This week, Kurleigh Prescod turns 40. And it’s not the only milestone he will achieve this year. He was recently appointed as country manager for Flow Trinidad, after having served the company for 12 years, his last role being vice president of technology. And because they say good things come in threes, Flow is also launching its Community Wi-Fi initiative, which gives customers access to a nationwide wifi network at no additional cost.
As I sat with Prescod in the Flow corporate box at the Queen’s Park Oval, a venue that has brought tens of thousands together in the name of sport and camaraderie, I couldn’t help but acknowledge how this new initiative would be an asset, not only just for life in general, but large events like those that are held here. This is all part of Flow’s commitment to innovation and giving the best options to customers, says Prescod.
Prescod, though he has previously held mainly technical roles, admitted to always getting involved in the commercial side of the business and this has prepared him for his new position, which he views as a commercial one. “You are responsible for the commercial running of the organisation. But having the technology knowledge certainly helps as it makes you aware of what’s possible and what’s out there.”
While acknowledging the importance of a converged technical and commercial background as being crucial for his new role, he said the ability to motivate teams of people was also key. “It’s not all about pushing the technology and the innovation and talking about solutions. There are the people skills as well. Having empathy, and being able to converse and to persuade.” Part of that, he acknowledges, is leading the charge and embracing and promoting the company’s internal culture and encouraging staff to embrace that culture.
“The first step is to engage.” Flow holds quarterly roads shows, where staff hits the road. “We don’t call these large meetings with 500 people in a room but rather, we go and meet with the various constituents across the company in smaller teams so that people get a chance to raise their concerns and share their ideas.” The information is captured and then sent out to the wider company. “We also follow up quarterly and let the staff know what we implemented and illustrate the benefits.” The second step, Prescod says, is sharing information. It is at the core of Flow’s business to ensure that everyone is aligned in terms of the priorities of the brand. “So, it’s not leadership pushing out everything and saying this is what we’re going to do. But you have all the employees coming forward with ideas, saying they know what the objectives are, and this is what we think we can do to help meet that objective.” He says it’s a learning curve but the organisation is committed to creating and maintain a truly entrepreneurial organisation. With as many as 800 employees, he says its about leveraging the talent, skill and the creativity of every person.
So with the operator providing TT with TV, internet and fixed voice services, how does it stack up in terms of market share? When it comes to internet, Prescod says the company took up first place in the market around 2014 and has maintained that position. “We are number one in the market with internet, as well as TV.” He admits the competition is fierce and he recognises that innovation means moving quickly. “The consumption of media via TV is on the decline. This is made public by the regulators.” This affects how any operator provides content to its customers. The company has rolled out many features, including the convenient option to record and watch favourite shows after they have aired. “My mother loves this. She records all her favourite talk shows. In fact she used to complain that she would have to pick and choose as they sometimes aired at the same time. But now with our feature, she can watch some live and record the others to watch later.”
The company’s latest project, Community Wi-Fi, is essentially a second network across the country where Flow broadband customers can access the “Flow Wi-Fi” on their device’s network options, once they have entered their customer ID. This will allow them access to free wifi on the go and is an extension of the company’s commitment to providing the best products for its customers, says Prescod. “It’s a whole separate network or portal to your home network that you can access with your Flow ID. It’s everywhere we have service, from Mayaro to Point Fortin, and we are very excited to roll it out.”
Prescod is also excited for the road ahead in his new role. And while he has worked in the business for over 12 years, now he believes he can really effect change not only to position Flow as the operator of choice in TT, but to also leverage the best technology and innovation that is available to his customers.