By Julian Bajkowski
A major organisational overhaul at Australia’s national carrier Telstra has reset organisational and executive reporting lines for the business unit that sells into government as the corporation seeks to grow its portfolio of communications and technology services.
Announced this week at a shareholder briefing, the latest corporate realignment has created a new Global Enterprise and Services group that will focus on operating as a “global scale, industry-based services and solutions business” that accounts for around $5 billion in revenue.
Headed by former Telstra chief operations officer Brendon Riley, the new unit combines responsibility for Network Application Services worldwide, Global Applications and Platforms, a new cloud division, Telstra Ventures, Telstra Enterprise and Government and Defence.
Present Telstra Enterprise and Government group managing director, Paul Geason, remains in his current role and will report to Mr Riley.
The latest management change is a significant one for government customers because it essentially combines the company’s enterprise-grade carriage, network, hosting, cloud and development offerings under a single structure that will be able to offer more integrated services and solutions to public sector customers.
Telstra’s foray into cloud computing, initially through Chief Executive David Thodey’s former stomping ground of Telstra Enterprise and Government, is potentially an enticing proposition for public sector organisations.
One selling point is that for Telstra’s cloud is that it holds real potential to reduce costs by integrating what were once stand-alone products sourced from different suppliers â€‘ like software, hardware, network infrastructure and communications services.
But Telstra’s important added advantage is its strong history of providing trusted security sensitive services to government, dating back to federal ownership, that are hard for overseas owned providers to match.
A big challenge for potential government and business cloud computing customers, at least until recently, have been regulatory hurdles on allowing sensitive information on customers and clients to be sent offshore where hosting and processing costs are cheaper.
Those issues have prompted a number of cloud services providers, notably Amazon Web Services, to recently invest in establishing local, onshore facilities to tap into local demand.
As rivals for domestic business increase their local presence, Telstra is clearly keen to demonstrate it is shifting up a competitive gear.
Telstra chief executive David Thodey said cloud services were “now extending to business critical applications.”
“The rate of innovation in building seamless end-to end solutions to meet business needs is accelerating,” Mr Thodey said.
Also accelerating fast in government is the mainstream use of wireless tablets and smartphones that are usually integrated into corporate systems but rely on mobile networks rather than older fixed line infrastructure.
Given Telstra’s heavy investment in its 3G and 4G mobile networks in regional areas, the carrier is clearly intent on seeing off mobile rivals and maintain on the basis of better network coverage away from metropolitan areas.
Also announced at the restructure is a new foray by Telstra into the notoriously difficult arena of eHealth services that has confounded all tiers of government and suppliers in terms of making real progress towards a national system that is provides real clinician utility and is interoperable.
Mr Thodey said that the ‘internet of things’ or the industrial internet, where machines talk to each other via internet protocol, was a change that was now underway.
He said changes in eHealth, smart meters and vehicle tracking would “drive a fundamental change in our landscape.”
“We recently [passed] the one million mark for our machine-to machine services,” Mr Thodey said.
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