As the Australian economy repositions for future growth - driven by modernisation agendas and supercharged by a desire to enhance innovation levels - forward-thinking partners are sizing up the potential of digitisation.
The channel recognises that change is required but lacks direction and execution, creating a need for viable digital strategies aligned to emerging technologies and modern-day partnering.
“If I were to summarise this year in one word it would be - unprecedented,” observed Nevash Pillay, director of Global Indirect Channels at Telstra. “No one could have predicted how challenging this year would be.
“As individuals, as professionals, as humans, this year has redefined a lot of the things we once considered ‘normal’. And this has caused us to question: what's next?”
Citing Telstra commissioned research by PwC, Pillay projected that digitisation will add $90 billion in growth to the Australian economy by 2025, placing the channel at the centre of a sizeable shift in market dynamics.
“To put that into perspective, that's a whole year's worth of economic growth for Australia,” Pillay confirmed. “This opportunity for digitisation is also expected to bring over 250,000 jobs, not just within the technology sector but across multiple key industries including education, healthcare, supply chain and government.
“So, when we ask, the question what's next? The answer, in short, is that while global disruption has negatively impacted 86 per cent of Australian business, it has provided the opportunity for a more digital Australia.”
Addressing more than 500 technology executives during EDGE 2020 - an invite-only virtual experience housing partners, distributors and vendors across Australia and New Zealand - Pillay outlined four ways in which the ecosystem can capitalise on increased demand for digitisation in both the short- and long-term.
“The first step is to embrace digitisation for yourself,” Pillay advised. “This is something we’re learning at Telstra, as part of our T22 strategy. We know that there is no use solving digitisation challenges for our customers before we’ve solved them for ourselves.”
In response, Telstra has increased investment in digitising the way in which partners work alongside internal sales teams, evident through the revamp of Telstra Partner Central.
Operating as an interface allowing Telstra and partners to collaborate via a single platform, Pillay said the overhaul has improved collaboration by providing a “360-degree view of customer opportunities”, supported by “better deal transparency and automated workflows”.
In addition to driving a more “co-ordinated approach” in serving customers, the platform also has built-in incumbency rules to protect both end-user and partner interests.
“This has made us more responsive to customers, by enabling our partners to complete service calls within hours instead of weeks,” Pillay added. “It also empowers people because our partners have the right information available to them when they need it, alongside improving accessibility and visibility.”
Despite acknowledging the need for continual future improvement, Pillay stressed the importance of partners also adopting digitisation from within to enhance customer support levels.
“The second step is for partners to define a clear value proposition,” she said. “Partners should define their value proposition carefully. If you try to specialise in everything, you won't specialise in anything.
“Our partners that have seen the best results have aligned their business to a customer segment or vertical and have become experts in a specific business challenge. Once we know what makes the partner special, it makes it easier for us to align our capabilities to their strengths.”
Delving deeper, the third step is centred around building specialist capabilities and industry expertise in acknowledgment that as digital strategies take shape, technology deployments are becoming more complex.
“No partner alone is going to have all the specialities required,” Pillay cautioned. “This means collaboration is key. But customers don’t want to deal with multiple parties if they can help it, they want simplicity. This leads to building capabilities through partnering with others or developing a small ecosystem of partners with diverse capabilities around key customer segments.”
For Pillay, the business is responding to enhanced levels of partner-to-partner collaboration through integrating Telstra Purple - launched to the market in September 2019 - within the Australian ecosystem of technology providers.
“We're bringing together partners with complementary skillsets to collaborate with Purple so we can better serve our customers' diverse digital transformation strategies,” Pillay added.
The fourth and final step, according to Pillay, is demonstrating technology thought leadership among customers through assuming “trusted advisor” status - especially evident in an expanding mid-market sector across Australia.
“We see our role as working with partners to determine their capabilities and showing customers what's possible,” she said. “Digitisation presents Australia with a rich set of opportunities. The question remains - what role will your organisation play in establishing what comes next? There has never been a more urgent need or a better time to consider your approach to partnering.”
Telstra on-demand sessions at EDGE 2020 include; Network Transformation: Converting customer priorities into partner success and How partners can collaborate to meet changing customer requirements.
To watch on-demand EDGE 2020 sessions - click here.