BT Global Services is the fast-growing global service provider arm of BT plc that helps multi-site organisations master the complexity of business communication. Working closely with its multi-site corporate customers, BT Global Services aims to deliver inspirational results which fulfil their business needs and exploit their untapped potential.
The company strives to be the partner of choice for creative, valued and reliable communication services and solutions.
They operate from 20,000 global locations and have built and managed some of the largest, most complex and most reliable ICT networks in the world. BT has invested €451 million alone in developing the broadest digital network in Europe.
Over 10,000 multi-site organisations worldwide, of which 3,400 are multinational companies, trust BT with their communication requirements. Customers include:
Meticulous management of its own communications with its global customer-base is a critical component of the BT service. The company actively seeks out world-class partners that can provide tools which add value to BT’s customer relationships and contribute to the continuous improvement of its services.
Communicating effectively with multi-national, multi-sited businesses presents a challenge for any organisation. When your business relationships are subject to tightly defined Service Level Agreements and you have a reputation as a foremost provider of communication services you must be able to support your customers with the very best world-class systems.
BT Global Services was looking to enhance customer communications by sharing information with its customers at every stage of the contract negotiation over a secure extranet.
BT wanted its customers to share information as it was developed and to have access to a full audit trail of changes over time. This would deliver true transparency, build customer confidence and underpin the BT customer experience.
Tariq Bajwa, Head of the Customer Management Platform at BT said:
"We are constantly looking for new ways to keep customers informed. We wanted customers to be able to track the progress of the contract and see all the associated documents at a glance via their standard browser on the desktop."
After a lengthy trawl of the marketplace, Tariq selected EQMS and purchased licences for eight systems. These systems were then installed on BT’s secure web server platform and allocated to their largest corporate clients.
Tariq continued, “We needed a fully web-based robust toolset – any client-facing solution had to be reliable. We also needed functionality that would enable us to display compliance with the customer’s service level agreement; the customer wants evidence that we are reviewing and updating information in line with contractual commitments and we want systems that will prompt timely action.
Importantly, we needed a flexible approach to licensing. We wanted to make information as widely available as the customer might require – and some of our customers have lots of people! Because the Qualsys solution is web-based, our customers can use the software without complex integration issues. It has a similar feel to Windows Explorer and can be used following a few basic instructions: in most cases, little or no training has been needed.”
A number of large US vendors’ products were discounted on the basis of complexity and cost: “The user interface had to be simple to use whilst offering the sophistication required by the system’s administrators. The EQMS product offered the best value for money functionality” said Tariq.
The solution provides a repository for all types of computer files and applications, and has allowed BT and their customers to load existing documentation in common formats (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc) and rich media (video and audio). A hierarchical navigational structure allows authorised users to browse relevant, ‘live’ documents, and the search engine permits detailed search on the content of the repository.
The system incorporates document control and approval, versioning and archiving functionality. Definitive versions of files are accessible to BT and client end-users, but only BT staff with appropriate administrative permissions can make alterations. Security controls allow contract team administrators to tailor the view of content down to an individual user level if necessary.
Additional functionality automates review and approval, prompting action by email and system messages. This means that BT review content in line with SLAs and updated material is only released by the system once it has been signed off by appropriate Managers.
Members of staff at BT and the client are notified of the release of critical content and are asked to record their acknowledgement. The EQMS database maintains comprehensive audit trails of all system activity, relieving BT contract teams of much of the administrative effort that is typically required to support the client relationship.
Rob Oakley, Commercial Director at Qualsys:
"EQMS systems were successfully deployed and immediately attracted positive customer comment. Extra EQMS systems were subsequently provided to 50 of BT's largest accounts, such as Unilever, on BT’s secure extranet platform. And in the last 12 months BT and Qualsys have begun the implementation of 500 systems on a virtual server platform."
The deployment of EQMS systems to BT’s customers is entirely consistent with BT’s vision of providing its customers with a range of integrated web services from a virtualised platform. BT is moving relentlessly towards the Web21C vision of flexible on-demand infrastructure, easy to assemble applications, and re-usable capabilities.
The success of the BT EQMS systems prompted Qualsys to consider alternative business models for its EQMS solution, and the result has been the EQMS web service. Robert Oakley, commented, “The success of our EQMS software deployed on BT’s virtual server platform has confirmed our belief that there is a growing requirement for on-demand web services.”
Organisations need to make information readily available to staff, business partners and customers irrespective of their location. At the same time this information has to be accurate with a verifiable audit trail of change to guarantee regulatory, contractual and standards compliance.
Functionality has always been critical to alleviate this administrative burden. The IT infrastructure often serves only to delay or hinder delivery of this functionality – hardware needs purchasing, operating systems need configuring and support staff are an unavoidable overhead.
Offering clients a web service takes away the headache and cost of managing IT infrastructure. In BT, Qualsys has not only a valued customer but also the perfect partner to provide the hosting service. The on-demand web service is now available to customers using a best-of-breed hosting platform supported by BT experts. “Our web service customers can have complete confidence that their content and data is professionally managed, totally secure and always available”, said Oakley.