BT is a communications services companies, serving the UK and over 170 countries worldwide. Their main activities are the provision of fixed-line services, broadband, mobile and TV products and services as well as networked IT services.
After winning rights to broadcast Premier League football in the summer of 2012, BT launched its new BT Sport channel for the start of the 2013 football season in August last year. BT has subsequently spent a further £1 billion on the rights to broadcast Champions League football, a decision CIO Clive Selley said was a gamble that will pay off for the multimedia company when he spoke to an audience of business technology leaders at a CIO Big Conversation event in November last year.
Selley, who joined the organisation in January 1981 as a graduate, spoke to CIO UK about a skills shortage and the growing opportunities provided by the Internet of Things at the end of 2013.
BT fell off somewhat in the 2013 edition of the CIO 100, but this year judge Mike Altendorf praised BT for "finally executing well for getting into the content business". Mark Chillingworth added: "This TV and content transformation programme has really given BT a new lease of life."
What is your job title?
CEO BT Technology, Service & Operations and BT Group CIO
When did you start your current role?
I started my current role as CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations when it was formed in 2013. Became Group CIO in April 2010.
Have you completed an MBA?
Order the following sources of advice/information by value to you:
2. Peer group
Technology strategy and spending
What is the major transformational IT project that has been recently completed, or is underway at your organisation?
In July 2012, BT won the rights to broadcast Premier League football for the first time, launching the company in a new strategic direction, and fundamentally shifting the sports broadcasting and telecoms landscape in the UK.
BT Technology, Service & Operations (TSO), in the space of a year and one month, built the TV platforms underpinning BT’s move into sports broadcasting. We engineered the TV platforms to host, edit and distribute content; a set of applications running on computers which form the heart of the company's TV proposition. The delivery of these platforms allowed the company to launch two terrestrial TV channels, BT Sport 1 & 2, and provide online coverage via the BT Sport App and online player.
What impact will it/does it have on the organisation?
The successful roll-out of the platforms developed for BT Sport has enabled the company to carve out a new strategy, creating new revenue streams from broadcasting, advertising and wholesale distribution of sports content whilst significantly boosting BT’s ability to retain existing customers and grow its fibre broadband base.
By Q3 2013/14, BT had already signed up more than 2.5 million customers to BT Sport, which also helped boost its fibre broadband subscribers to 1.9m customers and reduce customer churn. As a result BT’s Consumer division recorded the best quarter of revenue growth in a decade, at 6%, and the overall BT Group delivered strong growth across revenues, profits and earnings per share.
The success of this strategy would not have been possible without the successful delivery of the platforms underpinning BT Sport, so BT’s IT/CIO function acted as a key enabler of the overall Group’s success.
What new strategic technology deals has your organisation struck and with whom?
We don’t actively publish deals with supplier names, but we have secured deals on Mainframe upgrades, Next Generation Ethernet Access Devices, Provider Core Routers and new Software multi-year licence agreements.
Name your strategic technology suppliers?
We work with most of the main suppliers, including, but not limited to, Microsoft, Oracle, EMC, HP, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Telent, ADVA, Computacenter, Ciena, Humax, IBM, Fujitsu.
What is the IT budget?
Our network, operating & IT costs were in the region of £600m in the last financial year (2012-13). In addition we invested £544m in R&D in the same period.
What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
BT’s operational transformation over the past four years has focussed on 3 strategic goals; customer service, cost transformation and investing for growth. These continue to underpin our strategic direction, and I believe the CIO function can, and should be a driver for change across all these areas.
For example, looking ahead, the next area we are heavily focused on is big data, and the ‘Internet of Things’ which has massive potential to transform our operations and the experience of our customers.
I have very extensive network surveillance and fault correlation systems in my networks. They tell me what’s broken and the fault location. By analysing the vast, near real-time data publicly out there on the popular social networking sites, I now find that I can far more accurately assess the scale of the customer impact and the effectiveness of a fix or a mitigation action.
By ‘mining’ other test data across multiple networks and systems - data that has always been available but never stored and analysed - I can also diagnose and localise faults faster and in some instances even predict a fault before it ever affects a customer. A major aim this year is to ensure that we maximise the potential of these 'big data capabilities to improve service for our customers.
Would you describe the CIO role as a transformation leader in your organisation?
Absolutely. The CIO can, and must be, a real driver for change across the organisation. We are at the heart of the company's drive to improve the way it does business.
Describe the transformations you have led / been involved in, how did they transform operations, customer experience or the organisation?
To take these across our 3 strategic goals, i.e. customer service, cost transformation and investing for growth:
On customer service, this is a major focus area for BT, and we have made progress over the last year - transaction volumes are now dominated by self-service, through a combination of B2B gateways and customer portals. Our B2B gateways, for example, now process 6M customer transactions per day.
On cost transformation, TSO has delivered over £1bn of cash savings in the last 4 years through process re-engineering and through significant network rationalisation, particularly in our global networks estate. Progress on closing old network and data centre infrastructure has delivered year-on-year energy reduction for 4 consecutive years. We are the only major European telco to have actually reduced our power consumption every year over that period.
