Colt Technology Services- Providing Cutting-Edge Bandwidth Solutions Through AI and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the driving forces, helping businesses reach their business goals. Harnessing this power, Colt Technology Services is enabling digital transformation through its intelligent, cloud-integrated network, providing world-class bandwidth connectivity solutions to enterprises on a global scale.
Boosting Digital Economy with Unique Solutions
Colt Technology Services is an enabler of the digital economy. It provides high-performance, high bandwidth connectivity solutions to enterprises and wholesale customers. Its purpose-built, cloud-integrated network, known as the Colt IQ Network, connects more than 900 data centers and 29,000 on-net buildings across Europe, Asia, and North America. The company has been a specialist in network and voice services for almost three decades and is proud to be the industry leader in Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV).
The Journey to Leadership
Keri grew up in the small town of Leadville, Colorado. She moved to New Mexico to gain her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management Information Systems from New Mexico State University. She started her career as a network engineer and then progressed into telecom sales. Around eight years ago, Keri moved to Europe and held several leadership roles with the networking solutions provider Ciena, most recently as the Vice President and General Manager EMEA and Global Subsea. She joined Colt in 2018 as the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), and then two years later, in May 2020, she was appointed as the CEO of the company. As CEO, Keri is responsible for delivering Colt’s strategy which centers on transforming the way the world works through the power of connectivity.
Experiences that Shaped her Journey as a Successful Leader
While running global accounts for Ciena, Keri worked with many of the big network operators around the world. She learned more about other companies in the industry and understood what managing across “time zones” really means as well as embracing diverse cultures, building strong relationships. Understanding how to create mutual value for the end customer was an invaluable experience for her.
“Another thing that’s helped hugely has been having confidence in my abilities. Growing up, I used to mountain climb with my family. Even as a young girl, my mom would often lead me and my sister up these 14,000+ foot mountains to get to the peak with no preparation or equipment. She never thought twice about it and always assumed we could hold our own. So, we were
confident too. I believe these are the moments of truth that make you who you are. They are the moments of confidence that build a belief in your capabilities”, Keri added.
Encouraging Everyone to Embrace Challenges
“There are always going to be challenges and moments that test you more than others, particularly at the start of your career when you’re facing things for the first time in your professional life. It’s part of growing and expanding your capabilities. However scary it might be, you must train yourself to not be afraid to have a seat at the table”, said Keri.
According to her, in the telecom industry, ‘unicorn’ is often used to describe the select few of the female leaders – 7% of the top 100 service providers have a female CEO in 2021. As she started out in this male-dominated industry, being singled out and labeled as a ‘unicorn’ was something she had to learn to ignore. Now, she encourages everyone to challenge the industry, so that together they can become more diverse and inclusive.
Keri further added, “Thought diversity is what is going to drive the enterprise culture of the future and lead in innovation – you have to see inclusion and diversity as a strategic objective versus/s a moral imperative.”
Finding Solutions through Innovation
When asked about Colt’s innovations and creations, Keri assures “Innovation is in Colt’s DNA.”
The company is recognized as the pioneer and as they look forward, driving innovation is a part of their three-year strategy. There are two pillars to this strategy: one is around increasing their relevance to the enterprise through digital transformation, around SD-WAN, automation, and customer experience. On the other side, it’s about co-building, co-developing, and co-creating with the strategic partners.
She added, “Innovation of our IQ Network and Colt’s solutions and joint innovation with our wider ecosystem will ensure we can support our end customers to thrive in the digital economy.”
Leveraging the Strength of Disruptive Technologies
Automation, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can bring value to so many areas of the business. When it comes to Colt’s network, the company is looking towards ML and AI to build networks that can reroute to avoid traffic-heavy areas and self-heal, as well as bundling its connectivity with emerging technologies to position themselves as an enabler of digital services. AI and ML can also improve customer experience by predicting trends and specifics for customers. So, they are always one step ahead.
Keri believes more than ever before, leadership is about building trust in employees through transparency and creating the shared purpose of the business. Leaders are more visible, communicative, authentic, and empathetic. “Not only are you looking after the company from a strategic and financial point of view, but the role of the leader is also to inspire and build a business that looks after its employees just as well as it does its customers.”
The Future Ahead
The coming years for Colt are about continuing to develop their IQ Network by innovating and building on their strong network foundations. The company is going to harness the power of the people and create a more inclusive environment where everyone is empowered to succeed.
On a fundamental level, the future has sustainability at its core. The company is doing this for its customers, to help them on their journey, and as a business and as an industry, Colt will continue to work towards becoming net-zero.
Keri adds, “We also need to collaborate more. When we look at the ecosystem and all the different elements that come into play to drive digital transformation, the industry needs to be working better together: more aligned on APIs and driving more innovative and seamless solutions for the enterprise.”
A Piece for the Future Leaders
When asked about her opinions on certain vital attributes that transformational leaders should possess, Keri says:
“When I think of leadership, I think of it as the ability to serve others. It’s a privilege to be in these positions and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to lead employees, to develop them, and to drive their success. I believe every leader should ask questions and listen to the answers of those around them. Listen to your employees, customers, and partners and always have an open mind to learn.”
Keri advises emerging leaders to listen to the people around them – be curious and ask questions. She also says, “You must always keep learning. Build your belief in your capabilities. Be ambitious enough to break the glass even if you’re told to slow down.”
On a practical level, Keri believes that leaders should manage their time well and make priorities. To make sure that the things they want to accomplish are in their calendar and not just on a “to do” list. And also ensuring that the interactions they have are meaningful.