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Sarah Walker, BT Enterprise Business Director for the North and Midlands with Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council Chief Executive


– fixed voice, which is probably what BT is most well known for, along with mobility, fibre and connectivity and networked IT services. “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. “In the next 12-to-24 months, we’ll be focusing on


continuing to develop our intelligent network in a way that truly differentiates us from our competitors, and enables our businesses to continue to be sympathetic to the needs that are emerging across the whole enterprise space to make our customers’ businesses simpler, leaner, more agile and, fundamentally, to deliver that great customer experience.” It was relatively early in Sarah’s career when she noticed


that businesses were waking up to the possibilities that emerging technology could bring and started adopting them. She said: “I think we had a turning point in the early


noughties, around 2000 to 2005, when businesses started to realise that technology and telecoms were no longer a commodity, they were a business enabler. “And as we saw the tools emerging that made


businesses more agile and efficient, firms started to show more interest in embracing technology to do business, rather than just viewing it as a utility to use to the bare minimum. “The things which created that tipping point were the introduction of broadband and high capacity fixed and


mobile networks, coupled with the advent of smartphones and Blackberry as email communication devices. This really started to change the way that businesses thought about the use of technology.” Although technology has evolved rapidly over the past


20 years, adoption has, to a degree, lagged. It’s only in the past five years that Cloud has really started


to take off in the UK and firms have started investing heavily in technologies that will help them to futureproof, rather than just keep the pace with their competitors. Skills and knowledge gaps are just two of the drivers


behind this. Sarah continued: “The UK can still be quite slow to adopt new technologies. Partly, that’s because it's not just about the technology itself, it’s about the digital skills that we have within organisations to ensure that they understand what benefits and value these new technologies bring. “So, we have two challenges. The first is digital skills and ensuring that businesses keep on top of that agenda within their own organisation, and to ensure they have the appropriate skills and development within their businesses to make sure that they’re at the forefront and maintaining that competitive edge through the individuals that are leading their IT strategies. “Secondly, organisations like BT are here to consult and


advise and we do an awful lot to enable and equip all of our enterprise customers to keep abreast of what's happening in the technology market and really understand the best ways to embrace technology relative to the businesses that they run.


business network April 2020 57


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