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BT signs deal with AWS with aim of speeding up digital transformation

Must ... cloudify ... internal .... apps, says giant as it continues to push modernization project

BT, Britain's largest telecom biz, has signed a five-year agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help it cloudify internal applications and speed-up digital transformation under the broader modernization program.

The network provider said AWS will be tasked with updating BT's own applications to be cloud-first, modular and reusable across its business.

The stated goal is to enable BT to "build and innovate faster" by putting a new suite of digital products and services into operation intended to reduce IT maintenance costs. BT also claimed it expects to see savings across its Consumer, Enterprise, Global and Openreach segments.

No figure was given for how much BT is paying AWS for this digital transformation project, but the telco said the broader modernisation program aims to deliver £2 billion ($2.5 billion) in gross annualized savings by the end of the firm's 2024 financial year.

BT said that it plans to continue to make significant investments in AWS and in using its cloud services technology over the next five years, with a particular focus on delivering application workloads via containers and serverless technologies.

This move to be cloud-native, microservices-based and fully modular will, if all goes according to plan, simplfy BT's current IT estate and perhaps allow it to anticipate or respond to customer demand.

"We have a big opportunity when it comes to modernising our infrastructure, and our collaboration with AWS is a key one for us as we deliver the transformation needed to accelerate BT," BT Digital chief operating officer Thomas Dücke said in a statement.

BT's Digital unit was started up last year in order to lead the company's "digital innovation agenda." At the time, BT said the new division would focus on the development and rapid delivery of new products, platforms and services in areas such as healthcare and data.

"The creation of BT Digital will enable us to focus on the areas where we can have the greatest impact, delivering digital platforms that bring together best-in-class services for our customers, and fully embracing new technologies such as AI and machine learning," BT chief executive Philip Jansen said when announcing the new unit.

BT already has a partnership with AWS – the telco signed a deal with the cloudy giant in 2017 under which it is effectively acting as a reseller of managed AWS services for enterprise customers looking to move to the cloud.

It is only two months since BT announced a strategic, five-year partnership with Google Cloud, also aimed at accelerating BT's company-wide digital transformation.

At the time, the telco said it was aiming to create a group-wide data and AI fabric as part of its cloud-first and AI-first strategy, and that Google would help BT unlock hundreds of new business use cases to strengthen its portfolio of digital offerings.

Confused? Well, it seems that the Google partnership is focused more on using data and AI capabilities to deliver "personalized customer experiences."

"Our partnership with Google is one of a series of strategic moves that BT Digital is taking to help accelerate BT's growth and digital transformation," said BT chief digital and innovation officer Harmeen Mehta, adding, "This is a partnership that is deeper than just at the technology level. It will help Digital as a whole supercharge BT and drive its return to growth."

More buzz words than you can shake a stick at.

Meanwhile, BT is also facing possible industrial action, with the Communication and Workers Union (CWU) recently seeking to ballot BT staff over the pay rise BT gave to members last month. ®

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