Customer Story

British Telecom works faster, boosts decision-making, and becomes a leader in database operations

BT logo


years in business


customers served each year


calls to emergency system each day


BT Group plc (formerly British Telecommunications plc, abbreviated to British Telecom) is one of Europe’s leading providers of telecommunications services.

In the UK, BT serves customers ranging from individual consumers with a single phone line to government departments and some of the world’s largest multinationals. Services include higher-value broadband, Internet products and services, and IT solutions. BT’s global IP network provides a wide range of connectivity options for voice, video, data, and converged communication services.

Business challenges

BT Group had two primary challenges they needed to address:


Inefficient response to customer needs

With 17,000 field-based engineers servicing approximately 6.1 million customers each year, paper-based maps and diagrams became inefficient in helping engineers respond to customer needs. BT needed a unified, efficient system for deploying employees, supplies, and other resources across network sites.


Database management system (DBMS) performance downtime

BT needed to make bigger leaps in DBMS performance improvements for both its Db2 and CA IDMS operations – with a particular focus on the latter, which is the foundation of the company’s flagship Customer Services System (CSS). BT also runs one of the world’s largest online transaction processing (OLTP) operations, so the health and efficiency of its DBMS is crucial.

BT logo




  • Improved network management with faster response times and resolution of outages
  • Provided better customer service
  • Enhanced sales and marketing efforts
  • Achieved industry leadership status for database operations with greater reliability and 24/7 processing


“Location intelligence definitely provided an advantage as far as our ability to effectively roll out new services, such as new broadband and fiber services”

Ian Drury GIS consultant

Challenge #1

Inefficient response to customer needs


Increase efficiency, enhance customer service, and reduce costs with location intelligence from MapXtreme and MapInfo Pro

To make more informed decisions about customer service, BT turned to Precisely MapXtreme and MapInfo Pro solutions to visually display and analyze location-based data. These location intelligence tools also integrated easily with BT’s existing systems, which are primarily built on an Oracle-based platform.

The Precisely location intelligence solutions enable BT engineers to locate a property, view road networks and plant details, and then identify the location of underground ducts and individual cables within each site. Additionally, engineers are able to see the exact location of the customer in relation to the network, and can also search by a customer’s address and postcode to plot the shortest route for site visits, resulting in time and labor savings.


BT has found success across various areas with MapXtreme and MapInfo Pro:

  • The solutions are quickly accessible to field engineers at all times, allowing employees to easily locate BT plant equipment and customers, and submit work requirements or requests from any given site.Location intelligence also helps engineers more easily identify network outages, allowing for faster response times and a more timely resolution of the outage. With the location intelligence solution, BT has streamlined operations and increased efficiency, resulting in cost savings and improved customer service.
  • Location intelligence solutions are also a critical component of BT’s emergency response — both internally and for the company’s 999 system, the equivalent of the U.S. 911 call system.On average, 100,000 calls are received each day. Many callers can’t provide their exact location, so a highly efficient, accurate system is essential to providing emergency response authorities with the exact locations of callers.
  • BT also utilizes location intelligence and location-based data to make better decisions for sales and marketing efforts.

By combining geographic and customer data, the company can determine which network sites and markets are best for rolling out a new product or service. “BT is an early adopter of the use of location intelligence for marketing purposes,” said Ian Drury, GIS consultant. “Location intelligence definitely provided an advantage as far as our ability to effectively roll out new services, such as new broadband and fiber services.”

Drury noted that the accuracy of the data provided by these solutions has been critical to BT’s success. “If the data you are using is not clean and up to date, any analyses conducted will be completely ineffective,” he said. “We’ve found that these solutions provide accurate geographic information and give us the most realistic view, be it of customers, the network or competitors.”

Challenge #2

Database management system (DBMS) performance downtime


Achieve 24/7 processing with Syncsort Optimize IDMS and Syncsort Optimize DB2

Several innovative point solutions were developed, all geared to the primary goal of nonstop (24/7) processing. Now dubbed Syncsort Optimize IDMS, those solutions include:

  • an online database reorganization module that allows databases to be reorganized with minimal interruption to update processing
  • a “soft quiesce” module that allows database backups to be taken with no interruption to online processing
  • a “synchro” module that allows BT to split operations of the CSS application across multiple CA IDMS central versions with full buffer coherency
  • a “megabuffer sequential” module used to accelerate batch processing including many CA IDMS utilities
  • a database image module used for development/testing and training

These, and several related tools, have since been made generally available to the CA IDMS community at large. BT is also a major user of Syncsort Optimize DB2, which includes the industry’s most powerful Db2 automated index-design tool.

Another component is a highly prized SQL tracer tool that provides detailed analyses of SQL and entire workloads in DB2. “I’ve not seen any other tool,” said Mike Holmans, a senior Db2 database administrator at BT, “which gives such a detailed report of the actual cost to your system of each SQL statement in the application.


Using Syncsort Optimize IDMS and Syncsort Optimize DB2 together with an ongoing joint-development relationship with Precisely, BT’s database operations and the demanding services they support have achieved industry leadership status for reliability and 24/7 up time.

“We’ve found that these solutions provide accurate geographic information and give us the most realistic view, be it of customers, the network or competitors”

Ian Drury GIS consultant

MapInfo Pro

A complete, desktop mapping solution for the geographic information system (GIS) analyst to visualize, analyze, edit, interpret, and output data — revealing relationships, patterns, and trends

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