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3 min

How data is transforming banking



How data is transforming banking

Tech-savvy, number-crunching start-ups are flooding into the financial services industry, where data analysis holds the key to the future.

Customer engagement through analytics

The financial world is looking towards Asia for its future growth, as the market is predicted to overtake North America as the largest wealth management market in the world by 2015. Yet start-ups are harnessing the power of deep data analytics to increase their competitiveness – a market in which 68 per cent of the traditional banks are not yet ready to compete.

To maintain their share of the market and capitalise on the burgeoning Asian market, banks must embrace technology and the productivity benefits they bring.


Idea in brief

Start-up companies are exploiting a gap in the analytics market to gain a competitive edge in the financial sector.

  • Data analytics can provide a more personalised, engaging experience for customers.
  • Only 5 per cent of financial institutions consider themselves ready to compete analytically.
  • Marketing departments are increasingly taking the lead in analytics strategy

Financial technology (or fin-tech) start-ups in the region specialising in data analytics and personal finance management are attracting four times more venture capital than the market as a whole, Telstra’s Analyse This, Predict That report reveals.

“This is also occurring at the same time as generations X and Y hold a more prominent position as customers of financial institutions, being responsible for half of all spending and borrowing in Australia,” report author Rocky Scopelliti, group general manager for Telstra’s banking, finance and insurance group, says.

“They are fuelling these new start-ups as they are seeking offerings beyond traditional financial services products and are prepared to look outside traditional providers to fulfil these needs.”

Accenture valued the global FinTech market at US$2.97 billion in 2013, with the Asia-Pacific sector valued at US$104 million.

Chief executives need to commit

The ‘Analyse This, Predict That’ report, which studied more than 3100 consumers from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong earlier this year, found that data analytics can change consumer perceptions of their financial services provider.

Data analytics is changing the finance industry
Data analytics is changing the finance industry

Data analytics-enabled financial services strengths lie in their ability to provide a more personalised, engaging experience. They support strategies to acquire, engage or retain customers, whether executed through a branch, contact centre or digital consumer channel.

The study of 43 financial institutions across the Asia-Pacific region indicates that 68 per cent of organisations say they are not ready to compete analytically. “This is a huge market gap,” Scopelliti says.

The report found gaps in analytical capability could explain the growing investment in the field. For the FY14. The average investment in data analytics programs was six per cent of companies’ operating budgets. That’s predicted to lead to a 6.3 per cent increase in company performance, with sales and marketing teams now driving data analytics programs and strategies.


About 30 per cent of the surveyed financial institutions perceived they were on the verge of, or ready to, compete using data analytic capability.

However, 17 per cent of chief executives and leadership teams are not prioritising data analytics programs. “Legacy systems appear to be what is holding a lot of organisations back,” Scopelliti says.

He says it is hard to put a baseline on the investment that banks need to make to ready themselves for competition in analytics. He explains that if an organisation were in stage one or two of a five-step maturity model, business intelligence would generally be disbursed widely across the organisation.

“You might have the operations area collecting, analysing and using data for analytical reasons – you could find marketing doing the same, and security using the capability for fraud,” he says.

“The problem is that you have these silos of data and analytics very localised at the departmental level, and there is no enterprise-wide ability for them to cross-use data generated from the same customer or set of events across the whole enterprise.”

He says the key to future success is well-developed capabilities in analytics and information gathering, but there is a limited window of opportunity for businesses to build on their existing good relationships with customers.


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Analyse This Predict That: How institutions compete and win with data analytics

4 min

Inspiring success



Inspiring Success

The ability to inspire and motivate staff is one of the most sought after and least understood attributes of effective management.

The ability to inspire and motivate staff is one of the most sought after and least understood attributes of effective management. Senior executives that inspire and motivate staff consistently outperform rivals by almost every measure, yet businesses are still struggling to encourage a truly inspirational corporate environment.

“It all starts with a mindset,” says organisational psychologist and globally renowned management specialist George Kohlrieser.

It’s a mindset which enables people to think about how to work in a better way.

Having worked extensively with large corporations in the US, Kohlrieser cites research which suggests that up to 80 per cent of employees in the US don’t ‘trust’ their employers or managers. Without trust, he argues, the corporate culture remains closed and defensive, making it almost impossible to inspire people to innovate.

