Tag: digital-transformation

Rethinking your learning and career development


Posted on February 3, 2020

5 min read

On Friday I spoke at a CEDA event about the human value in the future of work. This is an important discussion to have as we often hear about digitisation and automation taking away jobs, when in fact it’s not so clear-cut. Because automation is also causing a shift to more complex and value-add work. And as technology evolves, new roles – some you’ve probably never heard of yet – are being created.

What is often left out of the conversation about the future of work is that human skill and capability will become more valuable than ever. What now needs to change is our approach to learning and career development.

The currency of the future and why you need to invest in it

Skills and capabilities are fast becoming the currency of the future. To be a well-rounded worker of the future it won’t be enough to have skills in technology – however basic they may be. You’ll also need to be intellectually curious, and use design-thinking, creativity, and communication skills to bring innovations to life. And you’ll need to be collaborative and highly adaptive as the way we work evolves.

Learning mostly used to be ‘set-and-forget.’ Once you got a degree or diploma you would enter the workforce for a lifelong career in the same industry or profession. But as technology and ways of working evolve so too does the need for lifelong learning. Complacency will not be rewarded.

Significant skills development will be needed every 3 – 5 years. Of course, it’s not feasible to step out of the workforce to undertake a traditional degree. So we need to shift our mindset to continuous learning – and doing so in bite-sized chunks will be critical to ensure our skills remain relevant.

Individuals certainly have a responsibility for investing in their development and ensuring their skills remain competitive, but so too do employers.

What we’re doing at Telstra to develop our people’s skills for the future

In this financial year alone we’ll invest more than $25 million in training, with more than 3,000 people picking up a new skill. That’s more than 10% of our workforce. This training covers three key areas: technical skills, customer skills and professional skills.

This builds on the significant investment we made in training during the first year of our T22 strategy to transform Telstra. This included an Agile Essentials program for around 15,000 employees to understand the fundamentals of Agile at Telstra, and was followed by more in-depth training for specific Agile roles. We also put our people leaders through a one day program so they’re better equipped to lead their teams in different ways.

Some of this training we’re running in-house. But we’re also partnering with universities to co-design and run micro-credentials in critical technology areas such as data analytics, cyber security and software defined networking. These 6-8 week programs are recognised externally and are designed to upskill our people in areas complementary to their current jobs so they’re better equipped as the skills needed for those roles evolve.

Beyond these formal programs we’re also helping our people understand the concept of continuous learning and providing easy access to short ‘just in time’ online learning modules they can access at any time as part of their regular development.

Rethinking what a ‘successful’ career looks like

Like many people I started my career in a world where I saw progression as moving up through the hierarchy in my chosen field. But as workplaces transform, the way we think about career progression – and our expectations of what a ‘successful’ career looks like – also needs to change.

Alex Badenoch spoke at a CEDA event about the part human value will play in the future of work.

The traditional, linear career path where one works their way up the ‘corporate ladder’ will still be available. But this will no longer be the norm as organisations become flatter and new ways of working like Agile are adopted.

Career progression will become more about broadening your skills and experience through lateral moves, and increasing your ability to take on work with higher complexity and impact.

A Mobile Network Engineer, for example, might move into a Mobile Product Design and Development team to deepen their understanding of what drives value for customers and help them build the commercial insight that’s so critical in strategic technology decisions.

This will not be an easy mindset shift for many who view success through their level and title in an organisation – and we’re very mindful of this.

So we’re focusing on creating a clear and compelling view of what a career at Telstra can look like and helping leaders work with their teams to tailor development plans and build the necessary skills and capabilities we need into the future.

In the short term this will involve redefining job descriptions so they’re less about a role’s span of accountability and control, and more about complexity and the level of expertise and skill.

Longer-term, we’re looking at using technology to help us make internal mobility simpler and more transparent.

All of this is to say your skills and capability will become more valuable than ever as technology evolves. It’s up to us as individuals to understand what this means and invest in our career success through continuous learning and taking advantage of opportunities to broaden our experience through increasingly more complex and impactful roles.

