British Telecom: Not Just Another ISP

By Edward Cone Print this article Print

Led by its technology organization, BT remade itself from a legacy telco into an innovative global communications services company.

The latest New Wave out of London has nothing to do with skinny neckties, synthesizers or bad haircuts. New Wave is the term used by BT Group to categorize revenue derived from its businesses, including networked IT, broadband and mobile services—offerings the telecommunications giant needs to drive growth as its legacy phone business ages.

The transformation of the venerable company once known as British Telecom is a dramatic story: the remaking of a former state-owned monopoly built on 19th century technology into a dynamic global enterprise. It involves the overhaul of a sprawling and inefficient tech organization and the strategic and cultural shift across an enormous company, all enabled by the development of a global IP network and services platform, and inspired and led in large part by a small group of technology executives.

A key architect of the transformation has been Al-Noor Ramji, BT Group CIO and chief executive of BT Design. (The company reorganized itself last year into two operating divisions: BT Design, which develops services, and BT Operate, which delivers them.) “We said, let’s do it first in IT, that’s closest to what we want to do with the firm,” says Ramji, who likens the significance of BT’s transition to IBM’s move from hardware to software and services.

Read the full article How IT Transformed BT.


This article was originally published on 2008-03-12
Senior Writer and author of the Know It All blog

Ed Cone has worked as a contributing editor at Wired, a staff writer at Forbes, a senior writer for Ziff Davis with Baseline and Interactive Week, and as a freelancer based in Paris and then North Carolina for a wide variety of magazines and papers including the International Herald Tribune, Texas Monthly, and Playboy. He writes an opinion column in his hometown paper, the Greensboro News & Record, and publishes the semi-popular EdCone.com weblog. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa, two kids, and a dog.
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.