The Friday Interview: Tom Carson, BT

27 Oct 2006

The subject of this week’s interview is Tom Carson (pictured), who heads up BT’s networked IT services division across Ireland.

How important is broadband to business?

I see the availability of broadband for businesses as almost as much as a requirement as electricity is. The impact of broadband on business in general is the same as electricity was at the start of the industrial revolution.

Would you agree that not enough Irish businesses have access to broadband?

I would. The availability of cost-effective, efficient and high-quality broadband for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is vital and if it’s not available then it is an inhibitor preventing companies from having remote workforces and broadening their reach globally through e-commerce.

Voice over internet telephony (VoIP) is becoming more widely available. What impact will this have on businesses?

There is no doubt that VoIP is becoming the de facto standard for organisations, allowing them to control costs. But it is much more than that. It also sets the scene for collaborative working techniques and the use of wireless IP-enabled devices that drive the whole integration of voice, video and data onto common platforms.

Will Ireland be a part of this revolution?

It already is. We are seeing county councils already making use of advanced customer relationship management systems using voice, video and data. This fits in with our vision of the digital networked economy, a world where any device can communicate with any other device using any application.

Last year BT acquired BIC Systems and not long after it acquired the Cara Group to strengthen its IT services drive. How is this working out?

BT took a visionary approach to IT services and has married a strong IP services portfolio with IT services focused on the corporate, government and SME market. So far we reckon we serve 40pc of the overall market in Ireland, this includes 60pc of the Business & Finance Top 1000 and 90pc of the top 20 firms on the ISEQ index.

What issues do you think are on the average chief information officer’s (CIO) agenda right now?

Stability, predictability and scalability are on the agenda. For CIOs today there is a challenge associated with managing multi-supplier environments and this is an onerous overhead for most boardrooms. My vision is to create an organisation to foster the management of these complex environments north and south of this island.

By John Kennedy

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