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BT Newsbyte
BT's quarterly newsletter for analysts, consultants and investors - Issue 33 - March 2014

BT Wholesale hosted communications

By Mark Timmermans, director of portfolio development, BT Wholesale

21CN - CardiffIn order to achieve our ambition of being the 'wholesaler of choice', we have been investing in becoming a more customer focused business across the board. As part of this, BT Wholesale launched a major Hosted Communications Services (HCS) campaign to show customers how we can support them in their own growth ambitions.

HCS is a portfolio of products and services - including SIP trunking, Hosted IP Centrex, hosted contact centres and inbound calls - giving customers a wide range of flexible, converged services, all from a single supplier.

An integrated online and offline campaign reinforces the message that we can help customers grow their business in new and sustainable ways.

This is the first time that we have taken products to market in this way and the response we've had from customers has been unprecedented. The high numbers and the breadth and diversity of those who attended the launch shows there is a real appetite in the market – and an eagerness to engage with us.

Change of approach

Customers are recognising that BT Wholesale is changing its approach and has a strong focus on helping them to make money in the hosted market. Our focus now must be on applying the feedback we're getting from customers and mobilising across the business in sales, products and service to deliver the benefits HCS promises for customers.

Customers looking for hosted communications are generally at the start of a journey in their strategic development, and we have the collective opportunity to take them on the road, whilst securing sustainable, predictable and margin-rich business. Most enter that journey at step one, looking for ways to manage and reduce telephony costs, inspired by the promise of the cloud.

Beyond this, they typically start to look at ways to build on and apply their investment to IT efficiency, increasing employee productivity (through enabling mobility and collaboration, for example) and improving business agility by integrating apps, processes and communications.

With the right proposition, becoming a trusted provider of hosted communications gives communications providers the opportunity to secure a more predictable margin over 24-36 month contracts.

While some channel customers are happy to build their own capabilities, we are seeing significant demand from those keen to enter the IP space but who are unsure whether to invest in hosted communications platforms given the pace of change in the market.

BT Wholesale is committed to being the 'wholesaler of choice' for customers. We know that achieving this in the challenging world of hosted communications requires a change in approach if we're to help our customers achieve their goals. Backed by our expert consultancy, we're increasingly adopting a 'sell through' model and, by working closely with our channel customers, we are improving our knowledge of what it will take to win SME customers. This powerful mix is the perfect combination for in-depth discussions leading to practical and future-proofed solutions that can be implemented, used, maintained and developed successfully.

It's all about understanding their business drivers and together establishing a more 'sticky' SME customer solution. It feels right. Our customers are responding enthusiastically to this collaborative approach, keen to work with us to jointly agree 'the' solution that will win 'the' contract. We have a formidable platform in the form of integrated access, but we know we must work in this way to maximise its potential moving forward. We've designed our hosted communications services to offer the flexibility for the channel to sell something that's exactly the right fit for the end customer, whether at step one or step four of their journey to IP.