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In late 2016, Ken Johnson joined us at TalkTalk Business as our new Head of Product Strategy. Ken has a wide range of experience working in business telecoms, having previously held positions at Virgin Media Business and O2 Business. As Head of Product Strategy, Ken will be responsible for leading the delivery of TalkTalk Business’ product portfolio; from internet, to network and voice solutions.
We sat down with Ken to ask him why he joined TalkTalk Business, and what his expectations are for the industry and for British business more generally over the year ahead.
Why did you join TalkTalk Business?
In my previous roles, at O2 and Virgin Media, I was also a customer of TalkTalk Business. I was always pleased at how easy it was to get things done and receive support from TalkTalk Business. When I saw the role, I wanted the opportunity to work in the environment I had always admired from the other side.
Now that I’m here I’ve been amazed at the growth, progress and acceleration of everything. Everyone is not only passionate about our products, but also our customers and Partners, who really are at the core of everything we do. Creating products that have the potential for transforming how they do business is an incredible opportunity. It’s exciting to be part of a business with this kind of energy and pace.
What is TalkTalk Business doing that is so exciting?
TalkTalk Business genuinely cares about delivering excellent service. The people work hard and tirelessly to get the job done. Our network saw an increase in traffic of over 500 per cent between 2009 and 2016 – and we recognise the demand for business bandwidth is only going to increase. We need infrastructure that can keep up with this, and we are already investing in new networks and technologies, to expand the bandwidth that our customers and our Partners have available to them. I’m excited by the intellectual challenge of ensuring we keep ahead of this trend.
What are the top technologies you will be watching in 2017?
I have children so next generation noise cancelling headphones is what I need! Joking aside, 2017 feels like the year of TalkTalk Business’ transformation of its connectivity offer.
Personally, I am a fan of smart technology in the home: smart lighting, heating and sound. We also have a smart oven, so we never have to rush home again to check we didn't leave it on. I find it interesting that AI is already impacting our day-to-day lives with devices such as the Amazon Echo transforming the relationships we have with our homes, and AI has an equal potential to transform our work lives.
What do you think are the biggest business challenges to be overcome in the next 12 months?
There is a lot of uncertainty in the UK economy right now and therefore 2017 needs to be about businesses future proofing their technology and creating a flexible plan for future technology adoption. I believe we can help British business grow - both in terms of value, and sheer performance. That evolution is definitely going to include some kind of digital aspect, which means more demand for better connectivity. Increasingly, businesses want to innovate but are unsure where to start. With so many new technologies and tools to choose from, it is challenging for organisations to select the ones that will truly have a positive impact on both employees and the business as a whole.
What makes TalkTalk Business’ network different from other providers’ networks?
The scale of our network is impressive – over 3,000 exchanges, 4 million customers, and 3 billion minutes of traffic each month. It’s also incredibly robust - we cover 95 per cent of the UK, and offer an impressive 99.995 per cent reliability. We’ve also invested over £600m into developing our Next Generation Network and it is one of the largest, most connected all-IP networks in the UK. We take customer care seriously, and have a team of over 600 UK-based customer service professionals ready to help our customers should any issues arise. And it's only the start. We are completely transforming the scale and performance of our network, and adding extra measures to keep it going strong.
While I am still relatively new to the TalkTalk Business team, I can already tell that the role I’m taking on is going to be an exciting one. I look forward to working with the rest of our TalkTalk Business team to support UK businesses and preparing them for the world of tomorrow.