Telstra in the year of COVID-19

Telstra in the year of COVID-19

Telstra CEO Andy Penn shares his views on the value of digitisation for Australia

Andy Penn (Telstra)

Andy Penn (Telstra)

Credit: Telstra

Telstra is claiming that digitisation projects could pump $90 billion into the economy and create 250,000 new jobs by 2025.  

Speaking at the telco's Vantage Remixed conference’s keynote, Telstra CEO Andy Penn said that the opportunity for businesses to embrace digitisation is ripe for the picking. 

“While many businesses are clearly doing it tough, many have also grasped the opportunity to accelerate that digital transformation, and this is going to be critical to their success in the future,” he said. 

“It's also going to be critical to the success of the Australian economy, which is in all of our interests. 

Discussions during the first day of Vantage Remixed conference circled around the point of businesses increasing their digitisation efforts to reach those predictions, stemming from modelling by PwC that the telco commissioned.

However, that $90 billion figure is reliant on a number of factors — the most important one being businesses actually decide to go for these digitisation projects. 

Telstra Purple 

Telstra has played its own role in these efforts to increase digitisation through Telstra Purple, the consolidation of its professional and technical service businesses that launched at Vantage last year. 

The service arm has seen a notable rise in interest for various solutions to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Michael Ebeid, group executive of enterprise. 

“What we've seen is an acceleration of demand for particularly cloud services as more and more organisations are moving their workloads into the cloud, as well as a lot of projects transforming networks to SD-WAN networks,” he said.  

There’s also been demand for collaboration tools, with Telstra Purple helping call centres to support their employees working remotely, which Ebeid noted has included some of the major banks and government call centres. 

A few examples of Telstra Purple’s efforts to accelerate digitisation projects during the coronavirus pandemic include its work with state agency Ambulance Victoria, bakery group Wild Breads and superannuation fund UniSuper.  

In all three cases, the organisations accelerated digitisation projects that ended up mitigating the impact of the pandemic in some way. 

With Ambulance Victoria, Telstra Purple developed the Critical Health Resource Information System, or CHRIS, to provide locations of available resources, like hospital beds, at a glance. 

Meanwhile, UniSuper needed to implement an automated solution and augment its infrastructure to support increased volumes of early release of superannuation payments — a policy implemented by the Federal Government for individuals to soften any financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

In Wild Breads’ case, predevelopment begun in November 2019 on a direct to customer platform for bread delivery. Development kicked off at the start of the pandemic, with work on the project accelerating shortly after. 


This effort isn’t just on the shoulders of businesses however, as Penn spent some time during the conference outlining some policy and regulatory framework changes to reach the hypothesised $90 billion. 

The first of those changes, the CEO said, would be a review of legislation and regulation rules “that stand in the way” of having a paperless, virtual and cashless economy. 

Read more on the next page...

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