Cost Optimization in Telecom: Navigating Challenges and Unlocking Opportunities

In this exclusive webinar, experts Conor Patterson, CTO at BT Ireland, Sanjeev Kumar, General Manager at Accolite, and Anupam Agarwal, Head of Telecom Domain Solution at Accolite , dive back into the dynamic world of telecom exploring cost-effective solutions, innovative profitability strategies, and provide a diverse view on financial efficiency. Watch the session and get insights on the multitude of opportunities that await in the telecom sector.

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Conor Patterson

Conor Petterson | Chief Technology Officer
BT Ireland

Sanjeev Kumar

Sanjeev Kumar | General Manager, Media & Telecom

Ibrahim Meeran

Ibrahim Meeran | Vice President, Client Partner Media & Telecom 

Episode Transcript

Ibrahim Meeran: Good. Hello, everyone. Good Morning. Good Afternoon. Good Evening. So, thanks a lot to all of you for joining this webinar.

Ibrahim Meeran: Today's topic that we're gonna discuss is on cost optimization in telecom.

Ibrahim Meeran: And as we all know, it's one of the key challenges that all the operators face, in terms of cost optimization. It's one of the critical objectives of a CIO or a CTO in the telecom world. And what we're going to discuss is those typical challenges, what the operators face and also identify how we can address them.

Ibrahim Meeran: I'm excited to join with a couple of speakers. So I'll start with my introduction first. Ibrahim Meeran. I've been in the telecom industry for the last 23 years.

Ibrahim Meeran: Worked across the solution roles. And I'm the client partner in Bounteous x Accolite.

Ibrahim Meeran: We are joined by Connor Patterson, who is the Chief Technology Officer of BT, Ireland. He's been in the telecom industry for 30 plus years. We're going to hear from him on the challenges that he sees day in, day out from a cost transformation perspective. We're also joined by Sanjeev Kumar, General Manager for Media and Telecom practice in Bounteous x Accolite. Sanjeev has got 27 years of experience in the telecom industry. 

Ibrahim Meeran: He has worked both on the services side, as well as being a customer - on the operator side as well, to be interested to see his perspective in terms of as a Partner, how he sees the cost challenges are to be addressed for the operators.

Ibrahim Meeran: I'll move on to the next slide and before we start on the key topic, what we would like to cover, as in terms of who we are from Bounteous x Accolite. And what are the key capabilities that we have.

Ibrahim Meeran: So we’ve got extensive experience in working across various challenges for the operators, across the globe, whether it is increasing the market share, reducing the cost base, improving the colleague and customer experience, or helping them in the data and the cloud enablement. So we work across the business segment as well as on the IT side in terms of, basically using data to deliver insights, helping the operators to drive their strategy, to help in their marketing strategy by looking at market technologies. We also help them to define their customer experience journeys, be it a customer or a colleague.

Ibrahim Meeran: And then followed by the product actual platforming, with the help of data and AI, both applied AI and GenAI, and we also help operators in the cloud enablement strategy with regards to building applications on cloud directly, private- public cloud, or from the on-prem onto cloud and we also get actively involved in moving the network as well into the network cloud. In terms of telecom focus areas, we have a larger domain practice - what we call as a Center of Excellence. We’ve got 70 plus experts who help operators day in and day out in the BSS OSS transformation, network modernization and also helping them in the digital transformation.

Ibrahim Meeran: So that's the kind of broad capabilities set that we have, what we are offering to our Telco clients across the globe.

Ibrahim Meeran: Coming back to the main topic in terms of cost challenges, there are a lot of challenges that we see from the operator side. But if I want to pick up key challenges, one is the portfolio of the operators, in terms of, they’re still, there are a lot of operators who are running on legacy portfolios, be the legacy processes for customers, colleagues, be the underlying IT stack they run.

Ibrahim Meeran: And even in some of the areas, the network as well, and in the fixed line, still, there are a lot of copper based assets, copper based services that are being provided, that takes a lot of cost and adds to the cost base. And we also have some of the 3G networks that's still laying out in the network, so those basically, are the key challenges there. The legacy portfolio is one of the key challenges how the operators see, there is a challenge. 
Ibrahim Meeran: We are also looking at some of the untapped assets as well,there are  a lot of assets, both in terms of network, in terms of cloud optimization, all the operator assets have started imprisoning cloud. But what they're not really optimally doing is that they are not fully utilizing the potential of the cloud, they’re paying, subscribing more, but not utilizing. So you need to look at that as well. And then also the talent as well, because that's a key challenge faced with an operator in terms of talent retention as well as talent on boarding.

