25 September 2020
Capacity Media Q&A: Michael Ourabah, CEO of BSO on championing diversity and inclusion
As part of our associate sponsor of the Global Women in Telco & Tech Summit & Awards 2020 hosted by Capacity Media, we did a digital sponsored Q&A and it is also uploaded onto the Capacity website on 25 September 2020.
By Michael Ourabah, CEO & founder of BSO
1. How has BSO ensured business continuity for its customers during this pandemic?
During these challenging times, we have been very proactive to ensure that all the network, cloud and hosting services we deliver would continue business as usual. Very early on during the pandemic, we have evaluated the potential impact of disruptions to our customers and employees and elaborated a comprehensive business continuity plan.
We are very fortunate to be in a resilient and stable position and I was always confident in our ability to maintain the standards that made BSO a competitive player in our field and our clients’ first choice. Business continuity is key for us and we have delivered projects on time and high-quality despite limitations to coordinate activities on-site due to the lockdown. We believe in a transparent approach with our customers – picking up the phone regularly confirms the good faith relationship, which is key to handling any situation during this crisis.
2. How has BSO supported its staff and promoted a healthy working culture during this time?
There is not one business or person that has not been affected by the global pandemic of Covid-19, whether professionally, financially or emotionally. It was paramount for us to ensure our teams understood that we were all in this together.
It may sound cliché but it’s true for BSO: our people are our greatest asset. It was therefore absolutely key for us to ensure we go through this difficult time with support from our colleagues. The transition from being office-based to working from home was very smooth as we already had a flexible policy and the right systems in place. In addition, we have launched an employee engagement programme to improve internal communications, mental health and foster morale and engagement. This includes celebrating successes and recognising achievements on Slack, inviting external speakers to hold stress management and wellbeing workshops, run virtual quizzes, watercooler moments and frequent global calls and company updates. It’s not over yet and we’re doing everything we can to keep our workforce motivated, healthy and happy during this challenging time.
3. How is BSO championing D&I within its business and what initiatives or programmes has it put in place?
Being global and inclusive is in BSO’s DNA. When I founded BSO in Paris 16 years ago, we were a small team of passionate network engineers. Since then, we have quickly grown to be a global player with offices around the world and more than 240+ points of presence worldwide to support our customers’ mission-critical applications.
Our diverse workforce is key to the growth and success of the business. We respect and leverage our differences for a unique and personal customer experience. At BSO, we have more than 20 nationalities and speak over 15 languages.
We are also very passionate about gender equality. Telecoms and tech being very male-dominated industries, we really value the amazing women who contribute to our success story every single day. There is still a lot to do in the telecoms space: many still struggle to include women in the conversation. And when they do, they don’t get the same airtime.
At BSO, we choose our people based on their expertise, attitude and emotional intelligence. Our people are all incredible self-starters who are passionate about technology and our customers and that’s all that matters. We promote an open and honest working culture to establish a sense of belonging, make the day-to-day as flexible as possible and have reviewed our hiring process to be more inclusive and tackle unconscious biases.
4. What are the biggest trends BSO is witnessing in the telecoms space?
Covid-19 is the elephant in the room has brought a new normal to all industries. The trend towards digital has been accelerated. Many businesses have increased their off-premise technologies in direct response to the pandemic and the shift to remote working. We have seen a growing demand for bandwidth and a large number of clients drastically increased their spend in public and private cloud infrastructure services. We support them on their digital transformation journey – whatever the need.
Many exciting future-proof innovations and new technologies are underway in the telecoms space. 5G, fifth generation of networks, is expected to generate lasting changes for network, infrastructure, and equipment vendors.
As we stand on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, we see emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology impact telecoms. However, with great innovations comes greater responsibilities and as more businesses will rely upon AI, we need to prioritise transparent and ethical data management.
Finally, another trend to look out for is telcos attributing increased importance to their environmental sustainability as pressures to proactively assess their social impact becomes stronger. Businesses need to be able to measure and document how they contribute to the greater good of the ecosystems they belong to. Hopefully, this focus on corporate social responsibility and the triple bottom line will soon become an industry standard.
5. As we venture into the last quarter of 2020, what is the roadmap for the company heading into 2021?
We will keep being disruptive in disrupted times. At BSO, we never settle and constantly challenge ourselves to improve and create value for our customers worldwide. We will continue to bring new low latency routes and cutting-edge products and deliver superior infrastructure and connectivity to the market. We have always had a very customer-centric approach, which is more important now than ever as businesses are embarking on an accelerated digital transformation journey during this pandemic. We have very exciting times ahead as we are in the process of rebranding and further affirming our unique value proposition in the market.