Ultimately there are a number of factors that facilitate the kind of communication which is necessary to build trust within an organisation, and unless these steps are taken, Kohlrieser says inspiration will be impossible.

“We have so many people in organisations who are not thriving, not creative, not innovative, not really enjoying what they do so the best of them does not come out,” he says.

Kohlrieser argues that the first step towards becoming a more inspirational leader is to make sure staff feel encouraged to come up with and contribute new ideas.

“Trust is the biggest commodity of leadership there is, and it has to be earned.”

Building trust through listening

Earning the trust of staff and establishing relationships with them usually involves a very ‘hands-on’ approach, especially within organisations that have been through a difficult period.

A classic example of this is the way Joe Copeland, the former CEO of Goodyear Australia, set about meeting as many people as possible in his first few weeks in the role in 2005. With a significant business both in manufacturing and in retail, the company was dealing with the dual challenges of a strong local currency and global competition. Copeland himself was also facing significant cultural challenges from disengaged staff who felt they had been ‘left behind’ in a poorly performing business when the Pacific Dunlop group was broken up into separate companies.

Copeland immediately set out to listen to staff and customers at Goodyear’s more than 500 locations all over Australia.By reaching out to people in this very direct way, Copeland gained their trust and ultimately could rely on the feedback they supplied.

“It’s not enough to say, ‘I have an open door’. To be a real leader you need to be prepared to walk out that door and talk to people directly,” says Glenn Dobson, Principal of management consultancy and training company KONA. “You have to inspire your staff every day of the week, not as a one-off party trick.”

Inspiring a culture of change

Having worked through change management programs in some of Australia’s largest companies, Dobson says even the most well-intentioned attempts to inspire staff often fall by the wayside because the staff themselves are simply not ready to listen.

“Australian culture is like that, people don’t want to upset you, so they’ll say one thing to your face and then do something entirely different,” Dobson says. “Even if staff buy into the processes you want to adopt, they need to see a constant demonstration of what you’re trying to achieve at all levels of the company.”

By paying more attention to staff at Goodyear, Copeland was in turn able to encourage them to pay more attention to customers and this increased engagement and provided the foundation for the company’s subsequent growth.

“There is often an assumption at board level that change is taking place throughout the company, because people have said ‘yes it’s happening’ but the staff just haven’t bought into it,” Dobson says. “But unless they are out there talking to staff they simply won’t know what’s really going on.”

Inspiration is a powerful force for business change
Inspiration is a powerful force for business change

Spreading inspiration throughout the organisation

Professor Gary Hamel from the London Business School says senior managers often struggle to inspire staff because they underestimate their creative potential. As a result, many senior managers only pay attention to a small subsection of ‘creative types’ and fail to capitalise on the ideas that exist in the rest of the company.

“There is often the view within organisations that creativity is very narrowly distributed, and the view is reinforced by the fact that you don’t teach people to think like business innovators,” Hamel says. “If you don’t encourage all your staff to constantly challenge orthodoxies, and to seek out unmet customer needs then you’re not going to see a lot of innovation in your company.”

Hamel’s premise is that organisations invariably miss out opportunities to innovate because they are narrowly focussed on encouraging creativity within only a small percentage of staff. Hamel, like Kohlrieser and Dobson, emphasises the importance of open communication as well as an appetite for risk.

“It’s not only about giving people skills, it’s about giving them the opportunity to try things, to start things, in small, in risk bounded ways but nevertheless giving them that opportunity to have a go without having to go through a gauntlet of permissions before they try something new,” Hamel says. “Without inspiration and innovation you won’t grow as fast, you don’t see the opportunities to meet new customer needs and you’re much more likely to be run over by somebody who is really exploiting that creativity.”

Removing hierarchy to encourage creativity

Hamel suggests that the hierarchical structures set up to run corporations during the industrial revolution are no longer applicable to the current economic environment where change is continuous. The culture of constant innovation necessary for today’s businesses is destroyed by hierarchies and chains-of-command, which prevent spontaneous innovation, he adds.