Ibrahim Meeran: The other one is around the portfolio. So the portfolios that some of the operators have are quite complex.

Ibrahim Meeran: Many, many products, many offerings, it's quite complex in terms of building the portfolio. It's confusing the colleagues, confusing the customers, and it takes a lot of cost to maintain that as well. So those are some of the key challenges that we see - what are being faced by operators. But now I will pass on the floor to Conor, for Conor to take us through the challenges that he sees day in day out from an operator perspective.Over to you Conor.

Conor Patterson: Thank you very much Ibraham.

Conor Patterson: Thank you very much, and thank you. Thank you for the invite. I'm delighted to come along and chat today. And I’II go through this and just give a quick overview of you know what's the challenges I face when I take a look at the role I play in the BT Ireland organization for technology, and CT in particular, cost transformation in particular. It's worthwhile saying, you know who we are. So, BT Ireland is a part of BT group. BT group is the world's leading global communication service provider and we serve customers across 180 countries -security, cloud, networking services. BT Ireland, and that's a map of Ireland. 

Conor Patterson:We deliver integrated secure communications and IT services to both major multinational companies, and also to our indigenous local exporters and wholesaling and other communication companies. So interestingly, we're a bit like the BT Ireland organization,it's kind of like a Mini BT. We service everything from the consumer on the left of that slide through to the multinationals and everything in between. 

Conor Patterson:Okay, so if you click on there for a second. So we have quite a broad range, the service and that gets complex if you go to the next slide.

Conor Patterson: So this is our BT Ireland strategy. Key to the strategy is the transformation piece, and we, one of my key roles is to invest, is to run the investments to make sure that we invest in the right business process tools and technologies to drive the business and to do that digitally so that we get our return on investments and also deliver a good customer experience as well because they're intrinsically linked. Okay, I won't focus on the rest of that slide because Ibrahim, I think, did a lot on it.

Conor Patterson: Okay, here we go. 

Conor Patterson: If I take a look at what a key part of my role is. It is delivering the strategy for the technology and the strategy for the company.

Conor Patterson: We have a technology strategy that says consume cloud and SaaS as a commodity which is counterintuitive and then build for competitive advantage.

Conor Patterson: And by what we mean is that it’s a fantastic cloud offerings out there, and some of them if you click on there.

Conor Patterson: Yep. I was just going to. I was actually going to steal Mark Bainov's quote.

Conor Patterson: The cloud is for some things, but not everything. And that cloud is for everybody, but not everything. Okay. So in the appropriate way, we've sat back and taken a look at our business requirements out to the future what our cost base is. 

Conor Patterson: And we've implemented our strategy of consuming clouds where appropriate. But then building on cloud native technology for our competitive advantage. That's like there, really, I kind of gave the overview already, team. So apologies. So in BT Ireland, that's me.

Conor Patterson: And I'm not here to reason for the money box with an X. I'm not here to sell. I'm here sharing my experiences and the key at the bottom of it is - as I run our business and from technology, our technology strategy needs to be front and center of the business strategy and key to that is digital transformation and how we harness and capture technology to drive the business forward.

Conor Patterson: Okay, if you so, what sorry, go back there for a second. 

Conor Patterson:If you take a look at and very important for us is, and why do I imagine there's quite an amount of technology for people serving technology units - IT units CIOs CTOs on the call, right? So I guess the question is, why does a technology team exist? Why do we exist? Why, what's the reason we swing our legs out of bed in the morning?

Conor Patterson: And the reason is to drive the strategic investments to deliver growth and optimization, optimization being the cost transformation purpose of this, today. So that covers everything from software engineering in life, IT operations, end to end architecture, you know. In my own case, it covers data centers, and we have the luxury of owning data centers, security and compliance. And our digital transformation is the vehicle for growing our top line, reducing our bottom line and giving a great digital experience to both customer and colleague.

