The New York Times writes:
As chief technology and chief information officer, Mr. Eslambolchi is the technological strategist behind AT&T’s ambitious turnaround plan to become a data transmission company selling an array of software products like network security systems – with phone calls being just one of many digital services.
For the first time, voice calls generated less than half of the revenue in AT&T’s corporate business group in 2004.
A few years ago, this approach was heresy at AT&T, where connecting calls was the cornerstone of the former monopoly’s business. But with falling prices, growing competition and cheap new Internet phone services from start-up companies, AT&T’s future depends more than ever on vigorous cost-cutting and focusing on its worldwide data network.
The way to stem the slide, Mr. Eslambolchi contends, is to merge the hundreds of computer systems AT&T created over the years. With phone calls and data now transmitted increasingly via high-speed data lines using Internet protocol, the need for multiple systems is also diminishing.
AT&T is also using more software to route more of its phone and Internet traffic. By getting rid of bulky circuit switches, the company is significantly reducing costs connected to operating old-fashioned switching stations.
Mr. Eslambolchi is also pushing engineers in Bell Labs to develop software for computer firewalls and security systems that detect viruses days before they attack a corporate client’s servers.