“If we’re going to unleash that human capability we need organisations that are much less hierarchical, much less bureaucratic, much more open, transparent, and experimental,” Hamel says. “There are companies that are beginning to do this in a more systematic way, on a large scale, like the US company Whirlpool, that has trained thousands of people to be innovators and has changed everything about its management system so it supports rather than frustrates innovation.”

This kind of change, according to Dobson, is only possible if the senior management is willing to break down the walls and engage in meaningful communication with staff at every level of the business.

“Far too many companies leave change until it’s too late,” Dobson says. “There is a radicle disconnect between what appears to be happening from the senior management point of view and what is actually occurring on the ground, and this makes it impossible to change even when it is necessary to do so.”


In summary

Inspiration is

  • a powerful force for change in business
  • must be built on trust, and maintained through communication
  • is only possible where communication is open and two-way
  • and creativity is not restricted to ‘creative roles
  • is a powerful force to respond to constant change

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2 min

Meet the new CIO



Meet the new CIO

The evolution of the CIO role from a pure technologist to a business-savvy individual is creating significant opportunities for IT professionals who understand the changed paradigm of the role.

The evolution of the CIO role from a pure technologist to a business-savvy individual is creating significant opportunities for IT professionals who understand the changed paradigm of the role.

According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit ‘The C-suite Challenges IT: New Expectations for Business Value’, nearly 60 percent of executives surveyed expect their IT function to change significantly in the future.

The role of the CIO has moved beyond the role of keeping IT systems operational, to demonstrating effective leadership within the business.

Deakin University CIO William Confalonieri believes this new breed of digital leaders are focused on enterprise strategy, and not solely on technology.

The CIO role has evolved with new technology
The CIO role has evolved with new technology

“Rather than only building foundational platforms for the business, the main focus of this category of leaders is on orchestrating complex digital ecosystems to deliver premium experiences to stakeholders, moving to the forefront of finding new sources of value,” he says.

CIOs are now being seen as the catalyst for innovation and are creating a portfolio approach to IT, managing the interplay between technology, talent, risks and outcomes, Jane Bianchini, Managing Director of recruitment agency Alcami, says. “People who want to position themselves for a promotion to CIO need to have skills to drive nimble responsive delivery whilst maintaining architectural integrity.”

CIOs are here to stay

Bianchini maintains that, despite the challenges being thrown at CIOs, the role will remain. “Government and businesses are starting to acknowledge that the function of IT can no longer exist in isolation,” she says.

Kym Quick, Chief Executive Officer of Recruitment business Clarius Group, agrees.

“Government, like private enterprise, is attempting to do more with less,” Quick says. “Essentially streamlining their workforce and having all layers of the workforce wearing more than one hat is becoming more common.”

For example, Bianchini says Leighton Contractor’s CIO now has business responsibilities along with IT responsibilities.

She says a leading home loan and mortgage broker is also looking to hire a CIO who will be in charge of marketing. In other areas such as real estate, where online marketing has proved crucial to success, there are now digital CIO roles.



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The new CIO career plan

Leadership guru Brian Donovan says technology leaders will remain crucial in enabling organisations to take advantage of a knowledge-based future.

The CIO role is no longer about cost, compliance or maintenance – it is now about ‘new’

She has seen CIOs of some larger organisations turning to start-ups to help understand business disruption with the use of technology.

“I would recommend up and coming CIOs look to engage with the business more and more, seek out successful tech incubators and look outside the firm locally and overseas to see how other industries are embracing disruption.”

Quick says the mantra for today’s CIOs should be: “The more strings to your bow, the more versatile you will be.”

“Ensure you develop critical thinking skills, work on your leadership qualities and keep current qualifications,” Bianchini says. “Find mentors who challenge your thinking, network with those with different experiences to you, learn from them and their knowledge.”

Speak to your Telstra Account Executive about how we can help.


In summary

  • CIO role has expanded to include a greater focus on business.
  • CIOs are not only expected to keep systems operational, they are now also required to provide strategic leadership.
  • The increasing importance of online marketing has seen the CIO take on a stronger marketing focus in some sectors.
  • The ability to spot new trends and disruptive technologies will be crucial to the CIO role in many industries.