Conor Patterson: So if we go on to the next slide.

Conor Patterson: Thanks very much. One of the things that causes confusion amongst people is that people talk about Cloud, and on the left-hand side (of the slide), I did this slide up right on the left-hand side - what you see is the alphabet soup and it means different things to different people. Even some of the acronyms, you know, the starting letter can mean different things, platform as a service provider, as a service.

Conor Patterson:And ultimately I tend to take a look at what the characteristics of Cloud are, and wider of value to us. I'll be coming to the benefits and the risks and the rewards, of both of those in a short while.

Conor Patterson: Before you think about going to Cloud to drive any CT or indeed to drive any customer experience, benefits and/or growth or new solution’s benefits, you need to understand what the features of it are, right? And a lot of folks will know, but it's worth getting into the front of your head. You have it's not your own. You need to be able to scale rapidly, to drive growth, and also to turn down rapidly.

Conor Patterson: You need to be able to rely on when and what will happen with SLAs.

Conor Patterson: You're sharing resources, but that can give you the opportunity for utility-based, and it thus in turn and on-demand self-service.

Conor Patterson: The key feature of most Cloud, and be it private or public, is network access on demand, and being able to get access to the network.

Conor Patterson: Now, you'll have to sit with me in the dark apologies.

Conor Patterson: And you can then security… and one of the one of the points is securing the cloud is very different than securing your corporate network, in the old world all your corporate network is inside your fireworks. Now, securing the cloud is different.

Conor Patterson: Okay. If you move on. Changing the role as CIO CTO, head of IT, digital IT, doesn't matter, whatever you want to call it, you can call it whatever.

Conor Patterson: So there's been a fundamental evolution of the role of the CIO and CTO, and in the old days, it was much more tactical implementation.

Conor Patterson: Now it's a key strategic leader, and in the past you're much more back office, and we're only at the C-Suite conversations. If something had gone wrong, if systems were down and honestly, we were seeing it as a cost-center. Now the head of the head of technology is seen as front and center- as central to the business strategy. That's a fundamental change.

Conor Patterson: We're driving those investments in technology to enable the business and drive the business strategy. And that's top line and bottom line and the cost transformation of the bank for books - it's really important on that.

Conor Patterson: So this is driven by them. There is a recognition that technology is disrupting industries and businesses, and it is. It is disrupting it. And the opportunity for new business models, products, services, are all enabled by technology, and the businesses expect us and technology, and to be able to drive the cost base down, but also drive the revenue and growth up, at the same time delivering a modern customer experience. 

Conor Patterson: So there's now a real urgency across most C-suites, and quite a lot of this, the technology CIO CTO roles now sit on the C-suites rather than reporting into it. But there's an urgency at the C-suite to bring the technology strategy front and center and underpin the business strategy.

Conor Patterson: And you must have it. And another phrase I use is, you have to be able to draw a tangible line between investments and value creation. And I'll say that again, because earlier I was talking about, you know, consuming Cloud as a commodity, despite all the great innovations that Cloud providers do, so you consume it as a commodity, not compete with them. And build for yourself for competitive advantage where you've got a tangible niche.

Conor Patterson: But to be able to show that tangible line between investments in value creation and all the while for the leaders, the business leaders across here who are responsible for all the CT caused transformation. You need to be able to communicate those complex messages.

Conor Patterson: On business strategy and the end-to-end journey, and then pivot and negotiate the day-to-day highly technical stuff as well. So you need to be able to talk to both, or you won't land those key messages around them, around cost transformation. What's the challenges we face? So first, one is digital transformation.

Conor Patterson: Right? So digital transformation, growth, cost control, you know, digitally disruptive technology for customers and colleagues. It is also the biggest opportunity.

Conor Patterson: So companies must drive their digital transformation. They will be left behind if you don't. So you need to get on a journey, or you'll be casted out of it right?

Conor Patterson: The journey from legacy to tech platforms driving

Conor Patterson: the need to maintain hybrid technology environments and strategy. So our strategy is to consume the Cloud. As I said, and then to build, to build out on the Cloud native self-built technologies more enough shortly.

Conor Patterson: And so, the security, the risks of it. In the old days and in the current days quite an amount for data is actually inside our own perimeter, and the costs associated with security breach are eye watering, you know.

