Social Computing; enabling the conversation

The Orange Live event had several really great keynote’s with a particular highlight being Peter Sondargaard. A common theme through the keynotes was Social Computing and engaging with both customers and also generation Y as they enter the workforce. As a result Sondargaard pointed out, if you have any policy to block access to sites that encourage the conversation then you need to remove them pretty quickly.

So this almost constant mention of social computing and the importance of the conversation inspired some people to come along and check out the social media team at the event and find out what was happening and how. Several customers called in and asked to speak to people who could help them engage with their customers and we were more than willing to help. We also had a participant who owned the communication channel between his business and his top 35 customers and asked if we could help him engage and take the communication with his top customers to a new level, exciting stuff.

I’m sure we could learn more about social computing and having the 10 external bloggers who’ve links to initiatives such as Amplified, Organic and Media Aces it certainly helped me to expand my horizons as to what can be achieved and how. Maybe next year one of the breakout sessions will be social computing and we’ll get a chance to take the time to explain directly to the Execs present exactly what we’re doing at Orange Business, if you can’t wait till then get in touch or simply leave a comment.

Another new role at Orange!

It’s only been a few months since the last time I mentioned that I’d got a new role within Orange Business, but it’s all change again, I’ve moved Managers and become the Manager of a new group, Telecoms Integrated Operators.

The Sourcing department of Orange Business Services (OBS) has created a new Telecom Integrated Operators Group for Europe or TIO as it’s known. It’s role is to look after telecoms sourcing within the countries where there’s both a Orange Business Network and an Orange Mobile Network, so countries like, UK, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Ukraine, Poland etc. I’ve got a team of  managers across Europe reporting to me, which is great, so I’ll be polishing up my management skills again as well as learning the ins and outs of various new telecoms markets such as Poland which is very exciting and a great challenge.

So I’ve been with OBS now for 1 year and this is my 3rd role, so things move fast here!

New role at Orange

I’ve been keeping this under my hat for a few days, but my Manager told the rest of the team last week so it’s in the ‘public’ domain. I have the name of the person to handover to and a date too, so I’m a bit more comfortable talking about it.

For the last 7 months I’ve been working on Orange’s only full scope outsourcing project as the lead buyer, so managing pretty much everything that Orange needs from third parties, software, devices and services. It’s been extremely interesting understanding how Orange manages its outsourcing business and I’ll miss the guys working on the account and the account directors of the various suppliers. I also spent a lot of time with the finance guys helping to fix the growing pains we’ve experienced, well outside of my remit I know, but it needed to be done. Over last few weeks I’ve been ‘loaned out’ to the CIO of the customer, helping them with an RFP, hence the recent 3 day trip to Halmstad, it’s been a strange experience, but an interesting one nonetheless.

So where am I going..

I’m joining the group level integrated Telco operator’s team, so I’m back working in a Telco only environment. There’s two of us in the UK team working on all Telco spend at group level, which means covering, Orange Business Services, Orange Mobile and Orange Home. I spent last Thursday down in Bristol taking a look at all of the projects going on which was great to be talking about Telco stuff again. We even had a great geek out tour of the Bristol Switch, a 500m2 room with all the associated kit of a mobile network.

So it’s going to be fun to understand from an insider view point, how enterprise, mobile and DSL networks are managed, costs are saved and partners chosen. Which in the face of calls for dumb pipes from the Telco’s it’s going to be interesting and challenging. I’ve read the paradox of the best network and totally understand the drive for more bandwidth and realistically priced mobile data access and how the likes of the BBC’s iPlayer will impact the network to deliver the extra bits and bytes.

So I just can’t wait to start the conversations

Orange considers Christmas without the iPhone of APPLE

It looks like France won’t see the iPhone before the key christmas trading period. The stumbling block appears to be France Telecom’s group fear that Apple can’t lock the device correctly to thier network. So it’s pretty clear that Orange has it’s ear to the ground and aware of the unlocking that is taking place of the US iPhone. [via] – (in french)

Hopefully the 8gb Nokia N95 will make the stores before christmas instead.

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IBM outsources remaining network team to AT&T

This is a really interesting story as I worked in this team about four months back, before leaving to join Orange.

Back in 1998, about 90% of IBM’s networking was sold to AT&T, only the Local Area Network teams around the globe remained to provide the connectivity IBM needed either in or between it’s data centres. What this deal means is that those network guys have gone to AT&T, so AT&T now does all of IBM’s networking, both in it’s data centres, between them and out to client sites for certain accounts.

This move by IBM clearly shows where it want’s to go in terms of it’s core business, which is Consulting and Software and not outsourcing. I had the discussion with various people within the sales organisations and the alliance teams about where IBM was going in terms of networking and what it wanted to do with it before I left. It was clear to me and a lot of other people within IBM, that IBM was leaving money on the table in certain deals but not being willing or being motivated to pick up the network portion of the deal. The view was; we’ll do network if you want us to, but it’s not important to us.

This point was a key factor in me leaving IBM, I came to the conclusion that IBM didn’t really want to be in the Network business and this sale of the remaining network business proves I was right, IBM wants out.

I have to say, it’s a surprise to me that this has happened so soon after I left and I didn’t know anything about it, I found out today. I’m not going to give away any of the facts as to the numbers involved of either people or dollar size of the deal. I was the Business Operations Manager for Europe and worked at a Global level both on people numbers and the ABA, the Annual Base Adjustment and the soon to be replaced MSA, so I know the numbers.

My opinion is this is a great deal for the network guys, they now work for a huge networking company and it’s a real chance to grow network skills and experience. I’m not sure it’s a great deal for IBM’s customers as I don’t know whether all new network requirements will go to AT&T or whether they’ll go out to tender and companies like Orange can compete for them.

All in all, I’m stunned and pleased, I wish the guys all the best and welcome to telco land.

Enterprise Wiki update

I installed Ubuntu 6.06 desktop version a few days back on the trial box I got from the tech team and have playing without too much luck with the LAMP setup. So I decided to start afresh and install Ubuntu 6.06 server edition and select the LAMP option.

I then walked through the setup of the mysql server, and the install of mediawiki and it all worked fine. A few tweaks later and all was setup and working great.

I’ve kept all my notes and the process I used to set the server up and will keep them until it’s hosted correctly.

But I’m chuffed that it’s all working and I’ll take it back down to Slough next week and set up on the network. I’ve got some security tweaks to do and the openssh server is installed so I can putty over to it and tweak until my hearts content.

I’m still trying to pin down the right person who knows about hosting within Orange, if it’s you or you know of the person then email me.

Orange threatens to spoil Nokia’s online music entertainment party

Orange has threatened to spoil Nokia’s high-profile launch of its new music download service this week after warning that it will refuse to offer its flagship music handset to its 16 million customers in the UK unless the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer agrees to work with the operator to ensure that customer experience is paramount.

oh, not good, my view is that the carrier have to protect their own investments and projects. I don’t know anything else about this story so can’t really comment any further. I haven’t even read any of the other comments on this story yet. [via]