But more broadly, businesses, education providers and government also need to work together to develop technology talent for the future. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we’re trying to take simple, tangible steps to build a talent pipeline for our benefit – and the benefit of Australia. We all need to test and learn together – because if we’re idle or wait for a perfect solution it will be too late.

Read more about Telstra’s university partnerships to develop future technology talent.

Walking the talk on digital transformation

Business and Enterprise

Posted on January 28, 2020

4 min read

2020 is a milestone year. We all said we’d lose weight, take up that hobby or get back into that thing we loved by the time the calendar flipped over to the new decade. Many enterprise leaders said that they’d be well underway with their organisation’s digital transformation, but as it turns out, many are still working through the complexities such a transformation often demands.

How do we know that? They told us.

In both the 2020 KPMG CEO Survey and Telstra’s Digital Transformation Survey, leaders said that the one thing that keeps them up at night was… you guessed it: digital transformation.

And transformation isn’t a new worry, either. For the last three years, KPMG’s research has found that digital transformation has been the number one concern of Australian CEOs, even as it shifts dramatically under their feet.

While new concerns have emerged over the last three years (an uncertain geopolitical environment dominated by the China versus US trade war; climate change; and lack of public trust in Institutions and Corporations) digital transformation is still ranked as the number one business challenge.

Back in 2016, KPMG’s chairman collated the data and remarked that “[CEOs] feel that the next three years will be critical in shaping their industry,” adding that “CEOs are telling us the time for change is ‘now or never’”. Those critical three years have passed, and yet the concerns remain. So what’s happened?

The truth is, transformations such as these are hard. But every delay can compound the difficulties. It would be easy to sit back and throw popcorn from the cheap seats about digital transformation, but we’re not just idle observers at Telstra. We’re in the thick of it! We’re approaching the halfway point of out T22 plan, designed to streamline our business and transform it into the Telstra we want and need for the future, and it has by no means been easy. Additionally, Telstra is also working closely with many of our customers to help develop their strategies, design and implement their transformation journeys.

We’ve had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and be disciplined and courageous in the face of sweeping changes. Not only are we simplifying our offerings for our customers, but we’re also reshaping how we work in the back-end. We’re strategically investing in new IT platforms and retiring many of our legacy systems, while simultaneously building the networks of the future with 5G and IoT.

We aren’t waiting for the future to catch up to us. We’re building it.

By standing still, businesses all over the world risk the future overtaking them and digital native companies are disrupting or destroying traditional business models.  Look at the banking and fintech sector, for example. Banks all over the world are being threatened by tech companies that move faster in their space, act smarter for their customers and rapidly transform to meet new challenges. Where legacy businesses see technology and related transformation buzzwords as a way to automate jobs and streamline processes in order to save money, tech companies are using it to innovate in order to make money.

By walking the transformative talk, companies around the world can take hold of their future and participate in shaping it for their customers and their shareholders in order to keep pace with the rapid rate of change around them.

Transformation is not without risk, but nothing worth having was built without risk. We’re determined to transform from the leader of today into the winner of tomorrow, and if we can transform a 150-year old incumbent, other leaders can too.

Technology is a broad church and digital transformation is never easy. You can find more information on the four most common weaknesses businesses encounter starting their digital transformation journey here, or if you’re stuck or yet to get started, talk to Telstra Purple today.

Digitally transforming operations for police across WA

Business and Enterprise

Posted on November 8, 2019

2 min read

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.

Why the technology comfort blanket is holding back success

Business and Enterprise

Posted on March 5, 2019

6 min read

What would happen if you put a regular driver in the seat of a Formula 1 car? While they might be able to get the vehicle moving, making it around the track in a reasonable time requires a lot of skill and training. Even top drivers need a clear strategy, the right partners, the support of their team and well-oiled systems in place, or there will be no podium finish.

The same could be said for digital transformation. There is a common perception that technology is the key to digital transformation success. While technology can have a profound impact on business, Telstra research has found that, like a Formula 1 car, it’s only when people, processes and partnerships are brought together that profound change is realised and tangible business results achieved.

As part of Telstra’s Disruptive Decision-Making research, we surveyed 3,810 senior decision-makers from 12 industries in 14 markets around the world to uncover insights into strengths and weaknesses around their digital transformation programs, focusing in on decision-making.

