Telstra to launch Web-based collaboration tool

Inspired by a need for better communication and collaboration between teams of disparate workers, Telstra has developed a Web-based contact centre, which it will launch as a service in July.

Simply called Web Contact Centre, the hosted solution integrates a number of technologies from different vendors to provide e-mail, instant messaging, presence, voice and videoconferencing.

Telstra general manager of application network services, Rob Roe said there are a number of beta customers already using Web Contact Centre which will give enterprise collaboration capabilities to the SME market.

"Web Contact Centre enables us to go into an asynchronous world," Roe said today during his presentation at this year's Mercury World conference in Melbourne. "We can do a whole bunch of collaboration stuff now and can start linking in tools and process collaboration, [so] the virtual enterprise is really starting to hum along."

Roe, a former Kaz executive, said Telstra has partnered with Microsoft for Enterprise Communicator and Seimens for Live Connect for the solution so workers can see who is online and available for instant messaging, and whether a person is on a phone call. Controlling diversion to a mobile phone is also possible.

Web Contact Centre enables better visibility, accountability, and time to market for projects, Roe said. The application uses Knowledge Link to enable multiple people to work on a single project.

"I can now see who's approved something and where it's up to," he said.

Internally, Telstra is working with Mercury to deploy 85 "robots" to measure BigPond's performance.

"The robots are running across cable and wireless [links] and we can point the robots to any Web site and measure its performance," Roe said.

Mercury's Asia Pacific president, Graham Sowden said because business will always find IT to be complex and complicated, IT needs to change its approach.

"[I don't mean] stop doing what we're doing, but add something else because business's view of IT is it's expensive and inefficient," Sowden said. "IT needs to demonstrate it can mitigate business risk; we have to stop considering IT as the 'kitchen' and look at the wider [view]. Diving deeper into the technology is an easy trap to fall into. We do have to add another dimension if we're going to break the cycle of being asked to do more with less."

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