Ringside: Insider Interview with Luke Coleman

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Welcome back to Ringside. Besides our own leading lights, this series invites insights from business leaders beyond our walls. In partnering with others to help create the future of work, we’re curious to uncover a broader perspective on business communications. This episode focuses on Luke Coleman from BT Enterprise.

Luke, what’s your role at BT and what do you love about your job?

As propositions manager for BT Enterprise, I lead the development of customer-centric value propositions for our different GTM channels including SME, mid-market, private and public sector – a real wide cross-section of the UK business market! My team’s focus is on identifying the customer pains, needs and business outcomes when it comes to communication and collaboration and specifically how we address them with our comprehensive IP voice / cloud unified communications (UC) portfolio, which of course includes BT Cloud Work.

I love working across a really wide range of stakeholders in order to develop the best propositions that genuinely help customers meet and exceed their business objectives – often, in ways that they may not have even thought about. I’m lucky that I get to spend time with our customers, analysts, market leading vendors like RingCentral, sales, marketing, finance and product teams in order to understand, develop and take BT propositions to market. I couldn’t think of a more exciting space in which to be right now.

In what ways has business communications changed over your career?

The key changes I’ve seen have been twofold; a fundamental shift in customer expectations when they’re communicating with a business and the shift in employee expectations from the tools that they are given to communicate with. If organisations don’t adapt and embrace these changes in their business operating models, it’s never been easier for both customers and employees to take their service to another business. This has become far more common now than earlier in my career.

My work involves ensuring we have a comprehensive and compelling IP proposition for customers to move to ahead of the PSTN (WLR) switch-off in 2025. One of the key inhibitors that customers mention to me is the ‘risk’ of moving their business communications to IP right now and wish to delay the decision to upgrade and focus on other initiatives. However, with this fundamental shift in customer and employee expectations, I believe that one of the biggest risks to businesses is actually not embracing what IP voice and collaboration services have to offer today and delaying that decision.

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How will our experiences this year change the way we work forever?

I think what this year has taught us is that no-one knows what’s around the corner, but by upgrading their telephony to IP and embracing cloud UC, businesses are far better placed to embrace new business models and meet the unpredictable head-on.

Who knows exactly what the ‘new normal’ will mean to our customers and their employees? I do believe many organisations have now experienced what the benefits of flexible working can bring and that a hybrid (home/office) model is likely to persist.

How can businesses adapt their long-term strategy to make the most of the opportunity?

Businesses need to meet their customer demands if they want to stay relevant and the trouble is, right now many are wrestling with complicated, disparate systems. They’re tied up with fixed landlines, ISDN services and legacy PBX systems, and are locked into various call contracts. Businesses therefore really need to consolidate their communications so they can be more efficient, productive and meet the changing needs of their customers.

They should be sourcing adaptable solutions that let them run their business from any location, not just the office. So whatever happens in the future, it’s always business as usual.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to a business wishing to improve its communications?

At the highest level, the best advice I’d give is that now is the time to move all of your calls, conferencing, collaboration and contact centre tools to the cloud. You need communications solutions that fit around you and your customers – not traditional systems that tie you to your desk. So whether that’s taking the first step in moving your ISDN services to SIP or embracing full UC, now is the time to act – before it’s too late.

You need communications solutions that fit around you and your customers – not traditional systems that tie you to your desk. – Luke Coleman, BT Enterprise Click To Tweet

Massive thanks to Luke for those valuable insights. Remote work will certainly be with us for some time yet, and as businesses realise the potential savings on property management, service fees and on-premises hardware, it’s likely to remain a prominent feature in the way we work for years to come. For more information on how to benefit from adopting cloud communications tools, please get in touch. As usual, look out for more episodes of Ringside.

Make a video a key pillar of your business strategy

Through its partnership with BT, RingCentral’s industry-leading technology is combined with BT’s network leadership, 24/7 support and vast engineering resources to enable the joint BT Cloud Work solution to deliver reliable, trusted and secure cloud-based communication to organisations across the UK. The solution leverages the robust and secure underlying RingCentral technology to provide integrated voice, video, team messaging and contact centre capabilities for a truly seamless user-experience.

Originally published Dec 07, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023

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