Business and Enterprise |

The role of the male ally in striving for gender equality

By Matt Williams December 9, 2020

We’re working in a world that now relies on virtual connections more than physical meetings. Many are juggling careers, family commitments and more, all from home. Yet the impacts COVID-19 have brought are not the same for everyone, with existing inequalities being magnified in some cases.

It means leaders not only have to understand these differences – and the underlying drivers causing them – but become an active participant to level the playing field.

Whilst we are making progress, women still experience inequalities

It’s critical that we understand the need for action, whatever our gender.

In the UK, the pay gap among all employees is slowly getting smaller, but it still stands at 17.3 per cent. Over the course of a normal year that would mean a woman, being paid at the same rate as a man, would stop receiving their paycheck on October 29 despite being expected to work the full year.

Women also are less likely to have jobs where remote working is allowed (22% compared to 28% of men). Almost 90 per cent of single parents are women, significantly impacting the ability to work remotely during COVID-19.

All of that adds up. According to Pew Research, in many countries women are less optimistic than men that they will achieve equality in the future. It is clear something has to change.

Male allies can drive positive change

So, why should other men be actively involved in that change? If we are committed to equality then the work to achieve it cannot be done by women alone, because fundamentally every gender must have a seat at the table.

When we are honest with ourselves and look objectively, it’s very clear men and women are not starting from the same point – especially in traditionally male-dominated industries like tech.

Gender parity as a key part of an inclusive culture will help create a workplace with broad perspectives and more opportunities. That’s because, ultimately, we’re all working toward the same thing – doing great work, providing for our families, and living happy lives.

We’re more likely to do that if we can achieve better gender equality. A study by McKinsey showed that an economy where women participate identically to men would see an increase of $28 trillion dollars to global GDP. Equality is not only the right thing to do ethically, but commercially as well.

According to the Boston Consulting Group: “Among companies where men are actively involved in gender diversity, 96 per cent report progress. Conversely, among companies where men are not involved, only 30 per cent show progress.”

It is contingent on all of us not to simply be in favour of gender (and other intersectional) equality, but to actively do something about it.

My role as a male ally

The digitisation of the economy has empowered all ages, genders, and ethnicities. In order to compete, organisations need a team as diverse as society. To attract and retain the best talent, organisations must ensure that salaries reflect that diversity too.

This is an area organisations have struggled to move the needle on for years, but there are groups working to change this, including the Male Champions of Change. Telstra is a founding member of the group, which includes some of Australia’s most influential and diverse senior male executives including our CEO Andy Penn. Male Champions of Change use their individual and collective leadership to elevate gender equality as an issue of national and international social and economic importance.

Organisations that promote diversity benefit from a wider pool of insights and skills, forming more creative, resilient and high-performing teams. At Telstra, we employ tens of thousands of people around the world and service millions of customers every day. For us to do so responsibly – and successfully – our business practices have to embrace the diversity of the very same people we employ and serve.

Achieving equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace may also include addressing long-term business challenges such as shifting company culture and developing new HR strategies. No matter the scale of such undertakings, the end results will far outweigh any obstacles.

To drive change we need to bring a new mindset. This is why I choose to be a male ally: to help support a fairer industry as a male change agent.

The technology industry shapes so much about how we live, work and play. But the facts show that it doesn’t fully reflect the perspectives of so many people in our society.

On a personal level I have found that, by learning about what being a male ally really means, I am finding a new level of empathy. Professionally and personally, I would encourage many, many more men to do the same.

Business and Enterprise |

Digitally transforming operations for police across WA

By Malcolm De Silva November 8, 2019

Frontline police across WA will be issued the latest handsets as part of a push to give officers the information they need at their fingertips. By providing them with the best technology and connectivity, we’re giving the WA Police Force more opportunities to engage with and protect the community as well as boost officer safety.

Issuing a personal handset for each frontline police officer means that wherever they are across our vast regional mobile network, officers can access crucial information they need for their everyday operations. This move also supports workplace safety for officers, keeping them more connected across our regional mobile network.

The phones are equipped with access to critical WA Police Force functions including the ability to perform identity checks, search the police database, capture evidence digitally and report crimes. The devices also have a duress function, which communicates an alert to the police State Operations Command Centre when activated and provides the officer’s location.

The roll-out of these new devices for the WA Police Force will help officers work from out in the field, reducing the need for frontline police to return to their stations to complete administrative tasks – which translates to more time engaging with the community. As an early Christmas present, we’re aiming to deliver most of the nearly 4000 smartphones to police across the state at the start of December – a logistical challenge in itself!

