IT Life: Getting Britain’s Businesses TalkTalking

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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TalkTalk Business’s Duncan Gooding explains why he loves SONOS, his smartphone but is not a fan of Microsfot

Duncan Gooding is director of major accounts and carriers at TalkTalk Business. After more than two decades in the UK IT industry, he’s now helping firms take advantage of new networking technologies.

When he was younger he had no ideal profession, just ambitions of wealth. Just as well, as SONOS is his favourite technology.

Tell us about your current role, how long you have been in IT and what are your areas of expertise?

Duncan Gooding TalkTalk BusinessAt TalkTalk Business, I am responsible for managing our large enterprise and major accounts. I predominantly work with big system integrator partners such as Fujitsu and international carriers, as well as UK licensed operators to sell voice trading and wholesale voice capabilities. We are hugely proud of our Next Generation Network and a key part of my job is helping customers take advantage of this, extending their reach at a competitive price point.

I have more 23 years’ experience in the sector and before joining TalkTalk Business three years ago, I began my career with systems integrator, Computacenter and data centre specialist, Logicalis UK. My expertise lies in understanding business trends and inputting new processes to benefit customers and employees alike.

Day-to-day I spend my time talking to our customers to understand the finite details of their businesses and using this information to ensure our network and products meet their needs and help their businesses to grow.

What has been your favourite project so far?

My favourite project so far, other than the work at TalkTalk Business, would be my very first deal in the City in the early 1990s.

We were tasked with moving a settlement business from their office in the heart of the City to a brand new facility in Docklands and I was under tremendous pressure to secure the deal and ensure the implementation ran smoothly. This project showed me the importance of building relationships in this business. To this day, I still have a strong relationship with the contact and our careers have followed each other, but it really highlights how critical your network is, both individually and as a telecoms business.

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?

The industry will lead more towards smart devices and the ability to do a multitude of activities, and connect and control a number of devices all via one handset. I also see this evolving to encompass a smart house environment, which includes everything from lighting to heating, utilities and entertainment facilities, all supported by a cloud infrastructure.

Taking this into account, businesses must evolve quickly and be flexible to the needs of their customers and match the customer experience that we are seeing from consumer products. We are already seeing signs of this with Amazon’s self-service model, but as the need to connect a multitude of devices and technologies continues, I have no doubt that bandwidth, capacity and network resilience will be put to the test.

Who’s your tech hero?

Steve Jobs Apple logoI would say Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is my tech hero.

I truly admire his vision, drive and his ability to execute his ideas without compromise. In my mind, Apple has made the biggest market shift in really understanding of its customers and then charging a premium for it. This is testament to Jobs’ leadership and the execution of his vision.

Who’s your tech villain?

I wouldn’t call them a villain as such, but drawing on my experience in the technology industry, I believe that the quality of Microsoft’s products have suffered in recent years. I respect the company’s legacy and influence over the IT sector, but over the last few years they’ve released products that haven’t matched up to customers’ expectations in terms of quality and standards.

At TalkTalk Business, we fundamentally believe that value doesn’t mean compromising quality, and I feel that Microsoft has forgotten this core principle.

What’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?

The technology that I use the most is my smartphone for both business and personal use. The smartphone has changed the way businesses and consumers behave and communicate and I’m sure this will continue to evolve as technology changes and improves in sophistication.

On a personal note, I think SONOS is fantastic and one of my favourite pieces of modern technology for the home. I absolutely love it and have it installed in every room of my house.

What is your budget outlook going forward? Flat? Growing?

Our budget outlook is growing and we are excited for the year to come.

What type of cloud solution are you most interested in?

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Apart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?

The company I most admire would have to be Berkshire Hathaway, the investment house and it’s CEO Warren Buffett. I have been a long standing admirer of the company’s shrewd investments and market leading global decision making. It really understands the market it works in, the businesses it invest in and where an industry is going. I am anticipating its next move with much excitement.

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?

TalkTalk SIMI think the biggest challenge an IT company is facing lies in where to invest, whether it be in physical or cloud infrastructure.

At the current pace of technological change, CIOs are under pressure to decide now whether to build their own infrastructure, buy it or consume it from other sources. It is an important decision that depends greatly on business needs, a company’s five or ten year road map and how the individual sees the industry evolving.

To Cloud or not to Cloud?

This choice is difficult, and really depends on the type of infrastructure that is currently being used. There is still so much legacy infrastructure in use that can’t be put in the cloud and I believe that it won’t be another 10 years until this is physically possible.

I believe that everything should designed for a self-service, online and cloud environments, however this needs to take into account the legacy infrastructure that will host it or support it. This is where I think the industry will run into difficulties.

In terms of private cloud, its growth on a global scale is heavily influenced by regulation which varies greatly from country to country and industry to industry.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

When I was younger I don’t think I wanted to be anything. The only thing I can remember wanting was to be really, really rich, but like any child not knowing how to get there. This ambition stayed with me and as I moved through school, university and then into sales I started to earn my own money and control my own destiny. Fingers crossed, I am on the road to riches…well, one day anyway!

What do you know about fibre broadband?