Conor Patterson: You know, your regulatory breach. It's you know, I'll touch wood! 
It really is scary. It can be a percentage of your overall group earnings, and it can get bad. So cyber security, the risks get greater exponentially every day, and it doesn't matter if it's the hacker in the attic or a nation stage, invest in the best technology and the best talent and stay secure, and you know, in our world, in terms of protecting, protecting our reputation, our brand and our revenue is a daily a dose of a healthy humility to realize the past is not always the future as well. Lastly, is talent attraction, and the ability to be able to secure, to be able to do transformations, to control your costs and grow your future. 

Conor Patterson:Okay. So, now business imperatives to transform. I've already said it right, you know. End of service life, manual processing, silo fulfillment, bad customer experience often by a hero where you wear a badge, and you've done great, as great people supplement for it.

Conor Patterson: Inside of my world in BT, the Cloud, we have the challenge and the luxury of having a BT as a really large multinational. And we have a thing called the Digital Way, it allows us to consume the Cloud, and you can see them on the slide. It's all the ones you'd use normally, but we can use them from an internal point of view. Okay?

Conor Patterson: If you go down to an example. So, the challenge where we were looking to build our competitive advantage. We'd done a bunch of work around consuming the Cloud, we migrated off and reduced our costs greatly by migrating for ticketing systems to ServiceNow, for our financial systems heading towards SAP, for our sales systems heading toward Salesforce and plus retiring our shadow IT reducing our risk, reducing our cost base, and increasing our customer experience.

Conor Patterson: Before we built our competitive advantage, some of the challenges we had was that we had siloed, end of the service life, we got cost and productivity. We wanted to build out our niche, which was our aggregation stack 
Conor Patterson: Basically, we take together quite an amount..we're one of the largest broadband providers in the country, but we don't want any access, and that's it. That's a thing for those that aren't involved in telecommunications. And we aggregated together like a good aggregation site. Older technology, we wanted to make it new. But we transferred our entire base on it, we owned data centers, we had a network. It's something that we're able to do.

Conor Patterson: The lights have a mind of their own. 

Conor Patterson:And so what did we do? We took the option to and to build and to build out our own private Cloud we could have gone with any of the hyperscalers, Clouds, but we chose to build our own one, and we reduced our OpEx. 

Conor Patterson: And a little bit about Cloud, and I'll talk about it in a second. Cloud is not the answer to everything, because multi Cloud and ex and ingress, and egress from Cloud, it's costly if you're not with a single provider. But what we did was we built out our own private Cloud and a platform on top of it. We reduced our OpEx, automated 99.8% of everything, and we consumed our own software and platform on that. 

Conor Patterson: If you take a look at the diva. What's diva? Right? It's 2 things. It's whatever diva is Mariah Carey or any of the famous singers. But it also stands for us for something called Domestic Ireland Value Architecture. And that is the name we use for our bespoke proprietary platform that we built, and it was a platform first approach based on Cloud native technology. This is where Bounteous x Accolite have come in and they're fantastic partners with us on this.

Conor Patterson: So we deliberately chose cloud native, API-driven modern technology.

Conor Patterson: In order to be able to interact with Cloud, both internal and external, highly automate and future proof for both machine learning and AI as well. Okay, won't go too much into the technology front. That allows us to be able to consume and share out and service, our domestic wholesale, our domestic broadband market, and be the market leaders in it, and to be able to give our customers the best in class experience.

Conor Patterson: This platform has been a big success for us. Servicing one of our largest customers in the country that we have. And okay, so that slide is gone. 

Conor Patterson: Am I timed out Ibru, or will I continue? Sanjeev? No?

Ibrahim Meeran: Conor, you can continue. 

Conor Patterson: Thank you. Okay. So if I go then? I'm not seeing the slide on this on the screen, but I'll just move on to a little bit about the slides here myself in prep. Thank you very much.

Conor Patterson: So the benefits of moving to Cloud are all the obvious ones. It's scalable, it's accessible,you can treat it as a commodity and becoming a data-driven organization is the key. Because once you get the insights, that's where your top line and your bottom line are impacted. If you are able to take a look and see that you become data driven as opposed to opinion driven, right? Lots of people have opinions, and so for us it is also a key. And this is again, where it frees up the oxygen for me and my organization to not have to spend time building what Cloud providers would be better with. We consume the innovation they do, and put our oxygen, our time or effort towards where we have a niche and value add, and that that talks to the benefit of the DIVA stack and the coffee stack I just spoke of before.