The WA State Government is investing more than $90 million in police technology to support frontline operations, including digital mobility, body-worn cameras, automatic number plate recognition technology and upgraded digital infrastructure at police stations.

We are very excited to partner with the WA Police Force to help them transform policing in Western Australia. With the application of leading edge technology and the power of the Telstra network, WA police officers on the job can now access the information they need to better protect the community as well as boost officer safety.

Supply chain and the internet of things (IoT).
IoT |

New wave technology: cutting through the hype

By Conrad Harvey March 8, 2018

With so much talk about the impact that Internet of Things (IoT) technology will have on the way we live, Linfox’s chief information officer Conrad Harvey asks what it means for community safety and the supply chain.

At Linfox, we are always looking at how advances in technology can help us operate more safely and efficiently. In the last year, heavy vehicle safety has been a key issue within our industry and community, with increases in road incidents across Australia bringing attention to the importance of smart technology to improve safety for drivers and the public.

Some of the most exciting innovations are happening in sensor technologies and data analytics. We’ve just announced our partnership with Telstra and MTData to deliver advanced transport and logistics data and quality benchmarking information to our entire truck fleet to enhance public and driver safety on Australian roads.

Enabling IoT to our trucks

With more and better quality location and routing data, we can improve communication with our drivers and the visibility of truck movements.

Working with Telstra and MTData, we are able to draw on years of in-cab technology innovation to upgrade our current FoxTrax fleet monitoring system.

The system’s built-in sensors will collect a range of information including vehicle tracking, product temperatures, optimal routing, harsh braking and acceleration, vehicle condition and driver fatigue data.

Managers will be able to monitor driver fatigue from a central control room and warn of impending safety issues. To minimise distractions, drivers can be notified of safety issues and route changes using text-to-speech technology.

They will also be able to streamline the maintenance of digital driver worksheets and improve accuracy.

Telstra’s IoT solution will include Samsung tablets mounted into all Linfox trucks across our Australian fleet, so drivers can access logbooks and complete safety checklists, and have the capability in some vehicles for in-cabin recording of road safety incidents.

We have long used in-cab cameras to improve our safety performance. Through Telstra’s IoT technology, our connected fleet will make it possible to use smart cameras and IoT sensors to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructures.

We’re excited about the potential of IoT technology and how it can have such positive impacts within the fleet industry. Looking forward, we will also work with the broader industry to establish the necessary standards to help make our roads safer.

There has never been a more important time to be involved in supply chain technology. We will continue to invest and work with our partners, Telstra and MTData to implement technology that will enable us to coordinate our vehicles efficiently, reduce congestion on the roads and above all, ensure a higher level of safety for the community.

Connecting Commerce - Building digital innovation in your city
Business and Enterprise |

What’s the digital health of your city?

By Martijn Blanken November 20, 2017

San Francisco, Berlin, Singapore and Seoul are known for their vibrant technology ecosystems. However, new research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) highlights business confidence in these cities doesn’t necessarily match their reputation for innovation.

As part of a new ‘Connecting Commerce’ report commissioned by Telstra, the EIU has released the first ever Digital Cities Barometer, a ranking of 45 cities around the world across five key categories relevant to business performance: innovation and entrepreneurship; the financial environment; people and skills; development of new technologies; and ICT infrastructure.

The rankings show mixed results not only for traditionally strong innovation hubs, but also the five Australian cities surveyed – Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. This is despite government support at the national level in the form of the National Innovation and Science Agenda and the state level, such as Innovation SA. Instead, confidence is high in emerging Asian cities like Bangalore, Mumbai and Jakarta.

So what are some of the top performing cities doing that has led to high business confidence in the city’s digital environment, and what value can Australian cities derive from replicating some of this activity?

Grassroots activism and an entrepreneurial spirit

A vibrant digital ecosystem cannot be directed by government alone. A relatively intangible factor that needs to be considered is a city’s entrepreneurial spirit, which leads to activity being initiated at a grassroots level. Take for example the fact that 80 percent of business executives in Bangalore and 74 percent in Jakarta say their city’s ICT infrastructure is ineffective at meeting their companies’ digital transformation needs, as do more than 60 percent of respondents in San Francisco. Yet all three cities are ranked in the top 10 for overall confidence. Raw entrepreneurial spirit is at the heart of many of the world’s cities with soaring digital confidence. For Australian cities, it highlights the importance of having a passionate appetite for digital transformation.

