October 27, 2020 Panel Discussion: How Telcos Innovate and Execute With On-Demand Talent

Leaders from the global telecom industry recently gathered for a Virtual Leadership Summit focused on Enabling Telcos to Lead and Succeed in the ‘New Normal’. The event was presented by TM Forum in collaboration with Wipro, and featured a dynamic panel discussion with Ravi Ramchandran, OSS Platform Director at BT Group, Ashwin Gonibeed, Director of Technology Business Operations at T-Mobile US, and Mike Morris, Topcoder CEO. Aaron Boasman-Patel, VP of AI & Customer Experience at TM Forum, led the conversation.

Listen and read on to discover how enterprises can use Topcoder to scale productivity and be resilient.

ACCELERATING Speed to Market

Leading telcos are using on-demand talent to speed delivery and drive transformation. Ashwin describes how T-Mobile has been using on-demand talent not just on the edge of operations, but integrated across the entire software development life-cycle (SDLC). It’s allowed them to achieve amazing speed, averaging 10 calendar days from conception to beginning a sprint cycle. That kind of speed is almost unheard of for large enterprises. Ravi explains that it’s about, “understanding that there are other aspects that you can bring into your ecosystem, which helps you accelerate your journey. That’s where Topcoder has helped us.”

New ways of working

Talent strategy is changing—it’s not about hiring people and putting them in cubes anymore, it’s about access to the right talent at the right time. Small companies are traditionally more agile, and Mike shares that large companies like T-Mobile are moving towards this, in that, “they almost act as a bunch of small companies within a really large company.” Different VPs can engage with on-demand talent in their own style and at their own speed. This flexibility is key. According to Ashwin, Topcoder allows T-Mobile to act fast, fail fast, and learn from those failures.


All of the panelists agreed that using on-demand talent doesn’t mean lowered security standards. At Topcoder, security is built into the platform. Projects can be anonymized or broken into smaller components, and individual NDAs can be executed as well. Another feature of on-demand talent that can benefit telcos is stability in an unpredictable environment. Mike mentioned that when more work had to be done virtually this year, it didn’t affect Topcoder – we were already virtual. We received a lot of feedback from customers saying, “You’re the only model that wasn’t disrupted.”


Mike, Ravi, and Ashwin closed out their discussion by focusing on culture shifts at telcos and how they reduce potential tensions between in-house and on-demand talent. Mike observed that he’s seen people at T-Mobile adopt aspects of Topcoder’s culture, such as adopting code names that mimic the handles of Topcoder community members. Ravi noted that he sees internal and external talent as members of the same team, working with their different strengths to tackle challenges. On-demand talent shouldn’t be a way of reducing internal talent, but a path to improving outcomes by using all available resources.

Thanks to TM Forum and Wipro for hosting this fantastic event.

“If you have outcomes that shows you the potential of what you can achieve… then I think the best way to look at it is, the results speaks for itself.” —Ravi Ramchandran, BT Group

TELECOM & ON-DEMAND TALENT ACCELERATE THE JOURNEY TO 5G. See How Telcos are Using On-Demand Talent to Think Bigger
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Annika Nagy


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