Conor Patterson: So that was really really important, and it allows us to be able to consume all of the on-demand self-service and sometimes lower cost of ownership. Not always, okay? So if you go to the last segment there.

Conor Patterson: I've got what's the things to watch out for on Cloud. Okay?

Conor Patterson: So for me, it's the hidden costs, right? If anyone's ever got a bill from a Cloud provider, it's great when you're all on one. But if you're in a multi Cloud, that's a challenge. Getting the right skills to develop on the Cloud and particularly if you're across a multi Cloud environment, its a real challenge.

Conor Patterson: Data modeling, especially even if it's not legacy, even if it's across the different main multi Cloud providers that the data modeling can become a challenge and vendor dependency,and that's where you get into watching your cost base. 

Conor Patterson: Another one, I would say on that, is shadow IT. One of the dangers is enabled- shadow IT and the cost of shadow, it needs to be really, really watched out for. 

Conor Patterson:Okay. So if I was to pause, and before I finish out in a demo, just say that you know, for me one of the key things that we've been through on this has been that strategy of consuming Cloud for commodity, and not allowing a deviation from that. But then building, or say, a core strategy of ours is to focus on our core activities but then, partner with people who are really really good and organizations that are really good to help us with the build, typically the build piece, not the security. And that's what we've done with Bounteous x Accolite and it's been a pretty big success. 

Conor Patterson: I think I've probably spoken for long enough and I will pause there.

Ibrahim Meeran: Thanks, thanks, Conor. I think it's a great summary. I think it's good to hear out saying that I think ‘Consume the Cloud’ is the mantra that you have said, but also make a constant decision that you feel you are better off by building your own private Cloud and go and do it as well. So it's not always hyper scale. So that's great to know. And I think some of the challenges that you have seen. It is great that we are thinking on similar lines.

Ibrahim Meeran: Thanks a lot for that for your time, Conor. Now we'll pass it down to Sanjeev. So let's have Sanjeev come in and talk through how from the partner side, he's helping out address these challenges for customers like Conor. Sanjeev over to you, please.

Sanjeev Kumar: Thank you, Ibrahim. Thank you, Conor, for that great summary. It's been a fantastic journey with you. And as part of the digital transformation in BT Ireland, 2 things stood out for me. From what you've shared, one Cloud is not for everyone or everything. Be careful about where you put Cloud, or how you put Cloud.

Sanjeev Kumar: And also, I think, something you mentioned right at the beginning - not at the cost of customer experience. So Cloud is not an answer for everything, or, for that matter, cost transformation. Look at customers and how you drive customer experience. And then the cost transformation out of it.

Sanjeev Kumar: So I'm gonna cover in just couple of slides on how we at Bounteous x Accolite, look at cost transformation as a subject in terms of how we look at the framework to follow and also couple of case studies beyond BT Ireland on where we've been able to successfully drive cost transmission. 

Sanjeev Kumar: In terms of the framework, I think we say everyone has got a framework. We've got a framework as well and it is slightly better. 2 things stand out from our framework. One is, we look at value creation. How do we articulate the value of each and every granular step as part of the transformation and that's the single most important element which helps us being focused on the transformation and making sure we deliver to the customer objectives.

Sanjeev Kumar: The second is, and this is, I think, been an amazing journey along with Conor and team. What is the culture of collaboration and others as well as joint working with the customer?

Sanjeev Kumar: Because I don't think a partner can deliver the objectives on its own. It needs to be tied in very jointly and very collaboratively with the customer. And what we also look at is what is the return on investment on each of the initiatives we take as part of the cost transmission. 

Sanjeev Kumar: It's quite a, in fact, more often than not, we tend to define a large business case which has lots of dollar values associated with it. But 6 months down the line, those dollar values are kind of on the side, on the side burner and then you continue to drive through a lot of the technology part. 

Sanjeev Kumar: So what we continue to focus on is what's the value of each of the initiatives on a consistent basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis which helps us being focused on the output of the transformation.

