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Matt Spencer: My first 100 days

Matt Spencer, O2’s Head of Public Sector Sales, shares his thoughts on technology in the public sector and what he has learned from his first 100 days in post.

I joined O2 as Head of Public Sector sales in July, assuming responsibility for the strategy and growth of a wide portfolio of products into the public sector. It’s a position that suits my expertise well, having been General Manager of public sector markets at 3M for a number of years.

Before I took up my post I was aware that O2 offered a number of products and services for the public sector, but I hadn’t appreciated just how broad a range of products and services O2 offers. It’s understandable to think of O2 simply in terms of mobile, but the reality is very different. Over the past 100 days I have been working with my colleagues on infrastructure and connectivity projects with a broad range of public sector organisations, from central and local government to the NHS, regional police forces, rail networks, housing associations and charities.

It’s a cultural thing

They say that first impressions count. Back in July, mine were about the team culture and the way O2 works with its customers. It wasn’t that I expected O2 to just look for the easiest or biggest sale, but I was struck by just how far the team I work with will go to do the best for their customers. It may sound like a cliche but there is a culture at O2 always to deliver a great customer experience rather than just selling.

This approach isn’t limited to consumers. Our public sector team takes the same approach with some of our biggest customers, looking for ways that we can help to bring value to their employees, members or residents that interact with those public sector bodies. Rather than look to sell a packaged service, we often start a relationship or partnership with a public sector organisation by asking ‘Why are we doing what we are doing? What difference can we make?’

Making every day better

A good example is our work with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and RealThing to develop In Your Pocket, an intelligent mobile device specifically designed for people who are blind, have low vision or a print disability. It comprises the world’s first totally voice-operated smartphone, digital assistant and a comprehensive media device, pre-loaded with daily newspapers, popular magazines, audiobooks and podcasts.

Supporting the digitally excluded

Another great example is our work with Leeds Libraries last year. We helped them to deliver a secure, managed tablet lending service designed specifically for the 90,000 adults in the city who currently lack basic digital skills and are classed as digitally excluded. It was part of the drive towards ‘100% Digital Leeds’, the city’s ambitious plan to ensure that every Leeds resident has basic digital skills.

Wayra

When I joined O2 I had no idea that Telefónica, O2’s parent company, also owns Wayra UK, the world-respected technology start-up accelerator programme. We are proud supporters of Wayra, and for several years we have partnered with many of their start-ups to help transform and innovate the way the Public Sector works.

A good example is O2’s partnership with IOCOM, a patented, advanced global communications platform that has transformed the way critical healthcare is delivered by the NHS East of England region. IOCOM’s technology connects stroke victims with specialist stroke consultants quickly and efficiently, speeding up the delivery of thrombolysis, a treatment to dissolve dangerous clots in blood vessels and improve blood flow. You can see how IOCOM has helped stroke victims in the NHS East of England region here.

So what’s next?

From a personal perspective, I can’t quite believe how quickly my first 100 days have passed. When I look at some of the ways we have helped organisations to deliver benefit, add value, reduce costs, save lives or improve wellbeing for the people they serve, I feel very proud. And that’s without 5G, and with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning still in their infancy.

The future for deriving benefit from digital connectivity looks bright. We are already working with our partners on smart city infrastructure projects, autonomous vehicles, further ways to assist delivery within the NHS and many other public sector projects.

O2 Blue Door Conference

In September I was delighted to talk with many of our public sector customers at the O2 Blue Door conference in London, exploring the impact of future digital connectivity including 5G for public and private sector organisations of all sizes. Events like this present the ideal opportunity to identify ways that new technology can deliver growth and efficiency.

Can O2 help deliver efficiencies in your organisation? I’d love to hear from you. You can connect with me via LinkedIn.



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