During his keynote speech at World Telecom 2003 in Geneva, Andy Green, BT executive board member and chief executive officer of BT Global Services, focussed on some of the hidden opportunities for business leaders in the digital age. He pointed out the changes that are required in corporate thinking to take advantage of today's digital networked economy, and questioned the ICT industry's maturity to address challenges that need to be faced.
Andy Green rejected the Information and Communication Technology industry's fascination for a "killer application", favoring instead a "killer approach" of creating fully networked companies. He explored the concept of a "true digital divide", highlighting that European organizations in particular are failing to appreciate the importance of linking ICT into their corporate strategy and adapting their business models to take full advantage of the digital networked economy. He believes that this will cause Europe to fall behind "hungrier" economies in the global productivity race.
Andy Green said: "The technology is in place and ready, but businesses are not. There is some post-dotcom lethargy in boardrooms, and too many leaders seem to be taking the attitude that ICT is no longer important for their business."
He added: "We are in the digital network age, the applications are there. We need to bring them to our people, our customers and our suppliers. Vast power is out there but only a fraction is being used. We are on the verge of a massive leap forward in productivity that will be driven by networking it all together. Successful companies will emerge from the pack by harnessing the existing power within their businesses, using it efficiently, and distributing it widely, allowing collaboration inside and outside the organization. Instead of focusing all their efforts on cost reduction, CIOs and CEOs have a new opportunity to develop business strategies that use IT to change the way an organization works, to gain competitive advantage in the digital networked economy. This is what BT stands for."
Challenging the ITU audience, Andy Green also said: "In order to help businesses achieve that transformation, providers of networks, software, hardware and services are going to have to work more closely together to create open and flexible environments that allow customers to innovate. BT is at the forefront of that effort, to create open wholesale markets, develop standards for interoperability and global commercial models. The question now is: do the converging IT and Communications industries really understand what needs to be done and do they have the maturity to accept and take on the challenge. Is the industry up to delivering on the promise of the digital networked economy?"