Paul Deighton used to be European Chief Operating Officer for Goldman Sachs. So he's well aware of the challenges of running a big business.
Now he's taken on a big job as the CEO of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), responsible to deliver all operational plans for the 2012 Games.
Andy Platten also used to work in IT for a very large bank. He is now vice president of technical infrastructure of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). He observed that "The infrastructure that we're building for the Games is roughly the same complexity and size as what we had deployed there (in the bank). But what we're doing here for the Games is like opening all the branches on the same day, with all the systems working. And it has to run perfectly. Customer transactions can't go wrong, and we have to balance every night."
Both these professional have another thing in common. In both cases, they have turned to Nortel. LOCOG has partnered with Nortel as its Official Network Infrastructure and Sustainability Partner, while Nortel is the Official Converged Network Equipment Supplier for the 2010 Winter Games.
The Olympic Games, like running a financial institution, are among the most demanding communications environments in the world. The big difference is that the deadline to go live is absolutely fixed and un-negotiable, and transactions cannot be re-entered under any circumstance (you can't ask a sprinter to break the world record again, because we missed the first time!)
Think about it. Nortel is one of the few companies (I would say only) with deep expertise in more areas (wired/wireless, enterprise/service provider and infrastructure/applications), needed to flawlessly deliver reliable mission critical networks Olympians can rely on. Olympics are banking on it.