About BT Global Services

Britain's bells

BT Global Services is the consulting arm of the world's oldest telecom company, known as BT Group.  Formerly British Telecom, BT has been around since 1846, when it existed as The Electric Telegraph Company (ETC).  Like Bell System in the United States, ETC had a monopoly on the telecommunications market in England until the Parliament interfered and decided to combine ETC with the British Post Office in 1969.  In the 1980s, the British Telecommunications Act separated ETC from the post office, and from 1984 through 1991, the government sold a portion of the company to private investors, renaming the company British Telecom in 1991.  With privatization, BT began to respond to competition in the United Kingdom and focus on competing globally.  By the late 1990s, the government had sold off almost all its stake in BT, and the firm gained entry into lucrative North American markets, thanks to joint ventures with MCI and AT&T. 

Meanwhile, the American branch of BT's consultancy originated in 1957 and was known as Control Data Corporation, a rival of IBM, Honeywell, RCA and other electrical manufacturing powerhouses.  CDC had its own share of success as a supplier of large scientific computing systems, most of which were developed by its star computer genius, Seymour Cray, designer of the legendary Cray Super Computers.  After the demand for mainframe computers dropped with the advent of the PC, the company sold off segments until the last remaining portion was bought by Syntegra, the systems integration business of BT, in 1999.

More than a phone company

In 2004, BT Syntegra dropped the latter half of its name and rebranded itself as BT.  As part of the rebranding strategy, the company consolidated all its services under the BT umbrella.  BT has increasingly integrated its consulting services, IP network services and customer support so there is no clear division between service lines.  The firm calls this blending "convergence," indicating its intent to be an end-to-end service provider for clients.  BT technology consultants operate within BT Global Services, one of the four businesses of the parent company.  Global Services offers additional services, including applications hosting and maintenance, IP services, security services and outsourcing.  Clients include the world's top-10 stock exchanges, as well as global corporations such as Chevron, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Hitachi, Kaiser Permanente, Boeing, DuPont, Costco and AT&T.

In April 2007, the firm unveiled a new structure to help transition BT from a telecom business to a networked IT services company.  As part of the reorganization, Andy Green stepped down as CEO of BT Global Services to become CEO of group strategy and operations.  Green now leads two new businesses: BT Design and BT Operate.  Francois Barrault, former president of BT International, took over for Green as CEO of BT Global Services.  BT Global Services' growth has outpaced the rest of BT Group, thanks to major recent contract wins.  In August 2007, the firm inked a services contract with Standard Chartered Bank, an international bank.  BT Global would supply international network services to the bank in 16 countries.  In November of that year, Nuetel Communications, a telecom provider in Bahrain, awarded a multimillion dollar operations, marketing and consultancy contract to BT. 

Worldly ambitions

In September 2006, BT announced an aggressive growth plan that aimed to double its revenue in Japan, India, China and the United States over the next three years.  Leadership stated that in addition to expanding new business, strengthening offshore practices would help the firm save $189 million.  BT is hoping to catch up to its competitors in the IT market, like IBM and Accenture, that have long been entrenched in the major offshoring regions like India and Asia.  The firm is also aiming to double the size of its operations in Russia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, and to increase its operations in the Middle East and Africa.  In line with these expansion goals, BT has been swiftly ramping up activity in the Middle East.  In November 2007, BT partnered with United Arab Emirates telecom and technology firm Etisalat to launch Radianz Services, a new business unit in the UAE.  The two firms will establish a platform that distributes services from the UAE to BT clients already connected to the Radianz Shared Market Infrastructure.  The services will also provide connectivity between financial institutions worldwide and institutions and trading platforms in the Gulf region.  In June 2007, BT announced plans to expand its business in Turkey.  With 250 existing telecom customers in the country, the firm hopes to broaden its customer base to include clients in the logistics and finance sectors.

Catching up

Though India only recently became a key growth area for the firm, BT has developed a presence rather quickly through its 20,000 employees working in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Noida, Gurgaon, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata.  In February 2007, BT was granted international long distance and national long distance license by India's Department of Telecommunications, enabling BT Telecom India to offer services directly to multisite corporate customers in India.  Later that year, BT finalized the acquisition of i2i Enterprise Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based enterprise services company specializing in Internet protocol communications services for major Indian and global multinational companies.  This acquisition made BT the largest foreign global carrier operating in India today.  BT continued its expansion in 2008 when it acquired German companies Stemmer GmbH and SND GmbH.  The acquisition gave BT an edge in the German IT market.  These acquisitions, however, did little to help BT's cause.  By 2009, the company reported that its Global Services business lost more than £1.3 billion, prompting to company to plan a restructuring of the struggling business arm.  BT entered an agreement with Silicon Valley-based OnLive Inc. in May 2010, giving BT exclusive rights to the OnLive Game Service with broadband in the United Kingdom.  The commercial partnership formed between the two also gave BT a 2.6 per cent shareholding in OnLive Inc.  Within the same month, BT revealed plans of enhancing its services across Asia Pacific.  BT's investment plan in the developing nation aimed to maximize the business opportunities in the region.  The company also announced that an investment will be placed to diversify its portfolio in the region, which the company regarded as a major growth area. 

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BT Global Services

BT Centre
81 Newgate Street
London EC1A 7AJ
Phone: +44 20 7356 5000
Fax: +44 20 7356 5520


  • Employer Type: Private
  • CEO: Jeffrey D. Kelly
  • 2010 Employees: 37,000

Key Financials

  • 2010 Income: $-2,154 million
  • 2010 Revenue: $8,513 million

Vault Company ID: 46405

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