Sanjeev Kumar: Just 2 other things here, one, we also drive what we call a short circuited way of delivering transformation, which means, what can we deliver quickly enough within 3 months typically. More likely 6 months, which can show the value to a lot of the business users so they can buy into the idea of transformation and be tagging along with it.

Sanjeev Kumar: So this is from a framework perspective.

Sanjeev Kumar: If you go to the next slide, Ibrahim.

Sanjeev Kumar: These are the areas we look at as part of the cost transformation. Now cost transformation, as Ibrahim called out, is a wide topic.

Sanjeev Kumar: I think Conor has covered one angle of it, or one tranche of it in particular, how cloud helps us in the cost transformation. The other angle which is linked through Cloud but more on legacy transformation I want to cover as part of a case-studies - how do we move some of the legacy applications, and this could be products from other companies, to the cloud, in a much more accelerated fashion.

Sanjeev Kumar: So one example, there is for one of our North American telecom service providers. We looked at an e-commerce product they were using for their B2B segment and they had some classic issues with the product being a very old or legacy product, high cost in terms of license and the time to market was typically 6 months. Every change to the product will take at least 6 months or more. 

Sanjeev Kumar: So what we did there was, we did a 4 weeks analysis of what are the options available for us, and you can go for traditional options, replace the product with a new age product and then drive the transformation through that. But we took a slightly different route there and we actually built the whole ecommerce product on the cloud, on open source technologies in 7 months and went live.

Sanjeev Kumar: It was quite transformative for the client because not many clients take that, let's say, leap of faith to go for building at full e-commerce capability end-to-end the complete omni-channel capability on the cloud, fully open source. And that's something we were able to deliver in 7 months, and then went live in 9 months, it allowed the client to reduce their time to market from typically 6 months to around 4 to 6 weeks.

Sanjeev Kumar: Also, there's no license fees, because it's fully on the cloud. Obviously there's a cloud cost, but there is no product licensing cost. And most importantly, it allowed the client to simplify
the complete IT architecture. So now, in fact, we are still engaged with the client to see how more and more of the capabilities from the complete BSS order management layer, would be built on a similar architecture and put it on the Cloud. 

Sanjeev Kumar: That's one example and one another quickly for a telecom product company, where we built an OSS platform again, fully open source on the Cloud using IoT devices. 

Sanjeev Kumar:And this is a telecom product vendor or network product vendor who has a lot of network devices in the North American region. And what we built is an OSS platform using IoT devices which allow us to capture all of the information about these sites in terms of whether they are up or down, or if there are any alarms going around. Through the IoT devices into a centralized OSS platform, we were able to visualize and link it to the workforce management system if there is an alarm which actually needs monitoring on it or a site visit to look at the problem, the complete platform is integrated with the Workforce Management System. 

Sanjeev Kumar: So through these couple of examples, what you will see is we are seeing a lot more of Cloud as an infrastructure being used for moving legacy applications to new age applications. But, more importantly, using open source technologies to transform a lot of the legacy products and accelerate time to market for those.

Sanjeev Kumar: I'll just take a pause, Ibrahim, here.

Ibrahim Meeran: Great thanks. Thanks. Sanjeev for the insight. I think it's great to see again, we are not taking the buys, we're looking at the pros and cons of adopting Cloud and adopting buy versus build in this example that you've quoted. That's a great story.

Ibrahim Meeran: Thanks. Thanks. Sanjeev for your inputs.

Ibrahim Meeran: I think. In terms of the topics per se. I think we're probably done with the statements from both Conor and Sanjeev, I think now the floor is open for anyone from the audience to ask questions to both Conor and Sanjeev.

Ibrahim Meeran: Before we open the floor for the other audience, I've got a question that I would want to ask both of you. I think I'll get different answers from both of you, based on the perspectives. 

Ibrahim Meeran: I think we talked about the challenges, we talked about how we’ve overcome those challenges both as an operator as well as from a partner perspective. But in that journey, Conor and Sanjeev, I would like to understand what are the key challenges that you have faced while well, you are on a path to transform the cost.

Ibrahim Meeran: One in terms of challenges. The two, what are the key learnings as well. So that will be useful for the audience as well, too, while they embark on this journey. So, Conor, if we can start with you, please.

