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CTO challenges team to achieve Everything Everywhere

Edward Qualtrough | Nov. 1, 2013
EE CTO Fotis Karonis placing IT executive focus on inspiring his team, challenging suppliers, rigorous planning and continuously performing risk assessments

"What we need to know is how the business is going; we are the transforming factor of the business - how to provide new ideas to the business, and to get efficiencies.

"I would say I was very innovative in that sense. To stretch what can actually be achieved and then you can get people really involved and active and you can get the passion of different teams working together to solve problems."

Karonis said enthusiastically that working with his teams had been one of his best achievements, and scoffed when asked if he had noticed any skills shortages while trying to assemble his teams at Hatfield-based EE, which has its executive offices in London.

"I didn't struggle to find the right people. In the UK you have great people and great skills so I was really happy to be able to work with confident people," Karonis said.

"When you can inspire people they tend to think completely out of the box in many areas, which is required, and are able to think not just technically, but also be aware of commercial and financial aspects.

"I really enjoyed making people happy in their working conditions. When they get excited, they deliver and if there are a couple of errors it doesn't matter because if you're not bold, you'll never be a different player in the market."

Karonis said that EE has a core group of approximately 350 in the IT space, with around 1,100 in the technology space as well as an "ecosystem of partners that share our values and objectives".

Indeed, the philosophy of challenging and inspiring his colleagues and IT team also manifests itself in being more demanding of vendors and technology suppliers. Karonis said that once you start creating a different methodology of work and challenge the current method of suppliers and vendors about the possibilities of what can be achieved, that's when you can make your ecosystems work together.

With the IT teams from the existing outfits at Orange and T-Mobile, Karonis said that he merged the teams by taking the best people from both companies and driving things forward very rapidly, "to build a unique culture of one company even though it was trading as two brands".

Big Bang
He said: "I believe in a rapid approach, and not just from the development point of view because I came from a systems integration background at Capgemini and was at Athens airport, but also because it's nice to do things in parallel when you're doing a huge change because you avoid the continuous ripple effect that happens with multiple iterations and then people get demotivated and disengaged.


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