BT’s IT function has had an impressive 12 months. It has ‘upskilled’ more than 5,000 IT professionals, so that now 3,100 are engaged in customer-facing, revenue-generating work rather than internal IT projects.
It has also achieved a first-time, net reduction in the systems estate, savings of approximately 19 per cent in unit costs two years in a row, while simultaneously tripling its output, and doubling its delivery speed. The IT team has also increased its internal business partner satisfaction rate to over 80 per cent, as measured by its 90-day Post Implementation Review.

The company is also very proud of its business agility, having implemented and begun to embed agile delivery methodologies.

Global sourcing ratios are such that 80 per cent of development work is offshored, and offshore vendors are not allowed more than 10 per cent of their resource to be onshore at any time.Over the next 12 months BT will be focusing on a number of initiatives. It has just completed a major transformation, moving from narrowband to broadband, connecting customers through an advanced network across 170 countries.
The company says its software and IT are the essential components of its 21CN global IP platform. “They provide the enabling infrastructure that will help us transform our development and delivery of customer service at a speed and to a quality that have never been possible before,” says Al-Noor Ramji, CIO at BT Group. It is also streamlining and automating its end-to-end processes, and continuing to update its culture for its people. “In addition to product and service innovation, we will concentrate our efforts on creating an unparalleled customer experience, where we deliver ‘right first time’ and as ‘timely’ as is possible.” It will continue to reduce its systems estate from 3,695 systems, into a matrix architecture of 14 platforms and over 150 reusable systems and process capabilities.

“One significant implementation will be the realisation of our matrix architecture of 14 platforms and over 150 reusable capabilities, which will be exposed internally and externally through our user and developer software developer kits. By harnessing innovation beyond the confines of the BT payroll we can create an ecosystem with opportunities for BT to drive revenue throughout the value chain – both in the global network and in new products and services,” says Ramji.

Over the last 18 months the company has identified and started using the primary tools and technologies that will allow it to transform the customer experience. “There are primary tools and technologies we use to improve the customer experience: end-to-end testing; end-to-end monitoring; agile delivery; and closed loop control,” says Ramji. It now tests all the functionality of a new product or solution before releasing it to a customer through end-to-end testing, while it has adopted what it calls “agile delivery”, an iterative approach to development that emphasises the continuous involvement of the customer, a risk-aware mindset (“fail fast, launch small and scale later”) and the reuse of existing products and features wherever possible. The closed-loop control element is a regular (every 90 days) evaluation of the value it is delivering to the customer.

“This ‘fail safe’ mechanism allows us to avoid committing financial and human resources to projects that aren’t meeting specific ROI objectives,” he says.

The arena formerly inhabited by traditional telcos has radically changed, creating different issues for the organisation. Deregulation and technological innovation have enabled new players to enter the market, and its customers demand greater capabilities and control, as well as reduced costs and complexity. But BT believes that early adopters in the consumer, SME, enterprise and CP market are already harnessing benefits from the convergence of communications and computing.

“By harnessing innovation beyond the confines of the BT payroll we can create an ecosystem with opportunities for BT to drive revenue throughout the value chain”
– Al-Noor Ramji, CIO, BT Group