Helen McAloon

Joining us in the middle of a pandemic, Transformation Specialist, Helen, tells us why her work is so critical within Technology and what her career path with us has involved so far.

In one sentence what do you do, and what does your team do?

I help people get ready for large scale changes in the technology they work with, working alongside them so they aren’t doing it by themselves. The team I’m working with builds and runs the best network in the UK!  My home team brings a huge number of skills and experiences to help bits of the organisation transform or change the way they do things. This could be a new structure, improving an existing process or moving to new office locations.

How does the work you do impact BT and our customers?

We are developing future mobile network capability, and moving it to the cloud, this will allow us to build the next generation of mobile products and services. It is probably one of the most important pieces of work in the tech teams. 

What’s been your favourite project to work on so far?

The one I’m on at the moment! We are building a future core network for one of our services, it’ll be a virtual cloud based capability. It's a really challenging programme both technically and in terms of what's needed to get people ready to support it. The technology is cutting edge, I feel like we're part of the digital revolution that's happening across the globe. The people I'm working with are amongst the best I've ever worked with and are incredibly dedicated. It's inspiring. Finding the sweet spot between keeping the services running and getting ready for the future is a daily challenge. Being part of a team, pulling together to get big, exciting things done is the nirvana of working life in my opinion!

How long have you been with BT?

18 months – I joined in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic. An unusual way of starting a new job. I was really happy when BT took me on, as I was worried that lockdown would put a stop to offers made. It’s been interesting joining a new part of the business after knocking around Orange and EE on and off, in various roles over the last 20 years.  

What excites you about working in tech and BT?

I love working in technical teams. I’m not a coder myself but I’m definitely a wannabe engineer. A fan girl. I am more of a delivery dude – and specialise in working with people so they are ready for new systems and technology going live. I love that every day I’m learning something new. I’ve had the utter privilege of working on some really exciting applications of tech over the years. Every single day I have had the opportunity to learn, and explore, something new. How platforms come together to deliver a mobile service. How can you bring together HR and finance functions following a company merger whilst still paying staff, suppliers etc. How automation and tooling can improve the reliability and speed of software deployment. How rapid prototyping technologies can be used to significantly reduce the time of surgery and get better patient outcomes. How hand tracking and mid-air haptics could change the interface of a car. Whilst I’ve been getting on with my job, I’ve learnt how some of these amazing things work.  And it means that it’s given me the opportunity to see, and imagine, the future.

BT is great because I’m working in a new area to me – the mobile network – at a very exciting time. The virtualisation of platforms and move to the cloud. It’s all part of a wider digital transformation across business. It is going to bring a really exciting set of new services to customers. It is fundamentally changing the jobs that we do and the skills we have. And I love that we are paving a path for others to follow.  

I work with clever, interesting, and passionate people. They inspire me. And I think BT might be the place where I start to explore some of the fundamental coding and cloud skills myself. I think it’s important if I’m asking other people to challenge their knowledge base to do the same myself!

What did you do before joining BT?

Lots of things (including working at Orange and EE!). But I have had a particularly interesting last decade. I had my own business for a few years, which allowed me to work on some big digital programmes (and fund short sabbaticals: volunteering including at the Hockey World Cup, travel and spend more time with my family at points I needed to). I also worked for one of the big consultancy companies as a managing consultant, which was brilliant. Not least because I worked closely with bunch of fantastic people in India. Travelling out there regularly. I got do contract and performance management of a technical managed service; and did sales and transformation activity for several strategic partners. Immediately before BT, I spent a couple of years in high-tech digital start-ups so got to experience fresh, collaborative teams. All of it involved working with the tech and engineering teams because they were the company! Fascinating to work in companies at a different stage in development.

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