Conor Patterson: The challenges. Yeah Sure.

Conor Patterson: Well, have you got an hour or two? How long?

Ibrahim Meeran: I will try to limit to 3 min if that's okay?

Conor Patterson: Look as a telco one of the key things of telcos is that we need, in order to survive and grow out - there's huge capital costs associated with being a telco. The journey from Telco to Tech-co is something that we've been openly aspirational about, okay?

Conor Patterson: To do that, the challenges are not the learnings and the challenges fall into the buckets. Actually, not as much about technology, but more about principles. Right? You need to set the principles of what and your goals are early and communicate and you need to engage in the journey we've gone through in terms of digital transformation with the view to optimize our business. And it's engaged our whole business on any major program, and to relentlessly communicate that you need to set the bar high. 

Conor Patterson: Conversely, you also need to get really good people that are core to your organization and put them in positions where you give them autonomy, and you give them accountability. Right? You stand by them, but you find a good partner.

Conor Patterson: And this isn't the script. This isn't scripted. You find a good partner to work with, and I don't mean, you know, not a service provider, but a partner that you work together with.

Conor Patterson: And that is a healthy bouncing backwards and forwards between. And I do believe we got that with Accolite. And celebrate more. Celebrate. Make sure that you, as each of the successes come along, you need to communicate and celebrate it, because that's one of the challenges that happens. When you're trying to transform, culture is very hard to transform. What I found the big challenge is, people will say they don't want to. 

Conor Patterson:Oh, we don't like this tooling, this manual end of service life, human bridge, type, activity. And then, when you try to bring it away from them. They're like, we don't want this new thing, you know, even though it's better. So it really does come around with bringing, getting a culture of engaged change as opposed to enforcing it on to people. And you do that with the right partners and bringing the business with you.

Ibrahim Meeran: Great thanks, thanks man, that's right. Really, useful. Sanjeev over to you, please.

Sanjeev Kumar: Yeah, Ibrahim, I think one common topic or common theme which Conor has already alluded to is the culture of engagement or collaboration which I think he's mentioned couple of times, is probably the thing which drives the whole transformation, because in every transformation there will be challenges, and you go through a journey of success and some failures, and then you have to continue to kind of push through. 

Sanjeev Kumar: So I think we, as a partner also feel wherever we've been able to engage well with the customer where there's a collaboration culture, as we saw in BT Ireland, we've been able to deliver very well, jointly with the customer.

Sanjeev Kumar: 2 other things are important, I think we've talked about Telco being a TechCo - the technology has moved really fast. That's how I gave the example of building an ecommerce on the Cloud in 7 months.

Sanjeev Kumar: It's possible now. We’ve done it,right? So a lot of the time. The CIOs or the CTOs tend to take simpler and easier decisions, proven decisions. But I think it's also now time to be more aggressive and take that leap of faith that you can build a lot of the solutions, especially front end solutions, a lot more quickly onto the Cloud on open source. 

Sanjeev Kumar: And the last part, I would say is, there is Uber, I mean..Uber has been around for like many years now, right. There's tons of platforms which could be created in the telecom space. As Conor alluded to DIVA.

Sanjeev Kumar: DIVA is a platform, which is like a low -code platform which allows you to kind of serve customers, you know, in a very easy and in an extendable way.

Sanjeev Kumar: Again. That's the leap of faith which I think Conor took. It's very easy to build those, maybe not easy, but I think it's relatively easy now to build those and go live with those. And I think the onus is on a lot of the tech organizations, to be more aggressive with what they can do with technology.

Ibrahim Meeran: Good. Yeah.

Ibrahim Meeran: Great thanks, Sanjeev. I think the statement is, be bold. Don't try the tested model. Be bold, have faith and then get people on board not only from technology, but get the business together in the journey from the start. So that you see the success of the transformation? That's great. Yeah.

Ibrahim Meeran: The other question that I've got is, I think it's probably for Conor.

Conor Patterson: How I mean, we talked about cost transformation. We talked about the challenges,  the learning. But how are you measuring that you have achieved success in your transformation? You have a framework. How do you achieve this? I'm sure this is a question your boss will be asking you, Conor. 