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1 min

Meet the talking buses



Smarter systems, satisfied passengers

Forget Google’s self-driving car, discover the real technology driving Australia’s public transport.

Telstra has transformed Adelaide Metro in South Australia connecting public transport to passengers through the Xerox Atlas fare-collection system in real-time.

  • The system connects the extensive train, bus and tram network and delivers real-time transport information to smartphones.
  • The network includes buses
  • Each vehicle has been fitted with a Telstra-supplied modem that communicates sales data and a location pulse back to the central system using the Telstra NextG network.

Telstra solutions are connecting smart systems with passenger to improve and facilitate public transport for commuters in real time.



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3 min

21st Century Education



21st Century Education

Gone are the days of blackboards and computer labs; today students are more likely to use a tablet than a pen and workbook. Discover how teaching and learning have been swept up by the mobile revolution.

The education revolution

The digital revolution is sweeping the education system, providing teachers with greater access to information and changing the way students learn. Ten years ago, having a mobile phone in the classroom was roundly frowned upon, but today’s teachers are encouraging students to bring their mobile devices to school.

As classrooms move to embrace technology, the Australian Government is also moving towards a digital curriculum, with the National Digital Learning Resources Network connecting schools and facilitating the sharing of digital resources.

The trend towards digital learning was evident in a recent education white paper, with more than half of all student respondents saying that using a mobile device improved their learning outcomes. The report found that most students already own a mobile device and 70 per cent of the 726 primary, secondary and tertiary students surveyed were already using that device in an integrated learning environment.

It is the learner who is identifying value in mobile devices and moving ahead of education providers

Telstra’s mEducation – Mobility Enabling Personalised Learning report found learning has shifted away from the one-way instruction model of the past to become a more social and collaborative experience.

Report author Susi Steigler-Peters says the findings raise numerous questions around the role of mobile devices in learning spaces and what the digital shift means for educators.

“The clear message is that it is the learner who is identifying value in mobile devices and moving ahead of education providers. It’s a signal that learning is more democratised, more collaborative,” she says.

She says opportunities exist for education providers and businesses to work together to create a learning ecosystem that gives greater access to educational materials to students from all backgrounds.

She says partnerships between business and education services will have a flow on effect to the economy.

“Technology is driving immense and widespread behaviour shifts. If learning outcomes increase so too does the economic index.”

Classrooms are embracing the digital revolution
Classrooms are embracing the digital revolution

Digital revolution hits the classroom

As more classrooms become digital-first zones, there are also endless opportunities for development of educational apps.

There are currently more than half a million education apps available across the iOS, Android and Windows 8 platforms, with digital resources stretching across a range of subjects from languages and humanities to maths and science.

Phil Stubbs, director of education at Verso Learning, says technology in the classroom is about changing relationships among students and teachers, but also the fundamental relationship with knowledge.

Stubbs’ brainchild is the Verso mobile app – a platform that facilitates collaborative learning. Already in 1850 schools worldwide, including 550 in Australia, the app aims to break down learning barriers by using familiar technology, such as a smartphone, to take teachers and students on a journey of learning.

Verso allows the teacher to anonymously get visibility on students’ original thoughts and tailor their teaching around the individual’s needs.

“It’s about kids collaborating, co-constructing and communicating, and letting the teacher shift relationships with technology in the classroom through the use of technology.”


Stubbs adds that 21st century learning relies not only on delivering knowledge, but giving students a skill set that teaches them how to look for bias, plausibility and accuracy.

“Kids are digital natives and they are digitally confident, but they aren’t digitally competent. Any technology has to have key learning dispositions right through that.

“The surface-level learning – finding out about stuff – is great, but kids need to have access to diverse viewpoints and make those connections. It’s a case of, ‘If I live in a connected world, I need to know and understand how to be more connected’.”

The mEducation report notes that while mobile devices are influencing behaviours, there is still a huge scope for development in content, assessment and subject-specific apps.

“Until these questions are better understood – and we’re certain they will be – mobile technology will remain underutilised as an education tool,” the report states.

“Learners and teachers will be walking about with pocket rockets – powerful weapons of mass education, missing the fuel to drive lift-off.”


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mEducation - Mobility Enabling Personalised Learning


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