My journey into IT and Comms started at school when I was accepted into an Electrical Engineering scholarship program with the New Zealand Post Office. Four years later I graduated and started work for what is now known as Telecom New Zealand. In my initial years I worked in the core network engineering and planning team and was involved in delivering a number of national projects including the rollout of ISDN and a national Voice Messaging platform. I then moved into a pre-sales role, working with major clients. I was then responsible for the technical aspect of all solutions for my clients, and as a result my breadth of knowledge was forced to grow massively.
In 2000, a desire to live and work overseas lead to a role with Nortel in the UK. My role was technical pre-sales again, but this time the clients were major Telecoms carriers, including BT, One2One and many European carriers. The main products I was involved in were network management solutions for Optical and Mobile related hardware. The year after I joined Nortel the Internet bubble started bursting and Nortel began shrinking as rapidly as it had grown, shedding two thirds of the 110,000 staff worldwide over an 18 month period. I opted to jump ship early in 2002 and rather fortuitously was introduced to Rob who was in the early phases of launching BTL. As luck would have it, there was an opening for someone with my skillset.
The early years at BTL consisted of Rob selling it and me making it happen. Being a small company with no track record to fall back on or weight with our suppliers presented challenges that required a lot of problem solving. Being able to reassure customers that we really could do what we promised was the biggest hurdle. But as we grew and gained happy reference customers it became easier and the solutions we could offer became more wide ranging.
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”. This is true of many aspects of the last 15 years with BTL. It can be applied to technologies, suppliers, staff, customers and especially the way people are able to work and communicate in an increasingly digital age.
The team at BTL now is comfortably the best and most capable we have ever had. The Operations Team now has a manager and three very capable team leaders. BTL’s approach to recruiting Operational staff has predominantly revolved around employing capable young people and teaching them about Telecoms and IT. Being able to see the development in staff is rewarding on many levels. My role now within the team is primarily about managing escalations for solution designs, provisioning and faults. I also work with the team to determine how we can incorporate new products and solutions into our processes. My focus on documenting best practises enables the whole team to work consistently and accurately.
The rate of change in technology is huge but this can never be considered without also taking into account the cost. It was possible to have a 1Gb/s Internet connection 10 years ago – but now its affordable for the mass market. BtL’s position as a reseller has allowed us to very easily and rapidly move between technologies and solutions. The key has been in deciding which new solutions to offer and which to stay away from. And once a decision is made to offer a new solution, the next step is choosing a partner to assist us in delivering it to our customers, while using our extensive array of other solutions to round out any weaknesses or missing aspects in a new product offering. These are the challenges that keep the job interesting.
As much as we all dislike it when our favorite button in Excel or Outlook is moved or superseded by a new intended way of working, one option is to spend hours trying to make it work like it used to, the other option is to understand how the new options are meant to make life easier. There will never be an end to this constant change and its ultimately easier to embrace the new ways of working.
The coming years will be more of the same from BTL. We will continue embracing new solutions as they become cost effective to the market, working out how to use them to meet our customer’s needs, and deliver them accurately and to our customers.
Interests: Windsurfing, Paddle Boarding, Hiking, Travelling
Goal for 2018: Improve my Spanish