What would Steve Jobs say about BT?By Garreth Fennell,
I was at an internal workshop the other day when I was reminded of an article that I read about Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997. When he got back he felt that there was too much going on. They were producing a random array of computers and peripherals, including a dozen different versions of the Macintosh. After a few weeks of product review sessions, he’d finally had enough.
Exasperated, he grabbed a marker, padded in his bare feet to a whiteboard, and drew a two-by-two grid. Atop the two columns, he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro.” He labelled the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable.” Their job, he told his team members, was to focus on four great products, one for each quadrant. All other products should be cancelled. There was a stunned silence. But by getting Apple to focus on making just four great computers, he saved the company.
I don’t think that Steve Jobs would challenge a company like BT to reduce our entire portfolio to just four products. Or maybe he would? But I do think that he would challenge us to prioritize. He would probably ask the question – if you could only do one thing, what would it be? For a company with a portfolio approach, like BT, that can be a difficult question to answer. As I thought about it I came up with one product that we were reviewing in our internal workshop, our Global WAN. It is that product that underpins our entire suite.
Key BT product
The Global WAN or IP Connect Global to call it by its product name came to mind for three reasons. Something we call the 3 R’s:
- Reputation: Independent analysts consistently endorse BT’s reputation in network services. In December 2014 Current Analysis confirmed BT as a leader in Global WANs. Also, Gartner ranked BT as leader in network services for the 11th successive year in January this year. So, the analysts recognise our Global WAN as exceptional.
- Reach: We have the greatest reach of all global network services companies. Current Analysis’ Global Network tracker rated BT number 1 for MPLS reach competitiveness. It’s something that we continue to invest in with reach to 198 countries. Multiple access options include fibre Ethernet, leased line, EFM, DSL, satellite, 3G and internet.
For many of our customers data centre connectivity is rapidly becoming a critical need. As cloud computing, and all things cloud, move forward at a feverish pace, connectivity between data centres is becoming a crucial enabler. It is a potential differentiator for service providers and allows customer agility in their business from C2M agility to cost efficiencies. BT’s Cloud Connect programme delivers 200 datacentres globally where BT’s own network exists. Plus 30 other cloud datacentres where BT has pre-built connectivity into 3rd party cloud services.
- Reliability: We are fanatical about ensuring uptime on our network. Our global core network is audited annually by external auditors and we happily share their audit certificate with customers when requested. There are stringent SLAs for network performance and service availability.
Once we’ve decided on our priority Steve would probably say, “Now make it exceptional”. I think my answer to Steve would be we already have, for all the reasons above. We just don’t shout about it enough.