In September, BT announced the rollout of the first phase of its investment program in the Asia-Pacific region. It will further increase its capabilities across Asia-Pacific, allowing BT Global Services in particular to take advantage of the growing business opportunities in the region.
BT is getting its global network services rollout back on track with new investments in Asia-Pacific.
Under the first phase of its investment program in the region, announced by chief executive Ian Livingston with its final results in May this year, customers will see enhancements to existing products and the rollout of new services.
This will include in-region capabilities in managed networked IT solutions, including voice and IP services, managed security, unified communications, contact centre capabilities, mobility, and data centre support.
As part of the investment, BT is opening a suite of new customer technology showcase centers in Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney, where customers can get some visibility of BT’s leading-edge technologies and propositions.
Additionally, BT's in-region professional services capabilities will expand, offering more localized resourcing and new innovative skill sets such as providing customers with guidance on transforming their business infrastructure in an increasingly network-centric managed services environment.
Simultaneously, BT is building out a global delivery model that takes advantage of the cost and quality opportunities available in the Asia-Pacific market.
Jeff Kelly, CEO at BT Global Services, has been stressing the need to extend service reach for core offers in VPN, hosted IP, and virtual data centers to make them globally consistent.
But while one aim of the program is to grow BT’s existing business with global corporations expanding into Asia-Pacific, this will be mirrored by a drive to provide more services to Asian-based companies poised to extend their reach globally.
In fact, BT has some time to make up. The company made a big pitch into the region when it announced the acquisition of Frontline Technologies in December 2007. That company included 5,000 personnel, and these investments might have been expected to follow immediately to support them.
In that sense, the announcement serves to highlight BT’s lack of penetration among MNCs based in Asia-Pacific. In March, BT won the regional networking contract for mail and logistics services provider DHL, effectively its first end-to-end communications services contract in the region.
As part of the new plan, BT is in the process of hiring close to 300 new employees across Asia-Pacific. This will ensure that key portfolios and services enjoyed by BT's customers around the world can be offered and fully supported in Asia-Pacific.
New staff members will be employed in the key customer markets of Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Singapore. BT is also establishing a bid-response centre in Singapore to enhance its capabilities to pursue large, regionally managed services deals.
BT's presence in Asia-Pacific dates back to 1985. The company currently employs around 5,000 specialists delivering services in 18 countries, with an additional 25,000 people indirectly employed by BT in the region.
Core service offerings in the region include convergence solutions, customer relationship management, conferencing, outsourcing, security, IT transformation, and mobility. BT maintains regional 24/7 service centers, with a customer management centre in Pune, India and customer service helpdesks in Beijing, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo.
There is also a technology and service centre in Dalian, China. Other centers of excellence include a research centre in Malaysia, a research centre in China, a global operations centre in Gurgaon, India, and an advanced technology centre with 22 industrial and academic partners.
The region is viewed by BT as a major growth area. Approximately 80% of BT’s largest customers by company turnover are expanding in Asia-Pacific. BT sees the addressable market for its services in Asia-Pacific at around £8 billion ($12.43 billion), with annual growth rates of 6%.
Ian Livingston has said that the region will be a key engine of growth for the world economy and he expects to see more companies from the area expand both regionally and globally. This seems fairly obvious, and the real question is whether BT hasn’t left it too late to take full advantage, with upgrades and recruitment that ideally it should have done two years ago.