Exec Q&A with Tom Homer, President, Europe Division, GTT

GTT Europe Division President Tom Homer discusses new deals with the ESA, his career achievements and what’s on the horizon for managed network services

Tom Homer is President of GTT’s business in Europe. His team works to serve and grow their customer base across the continent by delivering on their customer experience strategy and sales execution.

GTT Communications Inc is a leading global cloud networking provider to multinational clients, providing secure global connectivity, improving network performance and agility for people, places, applications and clouds. 

They are the largest independent managed network services provider in the world. The benefit of that to their customers is that they combine a top-ranked global IP network with service presence in over 140 countries around the world.

In the wake of a recent announcement that the European Space Agency has renewed and expanded its agreement with GTT for cloud networking services, President Tom Homer joins Technology Magazine for a chat.

ESA is a landmark announcement for GTT. What are your views on it?

We are proud to continue supporting ESA’s Earth Observation mission. When we first began many years ago, we delivered storage to ESA for just 300TB of satellite data. Today, GTT delivers a secure hybrid cloud and connectivity platform that supports the scientific, commercial and public use of more than 25 times that amount of metadata, along with incredible imagery of our evolving planet. It has been a tremendous journey and partnership that we look forward to developing further.

What technology are you most looking forward to using more of at GTT?

I’ve been fascinated with 3D printing ever since a few years back. For work, I went to visit Selfridges to have a 3D statue of myself printed. The possibilities with these printing techniques are endless, ranging from a bit of fun, like I tried, to the practical applications of fixing and extending the life of the things around us, right through to whole new ways of thinking about how we build homes, manufacture goods and food - it even has innovative medical applications. 

What has been your career highlight prior to your current role?

In my last job, I brought the company to its highest ever NPS score. We also did our first ever services acquisition outside our home market, and doubled the business size in five years.

What has been your highlight in your current role?

A clear highlight for me is the business transformation we’re currently going through. We’ve kept an even keel during a divestiture with a large European component, which was a big achievement for the team here. We’re also growing a new culture across our business. 

It’s going from one that was centred around making and integrating multiple acquisitions, to one that has a clear purpose and focus on a customer first culture and operational excellence, making it a great place to work as well as a great business. 

This goes hand in hand with a change in our operating model for Europe, moving from a highly regional one to a more pragmatic mix of functional and regional. The feedback on these changes from our colleagues and customers has been very positive. 

It is much easier, now, to share best practices and resources between teams than it was before, which benefits the customer experience as well as employees. 

Career development opportunities are also more easily visible in the structure we have now. I love seeing people developing into new roles and it’s great to be a global company in a fast-moving industry, where there’s a constant flow of exciting opportunities we can offer people.

What is your leadership style?

I very much enjoy working with, learning from and taking into account all the different cultures in the markets we operate in. It’s our local presence and understanding, combined with our global reach that brings an outstanding service experience for many of our customers. As part of working like this, it’s key for me to be approachable, open and direct. Being clear makes sure that everybody in the team understands what their role is, so we can succeed together. Finally, I think it’s important to have fun, taking your job seriously, but not necessarily taking yourself too seriously.

What exciting plans do you have coming up as an organisation?

The new thing we’re delivering is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), leveraging best-in-class technology from our partner Palo Alto in combination with our established managed networking, security and professional services practice. 

SASE is a new way to think about how you bring together the best security applications for your needs, with the smarts and performance enhancing benefits of SD-WAN. This approach is spot on for a cloud-based and more dispersed workforce, at a time when cyber threats continue to accelerate. 

We’re bringing the SASE discussion to major cities around Europe with a series of roadshow events in the coming months, and I’m really looking forward to getting back to meeting face to face with our customers and partners for it.

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