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Launching BT’s Visibility and Thought Leadership Program
Sterling was brought in to provide communications strategy and outreach for BT’s IT and operations business unit, BT Design. BT wanted to create awareness of the role it was playing in the remaking of BT from a traditional “climbing poles and digging holes” telephone company into a truly modern, global networked IT services company. In particular, BT wanted to highlight the innovative measures it was taking to become a more software-oriented, customer-centric company that delivered products in ever shorter cycles. But most importantly, BT wanted to be considered the telecommunications thought leader and a beacon for the rest of the industry.
As BT Design was still a primarily internal IT organization and BT’s other operating units owned the company’s customer relationships, Sterling would have to fashion a strategy that did not rely on some of the traditional tools of the PR trade. We wouldn’t have external customer wins or implementations to tout or specific products to promote. What BT Design did have, however, was a compelling story about how a company steeped in tradition would turn to an agent of change to completely remake the organizational structure, processes, priorities and even the basic way of thinking of its 20,000 person IT group. That agent of change was BT Group CIO Al-Noor Ramji.
Sterling helped change the perception of BT from a landline phone operator to a cutting-edge, 21st-century networked IT services vendor.
From the outset, Ramji envisioned a leaner IT organization that was more focused on and directly involved with BT’s customers. Ramji saw BT’s new all IP network as being analogous to a PC operating system. The network was the platform on which a new generation of applications would run; applications created both by BT and eventually by third parties. But to be successful, BT would have to operate more like a computer software company than a telephone company.
Sterling focused on identifying opportunities for Ramji and some of his key subordinates to speak at industry event and to provide contributed articles outlining the company’s vision. Sterling also identified numerous award opportunities for BT Design, for Ramji and for other members of BT Exact’s management team. In addition, Sterling won recognition for several of the company’s internal IT initiatives, such as its efforts to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of its data centers.