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We Get People and that life isn’t one size fits all 

Katy Liddell, managing director, enterprise and public sector business, O2

What does a police officer on the beat, an entrepreneur working at home and a rail safety officer all have in common? The simple answer is that they’re all just people, doing their jobs and wanting to do their best. It goes without saying really, and it’s obviously the same for all of us. All of us go to work wanting to do a good job, we want to be appreciated and work hard to do the best we can.   

By now you’re probably thinking ‘yes, that’s obvious, but what has it got to do with business’? Well, as a technology business, naturally we want to provide the tools that help people to be their best at work. But to do that effectively, we’ve come to appreciate just how important it is for my team and I to understand not just each person’s motivation but also how they need and prefer to work. It’s about thinking about people first, ahead of any technology solution. 

Let’s go back to that police officer on the beat. Police officers join the force wanting to make communities safer, not sit in the station behind a computer or drown in paperwork. If we’re to help them do their best and, of course, increase the productivity and cost-efficiency of the police services they work for, then we need to understand the officers themselves and their day-to-day role. Only then can we expect to develop technology that will assist their experience, rather than to drive it. 

That’s the ethos behind how we work. Technology only works when you understand what people need it for – understanding how connectivity makes it easier to work from anywhere, or how apps make life easier for isolated members of the community. And when you take the time to really understand individual needs and wants, it means you’re finding solutions for real people, not just talking in terms of ‘users’, ‘desktops’ or ‘seats’ – all phrases I’ve heard in my time in ICT. 

This determination to understand people has underpinned our approach to helping the private and public sectors over the last 30 years. Our work with clothing brand Boden is a great example. It operates in six countries and has over 900 employees, all with responsibilities and lives outside the office. Rather than seeing this as a technical challenge, we viewed it through the eyes of Boden’s people doing their jobs, looking at the types of tasks they undertook and, importantly, the impact on their lives. So when we did recommend an infrastructure to keep them all collaborating and communicating, it was designed and built around Boden’s people. Because we got that right, improvements to the company’s productivity and efficiency soon followed.  

Take a quick visit to our customer stories and you’ll see we take the same approach for businesses of all shapes and sizes, as well as public sector organisations. And you’ll see how it delivers a whole host of outcomes beyond productivity and cost efficiencies. Our work with ScotRail is a case in point – a smart compliance solution that’s not only designed to keep the company on the right side of the regulator, but which has also been designed around the way its people actually work, rather than our idea of the technology they might need. 

I’d sum up our approach in just a few words: we get people.  All types of people, in all types of roles, in all types of business. You can’t just think of someone just as a business owner or a decision maker. They’re also a parent, a carer, a consumer or volunteer as well. And so we use our mobile heritage and technical nous to get how people want to interact, work, shop and play. And then we make it happen for them. You can see more in this video, or you can talk to us further via email.



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