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An interview with James Hennah

By David Dungay 

Assistant Editor, Comms Business magazine

Davd Dungay of Comms Business magazine spoke with the CEO of Media & Broadcast, Sales Director Carrier and Channel at BT Wholesale about exciting prospects in the market right now.

Exciting times in the market

Unified Communications (UC) and the hosted environment are exciting areas right now, areas which BT Wholesale have had a lot of growth in this year. Although a range of UC features are available, Hennah points out one particular feature – the ability to move communications between devices all within the same call. This is something BT Wholesale have been working hard on and it’s starting to take off.

Customers going further

With the demand in this multi-functionality, there has been an exponential growth this year in Wholesale Hosted Centrex, as customers “are getting to a certain growth point where they recognise it’s difficult to take things further”. Customers have been dabbling in the market especially when it comes to Over the Top (OTT) applications services. This means BT Wholesale are well positioned as Henna says, “partners see this next phase as a Capex intensive growth period and they are looking to us to help them manage that moving forwards. As a wholesale operation, that’s what we do, we make big investments and then enable our partners to go out and sell”.

It’s in the service

BT Wholesale excels in offering a complete suite of packages services such as SIP, Centrex, access, mobile, hosted desktop, storage or hosted space. Hennah points out: “The SME market is still crying out for someone to manage all of those services for them as they are a critical part of their infrastructure”. If, for example, SMEs don’t have a connectivity service, then their business isn’t trading well. Customers want someone they can rely on to provide all their services, allowing them to concentrate on being experts in their own field.

Voice versus data challenges

The biggest hurdle Hennah sees is managing the convergence of skill sets when a partner is purely voice or data focussed. When both are provided, that’s when partners end up building strong relationships with the SME. There is going to be a big change here “and it will be interesting to see who finds it easier to adjust, the voice guys picking up the access leg or the access boys picking up the voice”.

The future of My BT Wholesale

Hennah is keen to help partners grow and make BT Wholesale easier to do business with. With lots of development going on around My BT Wholesale (formerly Business Zone), services can be delivered far quicker than before. The portal “delivers a great customer experience and helps breed loyalty with partners” and the sooner partners can take orders and deliver services, the sooner they can start billing.

Meanwhile, outside the comms market

The growth of 4K and Ultra High Definition (UHD) at BT Media & Broadcast are exciting prospects. The launch of BT’s own 4K channel means a lot more content is being produced around BT Sport, along with post production and camera training. “The picture is so detailed now you have to film it differently – in the first 4K trial we did of a rugby game, you could see the individual hair on players’ legs! 4K is a really exciting space right now”.

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