Conor Patterson: My CFO! Look, there's obvious ways, which is money. Right? That's one way, okay? But it's only one way. 
But if you take a look at what the benefits, realizations that you have and that they're built out, you know, you need to, part of being on the journey is frequently the benefits of transformation aren't received and aren't realized in the first year so you need the support of the business and the senior leadership team to bring you on that journey that you know we talk about the outer years over what we call the midterm planning, which is 5 year period. You might see some of the benefits of these things happening for a couple of years, and to bring that with. But the measures are, of course, you know, cost reduction, growth targets agreed, and reduction of shadow IT. 

Conor Patterson: In other words, a number of systems shutdown and typically speaking, and it could be, it could be an efficiency measure as well in terms of right first time for customers and number of headcount. Frankly, that's one of the ways you've got OpEx and CapEx costs, and you take the total cost of ownership out to other years. 

Conor Patterson: There are other measures of success like I alluded to - is top line, but is your pace to market and quality of new products and services to become earlier engagement in the marketplace, thus winning and right at the center of everything we try and do we drive and Sanjeev alluded to? It is customer experience, and when I say customer, I mean internal customer and external customer.

Conor Patterson: And if your transformation program is seen as a driver for a customer experience program that's a virtuous circle. And that's what we do here. We have a really good..we use something called deep insights, MPS, it's a score that we measure our customers experience, and we measure our staff’s and experience internally as well. And what we do is always has to drive out growth, optimization or customer and colleague experience.

Ibrahim Meeran: Great thanks. Thanks for that. Quite useful. I think one of the questions from the audience -  I think we talked about cost transformation for moving applications onto Cloud or build our own private Cloud. But do we also need to look at monetizing some of the code or some of the techniques that we are building and start monetizing it. I think that's another angle, that's the question Conor, Sanjeev.

Conor Patterson:  Yeah. Sorry. 

Ibrahim Meeran: So who would want to go? First place? Yeah.

Sanjeev Kumar: Go ahead Conor.

Conor Patterson: I think it actually talks back to the mindset of when you take a look at the you know, if I talk in a Telco world quite often, telco world is by it's very nature, because it's fixed line. It can be slow moving, high capital and costs. And you know we have the aspirations to diversify our service offerings to more up to stack rather than cables in the ground.

Conor Patterson: And one of the things that we and BT we want to do and look at doing, and you know, is, if you come up with a new product or service that's not always visible only to servicing our internal staff. If there's a new platform or a new product or service that can be also commercialized, then I think that's the new type of thinking that should be happening with businesses. And we should all wear those hats.

Ibrahim Meeran: Sure, thanks. Anything. Would you like to add something on top of that.

Sanjeev Kumar: Maybe just briefly that if I extend what Connor said, look at it - as a platform approach right? How do we build micro capabilities within a platform which helps you, for example, create or extend your services to your partners or connect to the payment gateways? So look at the whole platform as a set of micro capabilities and each of the micro capabilities can be monetized in this day and age.

Conor Patterson: Yeah. And I agree, I think the platform approach rather than a product approach. I had absolutely a nail on the head. The platform has three features, it’s instant, it's free, and what you can do is with a platform. First approach it's you always get a perfect answer as well. Right? So it's instant, perfect and free. And you get a platform right? Adding and removing products is a low cost, no cost type of thing to do.

Conor Patterson: You know, Digital products can be amended and moved along. And if it's sold at volume, it really is. So I'm a big believer in a platform. First approach because of the 3 features of it that are really, you know. So, man, that's one of the things we're trying to build out when I talk about our approach towards, we working with Bounteous x Accolite, towards a build for competitive advantage - build a platform.

Ibrahim Meeran: Great thanks, thanks a lot. I think it's been a really good session. I know we're running short of time. Few questions are coming up.

Ibrahim Meeran: This is a recorded session. So for people on the call where you’ve passed questions you haven't got the answers, we will look at the questions offline. We'll get back to you. And yeah, thanks a lot everyone joining us. And thanks a lot. Conor and Sanjeev taking time to come and discuss this important topic. I hope the audience has got a few insights to take back and start their own journeys.

Conor Patterson: Thank you for the invoice and thanks for everything you're doing with us.

Ibrahim Meeran: Yeah, thanks a lot. Thanks everyone.

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