Shifting to Integrated Solutions: Reconciling Innovation and Project Management
This paper investigates the shift to integrated solutions of incumbent telecommunications operators as part of their business transformation to survive the competitive market. It shows how innovation management and project management can reinforce the various practices at the firm level in order to foster growth and improve performance. Innovation management and project management have different roots and initial drives, but in the last years growing research has been undertaken in order to point out the interconnectedness of both approaches. However, just a few researches have demonstrated how innovation and projects interact and are implemented in practice. Integrated solutions offer such an arena for interaction, and a case study of BT Global Services (BTGS) is used in order to show the interdependencies of innovation and projects. Incumbent telecommunications operators such as BT in the UK need to innovate in order to cope with ever increasing competition in the ICT sector. Driven by a strategy of innovation, BT set up BTGS to deliver integrated solutions projects to large firms. These projects offer in turn a unique position for BT to profit from tacit knowledge about customer needs and wants, innovating for the customers and feeding back to BT’s innovation strategy. This facilitates BT’s long-term strategy in a very competitive and turbulent environment. A theoretical framework, based on a combination of innovation and project management processes, is used to approach the case study of BTGS, and an empirical, more realistic and accurate, framework is offered with the aim of better informing managerial practice.