Keeping the UK connected

Like business, technology never stands still. A mere 20 years ago, mobile phones, email and the internet were still in their infancy and the Cloud was something that ruined a perfect summer's day. Business Network talked to Sarah Walker, BT Enterprise Business Director for the Midlands and the North of England, about the fast-changing telecoms landscape and how it is helping to create a fully connected global marketplace.

Telecoms has come a long way in a short space of time. It’s hard to believe that just over 20 years ago, landline telephones and post were the main ways people kept in touch and the fax machine was a staple in every workplace up and down the country. Fast forward to today and the internet, broadband

technology and smart devices have transformed not only the way we do business, but also the way we live our lives. Society is now 24/7. Information is in our pockets and at

our fingertips and we can connect, anywhere in the world, with just a swipe or a click. BT, one of the UK’s best-known businesses, has been at

the forefront of driving this change, by helping to develop and rollout the technologies that businesses and consumers alike need to harness the potential opportunities that digital brings. Sarah Walker has seen plenty of changes, both to the

technology landscape and to BT itself, over the two-and-a- bit decades she’s been with the company. She started working at BT, in sales, in September 1997, and has worked her way up through the organisation in various roles, firstly in account management and then in senior management for the past 15 years. She was appointed Head of Sales for BT Corporate Mid

Market in 2015 and a year later, as Sales Director of Major Corporate Accounts and Business Development, looking after the biggest 350 organisations within the UK, supporting them in all their telecommunications and IT needs. She was recently appointed as the Director for Corporate

and Public Sector for the North and Midlands, meaning she still has responsibility for all major customers within that region, but also now looks after all corporate organisations and local government and health. The scale of change she has seen has been rapid, and a

far cry from the start of her career: “I started at a time when we didn't even have an email on our desktop,” she said.

“My first job in BT was in one of the contact centres

selling analogue mobile, which is probably the most difficult job I've ever had, because mobile was definitely not as prevalent in society as it is today. There were so many sceptics that I encountered in that role. “BT was a completely different organisation back then.

It's been fascinating to see how, over the past 20 years, we have not only started to embrace the technology we're putting out to our customers, but we’re also learning to adapt and transform, in many cases, at the same rate as our customers. “And I've seen some major changes to technology during

my time with BT. The launch of GSM (the Global System for Mobile Communications) was exciting. I was privy to the 3G licensing and the launch of broadband and MPLS so I have

56 business network April 2020

BT's Enterprise Business works with both private and public sector organisations

seen at first-hand how much technology has evolved, and I've been quite privileged to be at the forefront of a number of those launches within BT.” BT is one of the world's leading communication

companies. It develops and sells communication products and services and builds and operates networks that are essential to businesses and communities. It is also a truly global organisation, providing products

and services across 180 countries around the world. BT’s Enterprise Business, in which Sarah leads the

Corporate and Public Sector region, sells communications and IT services to around about 1.2 million businesses and public sector organisations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It also provides network products to more than 1,400

communications providers, as well as services to media companies and broadcasters. “Our Enterprise customer base is really broad,” said

Sarah. “From big household names to Government departments, public service organisations right through to small businesses and start-ups. “Overall, as a unit we focus on four key product markets

‘Our overarching goal is to drive sustainable growth in value for enterprise businesses in the UK. Our markets are transitioning, but they are still based on a universal requirement to connect and communicate’

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