BT is betting on AI, and thinks Google Cloud can help
UK telco BT and Google announced a new five-year partnership this week which will see BT using Google Cloud products and services to “accelerate BT’s growth and digital transformation,” according to Harmeen Mehta. Mehta is BT’s Chief Digital and Innovation Officer.
“This is a partnership that is deeper than just at the technology level. It will help Digital as a whole supercharge BT and drive its return to growth,” she said.
BT is leaning into a “cloud-first and AI-first strategy.” The company will use Google Cloud infrastructure, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, security and API management to help drive new customer experiences and efficiency. It’s part of BT’s digital transformation, led by its BT Digital Unit. The companies are working together to adopt Google technology, with plans to complete their core data migration by 2023.
BT said that Google’s Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) team will partner with BT to help foster essential operational changes as part of what BT calls “The Digital Way.” The goal of The Digital Way, said BT, is “…to foster a continuous delivery and ‘zero ops’ autonomous operations culture to accelerate product development and continuous innovation.”
BT’s Digital transformation
BT created BT Digital in 2021, snagging Mehta from a CIO role at Indian telco Bharti Airtel. At the time the new group was announced, BT CEO Philip Jansen said the new business unit would help the company take new ideas faster to market and at scale.
“This is bigger than just BT; it’s about building partnerships with other leading innovators to expand into new areas and bring the benefits of top-notch digital services to customers, including enhanced converged fixed and mobile services, tools that guard against cyber-attacks, and connected care applications to help families look after elderly or vulnerable loved ones even if they’re geographically remote,” said Jansen, at the time.
Google Cloud notwithstanding, BT’s march towards progress continues with other efforts. Last September, BT announced a deal with Oracle to help accelerate delivery of 5G services. BT selected Oracle Communications’ Cloud Native Converged Policy Management to optimize network resources for the 5G transition.
In a statement, David Salam, BT’s director of mobile, said the deal with Oracle would make it easier for BT’s engineers to design, test and deploy new 4G and 5G services.
“It reduces testing and implementation times, without compromising on quality, ensuring some new services for customers could be delivered in just minutes,” said Salam.
VMware announced in January that BT selected VMware to offer Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) to its customers as a global managed service. The offering builds on BT and VMware’s existing SD-WAN managed service. The SASE offering is available from a global network of more than 150 points of presence (PoPs) deployed by both businesses.