Our research shows digital transformation has become more complex and ambitious. Decision makers are bombarded with information from every angle and face a growing number of priorities – they need to enable digital transformation, ensure security, innovate, keep up with the competition and grow their business. To do all of this is almost impossible.

So leaders have to make hard choices. What are their priorities and why? How do they manage their digital transformation programs? What is best practice and where is it not working?

In trying to understand the best way to deal with these hard choices, we found four important themes.

Disruptive Decision-Making Infographic

A whole-company approach is not common, but is needed

We started our research looking at the state of play for digital transformation across the Asia Pacific, Americas and EMEA. We quickly found that digital transformation is still very much in its infancy. In fact, 30% of senior decision-makers said they had not started their digital transformation journey, and just 21% described their business as digitally mature.

Leaders told us their digital transformation projects were fragmented. More than half said their organisation had an incremental approach driven by individual business units, and only a quarter reported a whole-of-company digital transformation strategy and approach. The need for more integration came through loud and clear, with four-fifths of leaders reporting a need for better integration in their digital transformation initiatives.

Our research showed a company-wide approach is significantly more likely to deliver business success. Organisations that had a whole-of-business digital transformation strategy were much more likely to be highly digitally mature, make extremely good digital decisions, and see the impact of digital transformation across the business.

This shows a clear opportunity for businesses to both elevate and integrate their approach to digital transformation. While more can be done to integrate digital transformation activity across the business, this needs to be led by a clear company strategy from the C-suite and company boards down.

Cyber security is top priority, but there’s a performance gap

Having too many priorities clouds decision making. In designing this research, we knew our audience would want to understand the global digital transformation priorities of businesses. But one of the most interesting findings came when we asked leaders about their performance in priority areas.

Cyber security came through as an important theme, with protecting digital assets from cyber threats, optimising security investments, and protecting, detecting and responding in real time to events all listed in the top five priorities of global companies.

When we asked about decision-making performance, however, these priorities ranked as among the lowest. In fact, the top priority for businesses, protecting digital assets from cyber threats, ranked 17th of all 17 priorities in terms of ability to deliver.

We know that major companies receive hundreds of cyber threats every day. The results indicate that companies recognise the importance of cyber security, but don’t yet have a good understanding of it to manage it effectively.

Digital transformation objectives - Disruptive Decision-Making

The technology comfort blanket

We asked business leaders to rate decision-making across four factors for success – people, processes, technology understanding and partnerships. Globally, businesses said ‘technology understanding’ was the area where they are by far most confident, but were less confident in their organisation’s abilities across the other three ingredients to success.

The research found that organisations that are highly digitally mature in their digital journey show a greater focus on people and processes. This further affirms that successful digital transformation relies on more than the right technology, it requires the right culture, the right people, and the right processes to support them. It must be a company journey that involves upskilling and changing employee mindsets, adapting structures and ways of working, and creating teams that can take advantage of new technologies.

Hard financial outcomes are difficult to show

Measuring the progress and success of any digital transformation strategy or individual project is essential. We wanted to understand the metrics for success – and the outcomes organisations are seeing.

Digital transformation outcomes - Disruptive Decision-Making

This is despite organisations increasing their investment in digital programs. Almost a third of decision makers said their company’s total spend on digital transformation would grow by more than 10% in the next three years.We found that businesses are seeing success in ‘softer’ measures, such as increased customers experience, increased customer loyalty and delivering business efficiencies. However, showing ‘hard’ outcomes such as financial returns was difficult. Of all the business outcomes surveyed, increasing profit margins and streamlining business costs saw the lowest levels of achievement.

The research told us that the benefits of a whole-of-company, leadership-led approach to digital transformation cannot be understated. The impact is not only digital, but also on the bottom line. We know that because organisations that show high digital maturity are much more likely to achieve better increases in profit margins than organisations that haven’t started their digital transformation journey. These companies are clear on what digital transformation means for their organisation, they have empowered their people, strengthened their processes and identified their partners.

For business leaders, making the right digital decisions provides enormous rewards. But it is not an easy task. No company has got this 100% right yet. It’s a journey and this research provides clear information to help businesses as they experiment, iterate and make the most of digital disruption.