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IT LIFE: Duncan Gooding, TalkTalk Business COO

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 Businesses’ Duncan Gooding talks about his career in IT, the shift to IoT and cloud, and his own hopes for VR

What is your role and who do you work for?

I am Chief Operations Officer at TalkTalk Business (TTB). I joined the business in 2012 as Director of Enterprise and Direct Sales and became Chief Operating Officer in December 2016.

In my role, customer satisfaction is my priority. I see mutual engagement as key in helping firms learn how they can best apply new initiatives or realise value for money by using TalkTalk Business’ vast network.

How long have you been in IT?

I have 25 years of extensive experience in IT.

What is your most interesting project to date?

TalkTalk Business Duncan GoodingThe most interesting project I am currently working on is an operation-wide review of customer journeys – how can we improve every customer journey from an experience perspective?

The project has taken me back to grass roots, really considering things from the client’s side before going on to evaluate and discuss a multitude of approaches on how to improve the experience.

The starting point is the process on its own, then the interdependence with other processes. In parallel, the team  then review different technologies to digitalise, automate or generally improve.

Once all these elements have been reviewed we organise the structure to reflect the new approach. It is a very wide, complex and multi-year program. It will continue to improve our customers’ experience when dealing with TTB.

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

My biggest challenge is making sure investments align with our longer-term strategy as well as delivering a short term benefit.

The planning alone for replacing legacy systems can take 12 months, even before you begin to implement new systems. So one of the biggest challenges I find personally is changing my expectation of how quickly change can be achieved.

Once I decide that I want to proceed with something, I want to see the results pretty much straight away. However, this is not always possible, as anyone working with legacy systems will tell you!

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What technology were you working with ten years ago? 

Ten years ago, I worked for an organisation that provided services around compute, servers and storage with the relevant software and support.  What strikes me is the commoditisation of this market and the fact what once filled a whole data centre room can now be consumed from the cloud.

Even if you are the cloud provider, you only need a fraction of the space and the budget. Organisations that have not managed the transition have all but disappeared.

The large list of competitors I worked with could now be written on less than a quarter of the page in my notebook.”

What is your favourite technology of all time?

 I am a huge fan of all streaming services. Whether it is music, video or watching my teenagers play computer games.

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