British Telecom's Tech Transformation

By Debra D'Agostino  |  Posted 2007-02-06 Print this article Print

British telecom had a problem. Three years ago, as the U.K. telecom giant (now BT Group plc) sought to remake itself from a provider of traditional telephone services into a leader in network-centric IT solutions, it found its own IT shop was a mess. The $34 billion company, which operates in 170 countries, had no central IT department or global oversight. Instead, each business line had its own CIO and IT staff—and thousands of technology initiatives, each operating in its own silo.

BT needed a new IT approach. In May 2004, it lured Al-Noor Ramji away from his role as CIO, executive vice president and chief e-commerce officer at Denver-based Qwest Communications International Inc., and put him in charge of BT Exact, the London-based company's research, technology and IT operations arm. As CEO of BT Exact, as well as Group CIO for all of BT, Ramji was given a monumental task: reshape BT's IT efforts and unify the company's global technology strategy.

Ramji's first step was to identify and consolidate all currently operating technology initiatives. "When I arrived at BT," he says, "there were 4,300 technology initiatives across the company, all with random delivery dates. Only about 20 percent of them had an actual business case, but none of them were being tracked in any way."

Read the full story on CIOInsight.com: British Telecom's Tech Transformation.

Debra D'Agostino was part of the original team that launched CIO Insight in May 2001, and has held several positions during her tenure, serving first as copy chief, then senior reporter, and currently as online editor, overseeing content and strategy for CIOInsight.com. Prior to joining Ziff Davis Media, her work focused largely on travel and leisure, and her articles have appeared in Consumer Reports' Travel Letter, The Elite Traveler, Agenda New York, Travel Agent, Westchester, Wine Enthusiast and USA Today, among others. At CIO Insight, she has twice been a finalist for American Business Media's Jesse H. Neal Award, and has received three national gold awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. She holds a bachelor of science in journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

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