We recently caught up with Tom Homer ahead of the Telstra webinar ‘Connecting Companies: Strategic Partnerships for the Digital Age‘ to find out a little more about him. Find out what he had to say below.
Tell us about your company and your areas of expertise?
Telstra is a leading telecommunications and technology company. We have been operating successfully on an international level for more than 70 years, having built a world class network and established customer relationships and partnerships with some of the most innovative companies around the world. In the UK and Europe our focus is on the large enterprise market where we provide a range of solutions including managed network services, global connectivity and cloud.
As is often said in tech circles, software is eating the world, and it certainly is creating opportunities for Telstra to better serve our customers. We have started offering what is called Software Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualisation on our network across our global Points of Presence, which makes it easier for customers to provision the services they need quickly and in a simple way.
Beyond traditional telecommunications services we are also developing our business in new areas such as software, e-Health and monetization of video streaming.
Tell us about your IT career?
I’ve been working in IT for the past twenty five years, having begun my career at AT&T before moving to Energis, the fourth largest telecommunications company in the UK at the time.
It was during my time at Energis that the concept of cloud and its potential to unlock real business value was gaining popularity, and one of my favourite projects was working with Boots to launch their foray into online digital photo sharing.
I joined Telstra in 2011 and was tasked with spearheading our growth in the UK and into new territories. Based in London, today I’m responsible for developing and driving the business strategy across Europe, the Middle East and Africa along with growing our relationship with multinational corporations across the region.
What tech do you expect to be involved with in ten years’ time?
In my view, there is no doubt that software will continue to dominate the IT industry over the next ten years, in particular the rise of software defined networking (SDN).
Businesses are facing ever increasing demands on network bandwidth, which is being driven largely by the evolution of modern, dispersed and collaborative workplaces, often with the need to transport rich content and communicate through new digital channels.
Business leaders are adopting “anywhere, anytime” flexible workforces, with an appetite for cloud service adoption and application consumption. This consumption, coupled with technologies available to collect valuable business insights, is producing huge quantities of data that is growing exponentially and must be delivered quickly, securely and efficiently.
I believe success in the next decade lies in high capacity and low latency SDN solutions, which can seamlessly allocate network resources based on individual requirements. With this level of intelligence, network providers can demonstrate cloud like characteristics such as self-service, on-demand and scalability through a unified delivery infrastructure.
What is the greatest challenge for an IT company or department today?
Until recently, the main challenges facing IT departments were selecting the right hardware and software, deploying them quickly at minimal cost and keeping them working. However, a new challenge is edging its way up IT executives’ list of concerns. Many employees are deciding for themselves what IT they need and are proceeding to use it in the workplace without corporate approval.
The risks related to this growing trend – termed Shadow IT – are huge. Because the IT department has not extended its security policies and technical solutions to the unauthorised technology, the company’s IT environment and data may become considerably more vulnerable.
How should IT departments deal with the emergence of shadow IT? The answer is to start listening to individuals and teams throughout the business to help ensure employees have access to the latest collaboration tools they want, empowering them to do their jobs more effectively.
Who is your tech hero (and why)?
It’s a bit cliché but my tech hero would have to be Steve Jobs. There’s a great quote in Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg’s book, “How Google Works”, where they describe Jobs as the quintessential “smart creative” – an expression for someone with a combination of technical depth and creative talent.
His vision extended far beyond just creating technology to make money, which is evidenced today in the profound impact Apple technology has had on the world, helping transform everything from the way children learn to how we can monitor and improve our health.