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Tony Burton

Partner, NSE Consulting Operate Leader, Deloitte UK

As an experienced Operate service delivery leader, Tony thrives on resolving complex client challenges. Read how he brings the best of his background in managed services and delivery center operations to the fore—collaborating with Deloitte clients and teams around the world.

Briefly, explain what you do at Deloitte.

I lead Consulting Operate services across Deloitte’s North South Europe region. My teams are shaping the foundational building blocks that help us deliver leading-edge Operate services in areas like Cloud and Application Management Services. I am also embedded in Operate client transformation projects, where I enjoy collaborating with Deloitte teams and clients around the world to truly transform how organizations operate.

How would you explain what you do to someone who knows nothing about Operate services?

Operate services are a broad scope of Deloitte capabilities, where Deloitte either runs a client’s systems, technology and business processes, or delivers specific outcomes that they want to achieve—on an ongoing basis. Examples of this could be managing a complex system for a client over multiple years, developing and delivering a specific program outcome like revenue management, or injecting on-demand technical skillsets in areas where clients cannot hire quick enough.

Tell us about an Operate services project you're most proud of working on in your career.

There are a couple of projects that spring to mind. One significant project involved replacing a global organization’s legacy and outdated technology infrastructure across their European branches, telephony and contact center—building offshore support capabilities that integrated with onshore resource to be managed on an ongoing basis. Over my years at the helm of the project, we delivered the highest level of service the client had ever received. The scope was also extended to other regions outside of Europe due to the significant value generated.

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

My team starts with a daily stand-up meeting, where we discuss live projects and activities that need to be addressed throughout the day. Then, a combination of leaning in on live Operate client projects and meeting people from my team, ensuring they’re getting the right level of support they need to succeed. I can also be involved in multiple meetings related to how we build greater Operate capabilities, so I spend time connecting with colleagues around the world trying to drive alignment and business growth.

How did you end up in Operate services?

I didn’t go to university and instead, joined a government-funded training course for young people on computer programming. That led into my first job providing PC support services for a legal firm and then into professional services. I spent some time working in industry at banks in technology operations and engineering before coming back into professional services, where my stronghold has been leading managed service operations and delivery center capabilities globally for many years.

What excites you most about your role? Why do you do what you do?

I joined Deloitte at a time when we were shaping our Operate services business and offerings. To look back at where we started to the highly successful and rapid globally growing business and capabilities that we have today is very satisfying.

What's a common misconception about working in Operate services?

Perhaps that not everyone is aware of the breadth of work we do across Operate. When you look at the scale of business we deliver and quality of service we are offer to clients, it’s significant. From the outside looking in, you may not realize that, but I’d recommend checking out the latest industry analyst reports from the likes of Gartner to see we’re highly recognized as leading the way.

What aspects of your career journey have taken you by surprise?

Early on in my career I built a reputation of being a trouble-shooter. I was surprised by how much I enjoy getting involved in complex client projects and problems and helping turn them around. Particularly projects where you sometimes run into problems with meeting client expectations—being able to strengthen relationships and restore connections with teams while achieving their business goals is something I still thoroughly enjoy to this day.

What advice would you give your younger self about working in Operate services?

Truly get to know the clients that you work with and get embedded in their operations to really understand how they tick. It’s about more than fixing something that’s broken. It’s about understanding what outcomes your client is trying to achieve and taking the time to get involved, getting to know their people, and getting engaged. That is the core of what Operate services are. So, when your client is having a crisis, you’re who they come to. Also, look for opportunities to be involved in client facing work as early as you can in your career—this is where I truly learned my craft.

What do you like to do outside of work? And why is it so special to you?

I really enjoy renovating things. I have restored houses, including the 600-year-old home that I live in today—rolling up my sleeves and learning to do everything from the plumbing to electrical and brick work, as well as carpentry. My latest project is an American Jeep vehicle from World War II that needs a lot of work, so I’m currently learning new skills in metal welding. You could say there is a link here to my day-job around problem-solving. Operate is about finding practical solutions to solving complex problems—whereas what I like to do outside of work is all about giving myself goals in areas where I am not an expert and finding new and innovative ways of trying to achieve them.

Note: The services and experiences described herein are intended to demonstrate Deloitte's experience and capabilities in these areas, however, due to independence restrictions that apply to audit clients (including affiliates), Deloitte is unable to provide certain services based on individual facts and circumstances. Therefore, the experiences and descriptions would not apply to services to audit clients.