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Digital to the core

How will we all prepare for the future operational environment of supermobility and collaboration?

How will we all prepare for the future operational environment of supermobility and collaboration?

3 min

Positive disruption: Mobility helps business take on innovation



Positive disruption: Mobility helps business take on innovation

The humble app is just the first generation in a vast technological revolution that will either lift your business up – or sweep it away.

Mobile technology has already taken your business beyond anything you thought possible five or 10 years ago. And if you haven’t noticed, you’ve already fallen behind.

If you have noticed, you’re already working on iterative strategies to respond to the Australian economy, which has one of the highest penetration rates of smart mobile devices in the world. Rest assured there will always be room for business to take greater advantage of mobility to improve service delivery and drive innovation.

Executive director of mobile products at Telstra, John Chambers, says the way mobile technology is connecting people today was unimaginable just 10 years ago, and the same disruption is beginning in business.

“You can see the positive disruption that mobile can bring when you look at how a mobile-first business model can change an entire industry and engage customers in ways they didn’t even know were possible,” Chambers says. “Use cases like that drive people to mobile.”

Chambers has a message for chief information officers and executives thinking about pushing business processes mobile: start by putting the customer at the centre.

“The worst kind of mobile adoption is ‘we’ve got to get on mobile because that’s where everyone is going’,” he says. “What is amazing is when staff look at the mobile form factor, the utility, the location and how customers naturally use this and consider what it means for the business.”

Imagine what ‘could be’

The director of information technology at entertainment and hospitality group Amalgamated Holdings Ltd. (AHL), Peter Bourke, says mobility has hugely changed the broader customer experience lifecycle.

“We have seen some interesting efficiency lifts behind the scenes,” he says. “At Rydges Sydney Airport we can clean rooms immediately as people check out by giving housekeeping staff mobile apps that update in real time.”

AHL uses mobile apps mainly for marketing and customer service. Staff use Apple iOS devices to enable mobile selling of movie tickets and snacks inside and around cinemas and, in some cases, mobile check-in for hotel guests at airline gates. The company offers customers mobile apps for a range of services, from tracking the vertical metres people have skied at a ski resort to movie screening times.

“I actually don’t like the idea of calling it a ‘mobility program’ – it’s a poor way to engage key stakeholders,” Bourke says. “Call it something that matters to the business, and its customers. Have a ‘let the customers serve themselves’ program, or ‘lift TripAdvisor ratings to top 10 per cent in each market’ program.”

Bourke also recommends focusing on the core business and reimagining what “could be” for the customer experience to win market share, then improving efficiencies to cut costs or lift productivity.

“Don’t say ‘righto here is an iPhone – what do we do with it?’,” Bourke says. “Ask how to ideally improve business metrics and see if mobile solutions might support this. How can we bust cinema ticketing queues on big movie days to increase customer satisfaction and keep a lid on staffing costs? Let the customers buy their tickets on a mobile phone.”

Unite the experts

It is also worthwhile bringing customer service and business process experts together in the same room as the technology people.

“Both are unconsciously incompetent in the other’s field of expertise, but spending time together will lift them through to conscious incompetence, then in to conscious competence as they educate each other,” Bourke says.

One business that has transformed its operations with mobility is KinCare, a provider of in-home care for the elderly and people with a disability.

A merger effectively doubled the company’s size and mobile connections were needed for more than 2000 field staff nationally who provide domestic services, personal care and nursing services.

In an interview with Telstra, KinCare CIO Jerome Barrientos says field staff can now capture information from clients at their home and provide this to head office. “Processing that used to take two weeks can now be done within 30 seconds,” Barrientos says.

Working with Telstra, KinCare created a smart-device app linking field staff to its cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system. The app enables field staff to access and update client records, confirm client needs, coordinate meetings and book appointments. Less time is spent travelling back to the office and faster response time means staff can spend more time with those who need care.

KinCare’s CRM is now mobile and operates nationally, streamlining business processes and service delivery.


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It’s only the beginning

“We’re just scratching the surface” of what is possible with mobility, says Chambers, who is still seeing mobile apps in the early adoption phase.

Challenges for businesses looking to go mobile largely rest with legacy systems that tend to be difficult to present on a mobile interface. It is the younger and smaller businesses that are more nimble in going mobile and digital first.

