure and assess service performance. This is one of the reasons why BT has a single best practice process framework for all our customers and managed service teams.

The objective is to give the best service and the best value, which means navigating the fine line between meeting a customer’s specific need and leveraging the economies of scale that make managed services possible. BT’s vision is all about ‘service without boundaries’, tailoring solutions to meet the needs of every customer, anytime, anywhere.  A big part of what we do is also about thought leadership and innovation, and we apply these principles to every customer engagement. We have access to all of BT’s considerable R&D capability including our significant innovation centre in Adastral Park, where many of our customers have already visited and provided extremely positive feedback. 

BT also has a long list of chosen partners that it will engage with to overcome any technical or service challenge. These include Cisco, Microsoft, HP and Avaya. We will find the best way of doing things through our comprehensive partner ecosystem and deliver back to customers as effectively and as affordably as possible.

Results focused

Outcomes from BT managed services are wide ranging. With Account NI, BT rationalised ordering and payment processes across government departments, transforming the way they work. The focus is now on decision support and improved financial management rather than rudimentary administration.

In the West Midlands, BT transformed the way that Sandwell Council interacts with its citizens by deploying a virtual contact centre and CRM (customer relationship management) platform. It has helped the council deliver significant cost savings and regularly achieve customer satisfaction ratings of between 95 and 97 per cent.

When BT took over responsibility for the entire ICT estate in the New Downe Hospital in Downpatrick, the ability to share lab results quickly over a secure network has improved patient care.

With the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, managed operations across 40 sites have made the service more cost-effective and efficient. Migration to a unified BT telephony platform has saved £1 million in call charges and line rental alone.

In conclusion  a BT managed service is about delivering real value and exceeding customer expectations.  We listen to our customers and then share our experience, understanding and wide range of capabilities to deliver outstanding service and real value for money.

There are very tangible benefits to a partnership with BT. We will reduce downtime, deliver services more efficiently and also provide very significant cost savings.  In difficult times, when everyone is having to do more with less, it’s a compelling set of reasons to talk to BT.

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