Carl Grivner, CEO of Colt, on the company's year of change
Carl Grivner, CEO of Colt, discusses his 2017 strategic priorities, expansion plans, and highlights the main challenges operating in Europe.
What have been the highlights and key developments for your company in the region in the past year?
It’s been a year of change for Colt. I took the reins as CEO in January and about 40% of the senior management team is new. So we’ve changed a lot about the company, a lot about the strategy and a lot about the culture in the last 12 months.
We’ve made significant investments in our core infrastructure to serve the growing connectivity requirements of the digital enterprise by building out a multi-terabit optical backbone and next generation packet network optimised for 100Gbps connectivity.
The we’re in the process of hiring about 300 new sales people, and focusing on significant improvements in customer service that will be groundbreaking in terms of the experience.
What are the main challenges of operating in the European market and how are you looking to tackle those challenges over the next period?
Europe is a competitive market, but our significant investment sees Colt move from operating in the 100MB and below commodity market, into a higher bandwidth market, offering 1GB, 10GB or even 100GB of capacity.
Just look at our customers and how their businesses are changing - they require higher bandwidth services and are moving to more cloud services. As they make that movement – and it will take a couple of years to get there – they begin to put more services and software in the cloud, and this is going to demand much higher bandwidth than they have at the moment. We have a lot of assets built for high bandwidth capability. We have a lot of fibre in the network capable of terabytes of capacity.
What are your strategic priorities as well as expansion plans for the region in 2017?
After building out the 100Gbps-enabled network, we’ve still got a lot of work to do in terms of the culture of the business. The question is how we move faster and become more proactive and reactive to our customer’s demands and needs.
We’re doing that by hiring 300 new salespeople and by creating a groundbreaking customer experience. We’re already a recognised market leader in terms of the customer experience and we have a programme in place that aims to make Colt ‘the most customer oriented business in its industry’, with a NPS target of 60 by 2020.
We’re also driven by software. When you look at some of our customers and competitors, Europe has caught up with the US quite substantially in terms of SDN. There has been significant advancement in that area over the last 12 months within Europe and we’re working with a number of partners on SDN, including a large US carrier that we’ve done some trials with. We also have commercial customers who we’ve been building applications for.
In terms of expansion, Colt will be launching at least two new metro networks per year, including two new networks in the Asia region, and then second cities across Europe. We will also continue to connect up more datacentres and cloud aggregation points, putting customers closer to the core of their digital business.
What does your organisation hope to achieve by attending Capacity Europe 2016?
It’s one of the key events for mixing and meeting with other leaders in our industry. Talking to both customers and competitors and taking the opportunity to share our expertise and experience. Colt’s CTO Rajiv Datta is actually speaking on a panel about SDN today, sharing our experience of what we see as a game changer.