“Business has an amazing opportunity to use the mobile form factor, utility and location to deeply engage with customers,” Chambers says. “We need to start by thinking of our how the customers really use the technology, what comes naturally to them, then develop new services from there.”


Idea in brief

  • There will always be room for business to make greater use of mobile technology to improve service delivery and drive innovation
  • Start by putting the customer at the centre
  • Focus on your core business and imagine what “could be” to improve the customer experience, then see if mobile solutions might support this
  • Experiment by uniting customer service and business process experts with technology people – the results can be surprising
  • Great possibilities are emerging for changing people’s lives through health-monitoring wearable devices, machine learning and analytics.

Discover the amazing ways mobile technology will impact your industry.

2 min

Great Danes, and the education that make them leaders



Great Danes, and the education that make them leaders

With its unstructured spaces and digitised teaching materials, Denmark’s Ørestad High School looks nothing like most schools of today – and everything like the schools of tomorrow.

When French President François Hollande visited Denmark in 2014, the Ørestad Gymnasium was part of the official itinerary, and the students were only too happy to show him around.

A futuristic high school that uses a combination of radical architecture and digital systems to make sure the kids of today are prepared for the work of tomorrow, the Ørestad Gymnasium has become a must-see for visiting dignitaries and educators alike.

On a recent visit to Australia, Ørestad Gymnasium’s principal, Allan Kjaer Andersen, discussed how what used to be a normal high school with average kids has become a template for student-led learning, preparing them for jobs that don’t even exist yet.

“In a traditional classroom we have the teacher doing most of the talking and the students sitting in rows and listening to the teacher and answering questions from him or having a classroom discussion,” Andersen explains. “We don’t have walls, we have tables where the students can work in groups or individually.

“The teacher is kind of a coach, helping the students to meet their challenges. Students work by themselves but are helped by the teacher, and we use technology to empower this modern form of classroom leadership.”

There’s a lesson to learn for every industry in the way the education sector is using technology to boost learning outcomes. Discover how technology is inspiring the workforce of tomorrow.


Allan Andersen
Principal, Ørestad Gymnasium
Copenhagen, Denmark

Ørestad Gymnasium is a rather new school and it was built with open learning spaces.

We try to combine student-activated teaching in open learning spaces with use of technology. We couldn’t do what we are doing without technology.

In a traditional classroom we have the teacher doing most of the talking and the students sitting in rows and listening to the teacher, and answering questions from him or having a classroom discussion. In the open areas we don’t have walls, we have tables where the students can work in groups or individually.

So what we are doing there is organised teaching where the teacher is kind of a coach helping the students to meet their challenges.

So if the network is functioning, the teachers can find out the rest, so that’s really the most important technological thing right now for us, having a network with two or three connections for each student – that’s what the network has to be able to handle.

I think what we are – are doing, is mirroring the modern workplace in a way, you can’t – in the labour market today you – you can’t do without collaboration.

The only thing you can’t do at my school is traditional teaching – it just doesn’t function, it’s built for something else, it’s built for collaboration and it’s built for being active yourself and not just receiving messages from a teacher.

We call it “tomorrow today”, that’s the vision of our school. We want to make the society and workplace of tomorrow alive today in order to make them – give them competencies to be citizens and workers in the modern society, so that’s what it’s all about for – for me.

4 min

Dawn of the digital partnership



Dawn of the digital partnership

Companies are becoming competitive in teams

Written by The Economist Intelligence Unit as a special report commissioned by Telstra; Connecting Companies: Strategic Partnerships for the Digital Age.

In 1612, the East India Company struck a deal with the Mughal Emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir: the trading house received exclusive rights to local spices, which it would sell to British consumers at a premium. In return, the company delivered the Emperor goods from the European market, and alas an alliance was formed. Partnerships for mutual benefit are by no means new in the corporate world, but—like so much else in the digital era—that only makes them liable to disruption.

Fast-forward four centuries and the tea consumers of yesteryear are now “always on” and increasingly mobile—moving seamlessly between online and offline, circumnavigating the globe in a matter of clicks. By the end of 2015, there will be more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions, corresponding to a global penetration rate of 97%. As competition for digitally-sophisticated consumers is intensifying, companies of all shapes and sizes are finding it more difficult to go it alone.

