Eugene O’Sullivan spoke with PLUGD:IN about how Bell has developed into a true IT integrator and explains how success depends on combining an innovative mindset and agility with structure and due diligence.
Bell is a Systems Integrator. It’s about simplifying the IT journey for our customers. Whether they want to reduce cost, improve service or gain agility – it’s about owning their problem. The way we do that is about minimising business disruption as well as increasing value. And we now have an end-to-end set of capabilities.
The nature of any IT consultancy is that you have to be a disruptor – otherwise you are just a commodity supplier of product and people. My title is Strategy & Innovation Director so what I do is look at innovation and disruption, but it has to be for the right reasons. New isn’t always the best. It’s about embracing technology with due diligence. It’s about understanding what’s new and applying it in organisations based on their appetite for taking some risk for potential higher reward. So yes we are a disruptor, but it’s with the due diligence that goes with it.
It’s by having dedicated roles that focus on what we are doing and what we are going to do next. So two of us effectively fulfil the function of Chief Technology Officer. My colleague Dave Leyland, Director of Solutions, looks at the customer need and sales enablement. I am dedicated to the technology behind that. So we have these dedicated roles that only look at what the future is bringing. We’re also vendor neutral, which means working with lots of vendors. Future-proofing is about not getting locked into long-term relationships just for the sake of it.
Most of what we do around applying technology is about how we deliver IT and services to our customers. We have a structured approach for customer delivery. We also adopt what Gartner calls the ‘bimodal’ approach. On one hand you have a structured, given, safe, secure [approach to project delivery] – and that’s essential for the core project work. But we partner that with a more agile approach for some of our new initiatives and our own product development.
For us in terms of how we are servicing our clients, it’s what Gartner calls the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’. This is the gap between the early adoption of a new piece of technology and its mainstream adoption. It’s easy for organisations to see something new that has resonance within the marketplace; they jump behind it, get people trained in it, and all of a sudden it goes flat for a period of time. You need to be ready for the fact that something won’t go straight from proof of concept to mainstream adoption. You need to be aware of that trough.