What does ICT mean: Itchy Caterpillar Trousers?

by Daniel Hicks: IT and Telecommunications Specialist, Telefónica UK

We think about it a lot. We know it’s important. But what does ICT actually mean? When a room full of people (including IT administrators, technology vendors and channel managers) were asked this question, only a few answered without hesitation – Information and Communication Technologies.

The acronym evolved from Information technology (IT) to cover how data is accessed, displayed, shared and used. It covers unified communications, telecommunications, computing devices, software, storage, convergence – and the list goes on. It should help your organisation connect both internally and externally. But with so much choice how do you make it work for you? Choice is good, but it can be confusing.

However, I don’t want to focus on what ICT literally stands for, but what it really means for you, your business and your employees. So, to find out, think about your culture and your top priorities. Maybe you want to improve staff satisfaction, or perhaps the focus is security and compliance. Whatever it is, ICT should be something that supports rather than overwhelms you.

Perhaps that’s why the words behind the acronym are often forgotten. It’s not as simplistic as supplying, installing and using different technology. It’s actually a journey you go on. It’s part of everyday life and it’s why O2 is more than just a mobile player. We saw great results[1] when we used ICT solutions to develop our, now inherent, flexible working culture:

  • Planet: Saved 424 tonnes of CO2 per annum by using ICT to work flexibly, and ultimately smarter
  • People: Saved 29,212 hours of travel time by replacing travel with appropriate ICT solutions
  • Costs: Saved over £500,000 by increasing the use of digital tools to reduce travel and meeting times

To achieve this, we had to work together with a number of different partners. We took various mobile and fixed technologies to create the solutions that worked for us. We made some mistakes, saw some things perform better than expected and in some cases reaped benefits we hadn’t even anticipated. Thanks to this first-hand experience, we now help other organisations turn their ICT ambitions into a reality.

So don’t think of ICT as an acronym. Think of it as an experience. No one ever reaches the end of their journey (as technology evolves all the time), but it shouldn’t be a chore. When it comes to ICT, people shouldn’t be asking “why did we do this?” they should be asking “why didn’t we do this sooner?”

Visit our website to find out more about flexible working and to discover our ICT solutions.

[1] http://www.globalactionplan.org.uk/smart-at-work-with-telefonica