This year has seen a flurry of digitally-driven connections being formed between organisations. In their variety these corporate connections, which have stopped short of a more traditional acquisition or formal joint venture, defy easy labelling. But for ease of reference we will refer to these types of association as “digital partnerships”. New research[1] from The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Telstra, shows that the appetite for digital partnerships is global, industry-wide and set to continue over the next 12 months.

Room for everyone

In April 2015, InterContinental, the world’s largest hotel chain by number of rooms, announced a partnership with Stay.com, an Oslo-based group that offers tailored tourist guides. To some commentators, initiatives like this can be seen as reactions to industry disruptors, such as Airbnb, Uber, Google or Apple. While it is true, disruption can often be a prompt for executives to take action, at the same time it is not as if the digitally native disruptors are themselves immune.

Spotify, the Swedish music streaming upstart turned industry leader, is entering digital partnerships with Starbucks, a US coffee chain and Sony, a Japanese entertainment and technology company. For the US and Japanese partners, Spotify is a mobile champion. It offers an online connection to the Millennial consumer. Conversely, Spotify craves access to the offline consumer, whether that person is sipping a flat white in a coffee shop or playing a PlayStation game at home. On the first day of its partnership, Sony reported that 1.5m people took advantage of its new Spotify service.[2]

These partnerships come at an important time for Spotify. Its dominant position in music streaming is facing formidable competition from Apple, following the US company’s acquisition of Beats Music. Yet even Apple—the world’s most valuable company—is looking to partnerships to extend its reach in other areas.[3] With falling iPad sales, the consumer tech giant is working with more than 40 companies of all sizes to make the device a more appealing work tool.[4]

A platform for success

Digital partnerships offer corporate executives a broader set of growth strategies. The types of digital partnerships entered into this year range from two company alliances, such as Spotify and Sony, to wider networks and innovation clusters. The Digital News Initiative, for example, is a network made up of Google and eight European newspaper groups.

Its founding members, including Germany’s Die Zeit and Spain’s El Pais, aim to bolster the business model of publishers and work jointly on product development. Meanwhile, Germany’s Deutsche Bank is attempting to improve its use of digital technology by opening up innovation hubs in London, Berlin and Silicon Valley in conjunction with the likes of Microsoft and IBM, two US technology companies.

Typically technology companies are central players in these partnerships, although this is not always the case. The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organisation, is looking for strategic partnerships abroad which can assist domestic companies compete internationally. “It could be five partners or ten,” says Shuo-Hung Chang, the Executive Vice President.

The German government is actively supporting the development of ecosystems through its Leading Edge Cluster Competition. The programme encourages “clusters” of partners to compete for funding. “It has been a huge success for the German economy,” says Achim Hartig, Managing Director at Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), a government export-import agency.

One particularly prominent cluster called OWL consists of 174 partner organisations and 46 research projects. The goal is to make entire factories “smart” by sharing technology and knowledge among participants, combining traditional manufacturing with automation, cloud computing and machine-to-machine technologies.[5]

A desire to access the digital capabilities of others is common to most if not all of these digital partnerships—much like many traditional joint ventures. Timing, however, is one notable difference. The rate that technology now moves means that companies must gain these capabilities at speed if they want to be competitive, rather than wait to develop them internally.

Often these digital capabilities relate to specialist knowledge, information, or experience, but other times it can simply be connections. Quintiles, a pharmaceutical outsourcing services firm, uses the web to find patient groups. The arrangement helps Quintiles get more people into clinical trials at a cheaper cost. Patients benefit in the long run from quicker drug development.

“In the past we couldn’t reach these patient groups,” says Ken J. Lee, the Singapore-based Chief Medical Officer for Asia Pacific and Vice President & Head Drug Development in Asia. But because most now have a website, Quintiles are able to easily identify and engage them. “By partnering with them we’re able to access a large number of disease groups in many countries,” says Mr Lee

Revolving doors

Today’s digital partnerships point to bigger changes to come. Companies will find it increasingly difficult to compete singlehandedly now that everything—from mobile health to smart homes and wearable technology—is becoming connected. These industry-straddling technology developments, together with the emergence of hybrid industries, such as fintech, will contribute to a growth of more cross-industry partnerships.

