– Roland Hanbury, New Business & Innovation, O2 UK.
Sponsored by the CTO (now COO) and Head of Technology Strategy, Paul carried out a number of strategically vital initiatives for O2 UK, including board-level paper preparation and presentation, product strategy and even product ownership in order to make things happen. The headlines are:
- Pioneered the use of “Big Data” technology and thinking within O2 UK, working with the Telefonica R&D team. This involved the use of Hadoop-like clusters to generate various insights from large data sets that are typical within carrier environments (carriers are already “Big Data” producers and have extensive data warehousing capabilities). This initiative led to the eventual adoption by O2 IT Strategy of “Big Data” thinking and a project, led by Alfonso Vazquez, to produce a “Data insights P&L” within the company.
- Using a multi-million budget awarded after a “platforms thinking” paper to the O2 board, Paul led and built the world’s first carrier-owned “Cloud Telephony” platform, called connFu. This was like Twilio or Tropo, but with some unique features, such as the integration of the backchat.io technology (incubated and licensed by O2) to allow integration of telephony services with various real-time Web data sources.
- Re-invented the famous O2 Bluebook service (online backup of texts, contacts etc) using modern “Lean start-up” methods and No-SQL storage technologies (MongoDB). This project became the widely respected hashblue.com product, which has the world’s first real-time API for accessing a subscriber’s text messages in and out of the network (all via network APIs). The API was heavily evangelised by Paul at various developer events and led to a number of innovative “add-on” products.
- Backed by the CFO and the Head of Finance Strategy, founded the UK’s first carrier-sponsored start-up incubator, which offered up to 1 Million funding for the successful maturation of an incubated idea. It led to the successful creation of backchat.io as a start-up in the real-time API aggregation field, using modern “2.0” software techniques to tackle the Complex Event Processing (CEP) problem.
- Created a framework for “re-inventing” the O2 UK Technology Directorate through the introduction of “Start-up 2.0” thinking and paradigms, including various presentations to the heads of strategy and senior leadership team.
- Introduce a number of tools and approaches for converting the culture from an “operational only” culture to an “ideas-led” culture. This included the use of various open innovation techniques, such as Innovation Tournaments (adapted from Wharton Business School), Osterwalder’s Business Plan framework, and the launch of an internal “Ideas market” (“Crowd sourcing”) tool.