Tapping into digital ecosystems for support

More than 40 percent of respondents in Shanghai (ranked 7th), Guangzhou (ranked 13th) and Singapore (ranked 14th) say innovation labs are helpful in addressing their digital challenges. All three US cities surveyed (New York, Chicago and San Francisco) also boast a plethora of formal and informal networks, communities and other support structures that can provide assistance. The Bay area, in San Francisco, is home to some of the oldest and largest accelerator networks, while in Shanghai the number of co-working spaces reportedly doubled in 2016 to nearly 500. Interestingly, survey respondents in four of the five Australian cities surveyed – the exception being Adelaide which cited innovation labs – point to more traditional structures, such as business associations, as the most helpful external sources of support for their digital initiatives. This suggests Australian cities might benefit by following the lead of confident cities and tapping into less traditional external resources, such as innovation labs.

Effective use of open government data

More than eight in 10 of the survey respondents (83%) say their firm makes at least occasional use of open government data provided by city agencies. The primary value of this data lies in leveraging it to provide new or improved services to customers, or identify new business opportunities. Start-ups in San Francisco, for example, have based their entire business models on the use of this data. One such example is BuildZoom, an online platform that matches homeowners looking to renovate their homes with local contractors. The platform catalogues licensing and building permit data made available by city governments across the US. Interestingly, 57 percent of Australian executives surveyed said their city governments make poor use of the data collected.

Find out how business leaders rate the digital health of your city.

About the Economist Intelligence Unit Connecting Commerce report

The Connecting Commerce report includes the Digital Cities Barometer which is based on a survey of 2,620 executives in 45 cities conducted in June and July 2017. The list of cities includes 23 in Asia-Pacific, 19 in EMEA and three in North America. Eleven industries are represented, with the greatest numbers of respondents coming from professional services, financial services, manufacturing, retail and education. C-level respondents account for 42% of the survey sample, with the balance being other senior executives.

Business and Enterprise | Telstra Vantage™ |

Do you have a platform for digital transformation?

By Ken Boal September 20, 2017

We know that every organisation must embrace digital transformation to ensure its relevance in today’s marketplace. It’s likely your organisation has been, will be, or is being disrupted by digital technology.

Digital disruption is changing the business landscape as we know it. The rise of new technologies like blockchain, machine learning, analytics, virtual reality, cloud, mobile and connected devices has led to the creation of a new digital ecosystem. In this ecosystem, non-traditional competitors have emerged to create new troves of customer value that threaten to break down traditional industry barriers that once stood tall. Incumbent organisations have found it increasingly difficult to protect market share and sustain a differentiated competitive advantage within the ‘Digital Vortex.’

A recent study from the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation (DBT Center), IMD and Cisco, draws on survey data provided from hundreds of executives around the globe, around their digital transformation efforts. The results show large differences amongst industries in how they are experiencing the effects of disruption in the ‘Digital Vortex.’ The vortex represents the inevitable movement of industries towards a digital center, where business models and value chains are digitized to the max.

The five most vulnerable industries in the vortex are – media & entertainment, technology products & services, retail, financial services, and telecommunications. We also know the pace of disruption is accelerating across all industries, due to faster digital technology innovation cycles, an explosion of well-funded start-ups and the rise of digital giants across Asia. You can read more about the study here.

Given industries are being disrupted at vastly different rates, it’s evident, and almost expected, that not all organisations are able to keep pace with the changing technology. Organisations must develop their digital business agility by focusing on; hyperawareness, informed decision-making, and fast execution. Leaders also need to adapt their approach, with new knowledge, skills and behaviors required in order to succeed in a digitally disruptive environment.

You can find out more about digital business agility, agile leadership and developing a secure and intelligent digital infrastructure platform by joining me and David Coventry, Executive Director, Solutions Sales, Telstra at Telstra Vantage on the 20th September, where we will explore how Cisco & Telstra is working together to tackle digital transformation, and the steps you can take in your own organisation.

Digital transformation is here, whether we want it or not, and whether we like it or not!

It’s essential that your organisation has a secure platform to enable you to transform, evolve and capture the opportunity and digital advantage.

Digital Vortex provides prescriptive insights and the “next practices” that mature companies can use to go on the offensive and become disruptors themselves. More specifically, the book shows how to develop the strategies and capabilities that innovative, disruptive companies employ.

Digital Vortex: How Today’s Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors At Their Own Game.

Keep up with the latest in business and tech innovation at Telstra Vantage in our podcast series.