Some of these partnerships will flourish and others will fail fast: another cornerstone of the digital era. Cox & Kings, the world’s oldest travel company, has a history stretching back to 1758 when it had dealings with the long defunct East India Company. Last year it announced a partnership with VistaBee, a UK tech start-up, to bring Glass, Google’s wearable technology eyewear, to the international travel market: users are able to explore the markets of Marrakech vicariously from a seat at home.[6] However, a mere nine months later, Google suspended sales of Glass.[7]

The good news is that digital partnerships are easier to enter; they are less costly to be involved in; and they are easier to exit. As a result, companies of all ages are exploring creative alliances, learning to take small bets on big technologies. Cox & King’s commitment to innovation, after more than 250 years in business, should not waver. Virtual reality, the next big technology trend currently enjoying a second coming, should spur a fresh round of alliances across industries—for better or for worse. After all, doing nothing is now the riskiest option.

[1] Connecting companies: Strategic partnerships for the digital age; A report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Telstra (2015)

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2015/04/06/1-5-million-activated-the-new-spotify-backed-playstation-music-in-one-day/

[3] http://fortune.com/2015/02/10/apple-the-first-700-billion-company/

[4] http://www.wsj.com/articles/with-ipad-sales-cooling-apple-leans-on-partners-1439422814

[5] http://www.its-owl.com/industry-40/the-role-of-its-owl/

[6] www.coxandkings.co.uk/pdf/press/google%20glass.pdf

[7] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ff12af46-9ce8-11e4-adf3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3jyMpRcex

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4 min

Learning to succeed: Education for a future-proof career



Learning to succeed: Education for a future-proof career

Meet the education leaders who are using creative classroom design and technology to develop the skills base we will need for tomorrow.

Educating for the future means creating a workforce that is capable of dealing with constant change.

KPMG partner, demographer and futurist Bernard Salt looks to 2020 and sees a workforce that uses mobile technology to enhance productivity and lifestyle, with performance measured by results rather than time spent in the office, and workers on call “more or less 24/7”.


One career, many jobs

Such will be the pace of technological change and its impact on the economy that workers will need to be prepared for a different job every two years – and some of those jobs won’t even exist when they enter the workforce.

“As long as you are fluid, flexible, mobile, agile, social – if you are up for the challenge – then you will future-proof your career,” Salt says.

“One thing we can say about jobs in the future is that you’ll probably have 15 or 20 jobs throughout your 30-40-year career. That means 15 or 20 times you need to pitch your services. You need to be articulate, social and fluid.”

This naturally places an enormous responsibility on the education system to equip school leavers and graduates for a vastly different and changing world.

“There is no single learning, there is no one course,” Salt says. “There is no skill set that you can learn today that will deliver you a career in 40 years’ time.”

Change begins in the classroom

If Australia is to make this transition successfully, we need our educational institutions to emulate the world in which students will one day live and work.

However, many classrooms of today are not vastly different from a classroom in 1915: a teacher at the head of the class dispensing knowledge would be recognisable from one century to the next, and the ambitions of students would run along remarkably similar lines. Nonetheless, epoch-defining change is under way in schools and, in five or 10 years, the similarities with classrooms of a century earlier will be tenuous at best.

At the heart of this radical transformation is mobile technology. As it is integrated into the classroom, and classrooms evolve to resemble 21st century workplaces – disruptive, innovative, agile – students will be well-equipped for jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.

Networks as a catalyst for change

This ever-expanding role of technology in education begins in hardware and core networks, is implemented through effective change management and will ultimately be delivered through the software that empowers people to use data and communicate more efficiently.

Telstra global education executive Susi Steigler-Peters says there has been a comprehensive change in the education sector as it responds to industry demands for a new and emerging skills base among graduates.

“We’re now talking about active learning environments, where instead of having one classroom, four walls, a door that’s closed and a private learning space, we see the walls knocked down, we see an openness which invites collaboration, which invites team teaching and invites parents into the learning environment,” says Steigler-Peters.

“Educators are increasingly bringing in the wider community, bringing in corporates, bringing in vendors, bringing in the whole ecosystem if you will – and this is not unique to Australia – this is actually global.”

