Case history - BT Wholesale

Office moves and building changes are part and parcel of a company’s evolution. Unless they are managed effectively, however,...

Executive summary

Office moves and building changes are part and parcel of a company’s evolution. Unless they are managed effectively, however, they can cause major disruption to the business – and even damage customer loyalty and the company’s brand.

Moving IT systems can be particularly high-risk, especially when it involves core staff and the devices they use to access critical applications. It is therefore essential that organisations ensure they minimise the risks to the business, and limit system and staff downtime.

When BT Wholesale embarked on not one but several moves as part of its relocation to a new headquarters, it opted to work with IT services provider Computacenter. By drawing on Computacenter’s best practice and resources, BT Wholesale was not only able to minimise risk and downtime, but also ensure the disposal of redundant hardware was compliant with the WEEE Directive.

As a result of the new headquarters, BT Wholesale will be able to reduce its operational costs, and improve the flexibility and work/life balance of its staff.

Business description 

Service provider for communication companies.

Business challenge 

Ensure a move to new headquarters and office consolidation programme did not impact business continuity.


Reduce risk and potential downtime by working with an experienced partner.

Business benefits 

Minimal disruption to the business and reduced operational costs as a result of the office moves.


Installation, fulfilment, asset disposal.


The office moves were carried out over a seven-week period in summer 2004.

Key partners    

HP, Fujitsu Siemens Computers.

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications and technology services and one of the largest private sector companies in Europe. BT Wholesale is at the heart of the BT Group, providing network services and solutions to communication companies.

As a result, BT Wholesale’s products and services form a vital part of the UK’s communications infrastructure, with more than 300 million calls being made on its network everyday, plus 350 million Internet connections every month. Until recently the staff and equipment supporting this network were spread across London at a number of offices, some of which were non-operational.

In early 2004, BT Wholesale decided to embark on a consolidation programme for its London offices to help streamline its operational costs and optimise its building space. At the same time the company also needed to establish a new headquarters in the capital, which presented the IT department with a significant challenge.

As Mark Gregory, BT Wholesale CIO Office - desktop strategy manager, explains: “Not only did we need to find the resources to transfer users from various offices across London to the new headquarters, but we also had new equipment to deploy and legacy devices to dispose of. We had learnt from previous projects that an office move can be a considerable drain on IT resources, so understood the importance and value of involving a specialist partner at an early stage.”

Minimising risk

To help with the move to its new Faraday Road headquarters, BT Wholesale turned to existing IT partner Computacenter, which has a five-year desktop logistics agreement with the communications and technology giant in the UK. “We were moving from a very traditional building to one that supports hot-desking and wireless environments, and therefore needed a partner with extensive installation and integration expertise,” comments Mark. “The move also involved a number of critical business departments, so it was essential that we minimised both risk and downtime.”

To help ensure business continuity, the 400-plus moves and installations were planned to happen every second day over a seven-week period during the summer of 2004. Extensive scheduling and project management were essential to the success of the roll-out, as Gerry Birchall, managed refresh stage manager at Computacenter, explains: “Managing the schedule of moves was challenging, but by remaining flexible we were able to achieve the service levels agreed with BT Wholesale, and minimise downtime and disruption to the business.”

In addition to moving existing BT Wholesale hardware, Computacenter also supplied and installed a range of new devices as part of the project. This included more than 400 HP flat-screen monitors; HP multi-function printers and laptops from Fujitsu Siemens Computers – some of which Computacenter helped to configure for use over a wireless LAN.

“We needed the integration of the new technology to be seamless,” commented Mark. “We also had to ensure that any legacy hardware was disposed of correctly under the WEEE Directive. Computacenter was able to assist with both of these, which helped free up our internal resources for more strategic activities.”

Reduced operational costs
More than 120 redundant devices were removed from offices across London, and disposed of by Computacenter’s specialist subsidiary, RDC. Computacenter also had to liaise with a number of other service providers and suppliers as part of the project.

“Our new headquarters were previously used to house telecommunications equipment, and date back to the 1890s,” comments Mark. “As a result, there were a lot of contractors and companies involved in making the building operational for a 21st century business.”

Despite the complexity of the office move, the project was a massive success, as Mark confirms: “Thanks to excellent planning, we experienced no major problems, and the move has been recognised as one of the best ever by the business. Computacenter provided a very efficient and professional service, and responded quickly to any changes.”

As a result of the office consolidation and move to new headquarters, BT Wholesale has freed up five buildings, which will be put to use by different areas of the business. This in turn has helped to reduce operational costs.

Financial savings, however, are not the only benefit of the project, as Mark explains: “Our headquarters are wireless-enabled, and are designed to support remote and flexible working. This has helped to not only improve employees’ work/life balance but also our overall operational efficiency.”


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