Social networking joins up BT

Social networking joins up BT

Telecoms giant uses collaboration tools to boost team working

BT is using social networking and collaboration tools to unite its global workforce and help ease the deployment of its next-generation networks.

Shared-working applications such as blogs and wikis are helping the telecoms giant to build links between its UK workforce and 30,000 employees based around the world.

“We have been developing an internal social network so people of different disciplines who are not necessarily in the same location can collaborate, bringing their combined knowledge to the tasks facing us,” said Matt Bross, chief technology officer for BT Group.

“We are using these tools to bring together expertise in IT across industry sectors, from pharmaceuticals to transport and finance. Our security practice particularly needs to collaborate, because if something happens in one part of the world it will happen elsewhere very quickly,” he said.

“It lets us see people’s skills and competencies, allowing us to create communities for addressing specific challenges.”

The internal network has also made it easier to handle the growing need for co-operation across different work disciplines, said Bross.

“As you start to see the formation of ecosystems within the supply chain that can improve your business operation, you often have to move across industries to find the right solution.

“For example, something that worked well in the finance systems could provide benefits to the pharmaceutical sector as well,” he said.

Collaborative applications are also helping BT with the deployment of its next-generation 21st century network (21CN), the £10bn project which aims to combine all the telecoms operator’s networks through a single IP-based infrastructure.

“We have created a massive wiki to help create an understanding between people around the globe, so that everyone is working with the same definition of terms,” said Bross.

“So many times, language is a major barrier in these projects. It is pretty powerful being able to form communities with a single common language.”

Services on 21CN will launch at the end of April. The first products will be targeted at ISPs, supporting broadband speeds up to 24Mbit/s.