According to Steigler-Peters, education leaders have had to become change managers and find effective ways to empower students and teachers alike to embrace technology. She cites social media as an example of a technology that was once frowned upon but is now being used by education facilities.

“People are embracing social media in their personal lives and it’s finding a very positive footing in their learning environment,” Steigler-Peters says.

“Through social media and having contact with a number of different groups, you can gather well-referenced, peer-reviewed information in a heartbeat. It’s a case of human connectivity and, because learning is such a social phenomenon, people are taking it into their own hands – and that’s what agency is all about.”

Vocational education gets agile

Although her title is executive director, teaching and learning at Victoria’s Chisholm Institute, like many leaders in the education sector Amanda Achterberg has needed to become part futurist, part business catalyst.

Not only is she looking to prepare Chisholm’s students for the workplaces of tomorrow, she also has to implement change in a way that will ensure the institute’s success well into the future.

“Our students need to understand that you can work anywhere, at any time, on any device and still be really productive,” Achterberg says. “I want education to look more business-focused for the industries we work with, and the contention around that is that we’ve got to be current for what’s needed right now, but we also have to look at the emerging needs five, 10 years down the track.”

I want education to be more focused on the needs of the industries we work with. We’ve got to be current for what’s needed right now but we also have to look at the emerging needs five, 10 years down the track

Amanda’s priorities as an educational leader are to ensure that Chisholm is just as adaptive and agile as its students. She believes that by 2020, Chisholm will be a very different institute as a result.

“I’m hoping it looks less like an education institute, more like a business environment: I want more informal learning spaces, more café spaces; I want students to be able to tap in and tap out, knowing they’ve got a staff member or an educator there who can help them with their learning needs,” she says.

“I want vocational education to be more focused on the needs of the industries we work with. We’ve got to be current for what’s needed right now but we also have to look at the emerging needs five, 10 years down the track.”


Idea in brief

  • By integrating mobile technology, classrooms are evolving to resemble 21st century workplaces: disruptive, innovative, agile.
  • A career that progresses through 15-20 jobs will be the “new normal”, and education needs to equip students for this rapidly changing world.
  • To serve industry better, Chisholm Institute in Victoria is becoming more like a business environment with flexible hours, mobile technology, informal spaces and cafes.
  • Whereas social media was once frowned upon in an education setting, teachers and academics are now finding it invaluable for rapid research.
  • There has been far-reaching change in the education sector as it responds to industry demands for new and emerging skills among graduates.

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1 min

Don’t survive, thrive: Adopting innovative digital partnerships



Don’t survive, thrive: Adopting innovative digital partnerships

Digital disruption is blurring distinctions between companies and industries, according to the Economics Intelligence Unit, creating opportunities for some and serious challenges for others.

In the first in a new content series on IN:SIGHT, we look at a ground-breaking study produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit working in conjunction with Telstra. The report looks at how companies in all sectors of the economy are able to develop digital capabilities, through innovative digital partnerships.

At the core of these rapidly growing companies are transformational business models that enable swift growth by working closely, rather than competing, with other companies.

In Australia and around the world, these digital partnerships are enabling business to not only keep up with, but stay ahead of, the changing business environment.

In this introductory chapter Telstra IN:SIGHT will be exploring the nature of these partnerships, by sharing excerpts from the EIU’s special report commissioned by Telstra; Connecting Companies: Strategic Partnerships for the Digital Age.

Based on a survey of more than 1000 senior business leaders around the globe, the series will help to guide senior executives through the ways business can adopt innovative digital partnerships to: embrace disruptive new technologies; respond to the “always-on” customer; and generate new revenue streams.

This introduction will be followed by a six part series set to explain the power and agility of digital partnerships and how they will benefit your organisation.

Ranging from “offline” companies in the traditional industries to those native to the online realms, digital partnerships are a valuable new approach to conquering the digitally disrupted world of today and, more importantly, tomorrow. Read the EIU special report “Dawn of the Digital Partnership”, to discover the underlying trends which are leading to these mammoth but emerging opportunities.

Telstra Global provides consumer, small business and enterprise services to over 3000 customers in over 22 different countries around the world, creating significant opportunities for customers to collaborate and turn technology into strategic advantage.


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