Leadership spotlight: Technical Services Director
In this series we will hear from the Senior Leadership Team at Three about the latest activity across the company and a little about the people behind the projects.
- Name: Patrick Binchy
- Job title: Technical Services Director
- Function: Technology & Operations
- Tenure: 16 years
Tell us a bit about your background
Where should I start?! I grew up in Ireland in the ’80s with 15% or 16% unemployment – gross emigration in the 1980s was just shy of half a million people – well over 10% of the population at the time. And I was one of the 65% that went to Britain. I started in telecoms in 1988 working in credit and collections for a small service provider in London. Over time I took accountability for more and more roles looking after all aspects of customer operations. I was part of the team that launched Orange in the UK, Esat Digifone in Ireland – now Three (how things go full circle). I worked across Europe on licence bid work and various mobile telcos and also spent almost 2 ½ years in Thailand and a year in Denmark. On returning to the UK I worked in broadband and then took a role in Three, initially helping plug a number of revenue assurance concerns.
Throughout my time at Three, I have been accountable for all different aspects of customer support from financial operations to contact centre and retail support. In 2012, I moved into technology taking responsibility for the insourcing and realignment of technology operations from Ericsson. Over the years, I have been directly accountable for all the various disciplines and domains in network and IT. My current focus is Operations, Data & Analytics, Devices and Security – accountable for operation and performance the technology services to the end users – our employees, our partners and above all our customers.
Describe a typical day in your role
There isn’t really a typical day – being accountable for Operations, Security, Devices and Data & Analytics brings a brilliant variance of challenges and tasks. Over the last year I have tended to take a lead in working with Simon Miller (in Legal, Government & Regulatory Affairs) on how we respond to Government as they have pivoted and reacted to Covid and public need, which has definitely been interesting and tested my normally pragmatic approach. More recently, I have taken accountability for the technical side of device management which has introduced me to the world of Apple, the nuances of testing across device, core network, RAN and IT – to ensure our customers get the very best service our network can deliver. And I am regularly engaged in how we support Data & Analytics whether working on day-to-day reporting, or supporting with Customer Value Management in the Commercial team.
A typical day doesn’t exist but every hour and every meeting I try to focus on our customers, our people and the thousands of staff that are dependent on our technology to deliver our services, build our brand and grow our company.
Part of your role is overseeing our corporate approach to risk and security. Do you feel that cyber scams like the recent Flubot attacks are becoming more sophisticated? What are the key signs to look out for?
The scams are definitely becoming more sophisticated. Flubot is a great example. In previous ‘smishing’ attacks the fraudsters were trying to get the customer to connect to a fraudulent site that looked legitimate and then get the users to input personal data. With Flubot, this was the first really widespread smishing scam where they were trying to get the customer to download malware so the fraudsters could harvest the personal data from the device without the customer having to input anything further. Once the phone was infected, it was also perpetuating the scam by texting everyone in contacts with the same malware, to get more people to download, and so on and so on. Just to be clear, this is still in circulation and although all operators, the manufacturers and police are working together, it still remains a major challenge. We have a great security team and I am proud to say that we led the industry and police in understanding and intercepting Flubot. And thankfully as a result, our customer impact was a fraction of any other UK network. Remember, never download anything or open any link that you were not expecting or are not absolutely sure is legitimate. We will see more and more of these attacks in the future.