We have invested for future growth in fibre broadband and Ethernet and engineered the UK broadband network to underpin service for TV. And we have delivered industry vertical solutions for banking, pharmaceuticals and supply chain, taking our proposition set beyond the traditional scope for a Telco.
Over the last four years we have also driven down the underlying network fault rate on each of the key product categories including telephony, broadband and private circuits and made steady improvements in IT stack reliability to underpin 24x7 trading.
Beyond technology, can you describe a business transformation programme that you own or contribute to?
Skills transformation, and computing education is my responsibility within BT Group, but is also something I passionately believe in the importance of. Today’s role for IT demands a more rounded set of skills and capabilities – of course strong technology skills, but also business skills and very strong integration and teamworking across the enterprise.
For future corporate success and future national success, businesses and government need to focus relentlessly on skills. Computer science and data analytics, blended with business and commercial expertise are the key for me. I am driving internal accredited skills programmes to ensure my people invest in their skills and remain current. I am also exploiting things like MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from top universities like MIT as a way of up-skilling our people.
And I am also seeking to bring in the best young talent via our apprenticeship and graduate schemes.
However, for long term national success, this issue goes well beyond the boundaries of any single company. It starts with schools and the early exposure that our children get to the sort of subjects that we need for the future.
We are working with the eSkills Sector Skills Council, BCS and a range of other partners across the industry to help champion the teaching of computer science and the STEM subjects in UK schools. We are also using our skilled people based in UK engineering centres to help with inspiring young people in the schools around those UK centres.
I am personally delighted that we hosted more than 3000 young people and teachers at our Adastral Park site over the last year. The CIO community, as leaders of many tens of thousands of highly skilled professionals are uniquely positioned to help the national imperative to enthuse and excite the next generation of world leading scientists, engineers and IT professionals that we will need to compete globally
What key technologies are being considered to enable transformation?
Big Data technologies such as Hadoop clusters have now moved from being the domain of the likes of Google to having a far wider application for companies like BT. Every week BT's broadband network generates in the region of 9bn data points, and the power to store and process that information, to make sense of it, cand combine it with things like social media, geographical and weather information, has massive potential to transform the way we run and monitor our networks, and provide sevice to customers. BT has now implemented a production Hadoop cluster, and has others we use for research purposes; harnessing the 'internet of things' is very much at the forefront of our agenda.
What percentage of your applications / infrastructure is run from the Cloud?
A substantial percentage - we run our own Hybrid-Cloud Services from our data-centres across the globe for our Enterprise customers, so it makes sense for us to maximise our use of cloud services internally.
How is the use by employees of their own technology, use of mobiles and social networking impacting operations, customer experiences or the organisation at present?
We actively encourage BYOD smartphones and tablets and have about 10,000 employees worldwide who have chosen to use their own smartphones and tablets; we also use collaboration tools and VoIP widely across the organisation.
Do you have a plan in place for how to deal with shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives, place the right controls around employee choice and engage with the organisation on this issue?
Shadow IT is a perpetual issue for CIOs of large organisations; however, when shadow IT projects are found, we always try to ask why they emerged in the first place - if a part of the business has an unserved requirement, or whether they were simply unaware of the available options. Control is important, but a thorough understanding is equally key.
Where do you seek transformational inspiration from?
Within BT TSO, the CIO and IT functions sit alongside our reserch and innovation division, based at Adastral Park in Suffolk, and across our global development centres; that closeness is immensely valuable. We have specific innovation scouting teams in Silicon Valley and Israel, and partnerships with universities across the globe such as Cambridge, MIT, EBTIC in the UAE and Tsinghua University in China. These external-facing teams, researchers and partnerships are essential in bringing transformational ideas into BT. I also get inspiration from some of the great innovators in our corporate history, such as Tommy Flowers, the inventor of the world's first electronic programmable computer - Colossus - which helped to shorten World War Two - he was a truly inspirational figure who transformed telecommunications and computing.
The CIO role in the business
Who do you report to?
Do you have a seat on the board?
How often do you meet with the CEO?
Does your organisation have a digital leader and what is the difference in their responsibilities to yours?
What percentage of IT budget do you control and what percentage of IT budget does your digital peer hold?
BT doesn't have a 'digital leader' in that sense - we're a complex business, but the CIO function controls IT spend.
The IT department
How many staff make up the IT team?(What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff)
My business unit, BT Technology, Service and Operations, contains around 15,000 people, most of whom are technologists, scientists and IT experts; around 5100 are specifically systems and IT professionals.
Describe the CIO’s management team, do you have direct reports that develop the relationship and services between the business and IT?
BT Group, and the BT lines of business such as BT Global Services, BT Wholesale, Openreach, BT Business and BT Consumer, all have CIO functions; the ultimate responsibility for these functions lies within my role as Group CIO. In a company with as many priorities and as many areas of focus as BT, it is important to have CIOs who work within the specific business areas, and understand their priorities, but equally essential to be able to balance investment and management decisions across these functions to maximise the benefits and efficiencies for the Group.
And how many log-in accounts do you issue across you organisation?
More than 100,000
What is the primary technology platform? ( for example ERP, Website, trading system)
We operate across a number of technology platforms.