Outsource your 21st century business: Telstra

Cloud, specialist outsourcing organisations key to success, says Telstra CTO

Telstra chief technology officer, Hugh Bradlow

Telstra chief technology officer, Hugh Bradlow

Telstra chief technology officer, Hugh Bradlow, has called on businesses to outsource their core ICT functions to specialised companies, including Cloud operators, in order to get with the 21st century.

“The way that we have done ICT in the 20th century is not the way we need to do it for the 21st century,” Bradlow told attendees at a lunch for the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia.

Businesses risked falling prey to forthcoming “disruptive” technologies without doing so, such as increases in telecommuting, changes in videoconferencing technology and context-sensitive computing.

Instead, he urged businesses to outsource those ICT functions considered core, either specialist organisations or Cloud operators where possible.

“We have to run security for organisations," Bradlow said. "We have an operational security group who specialise in this type of thing of 300 to 400 people and it’s very hard for organisations to replicate that.

"But we can serve people that out of our Clouds with the same capability at a margin, which makes it much more cost-effective for the organisation you’re securing.”

Bradlow’s push comes as Telstra itself looks to outsource back-office and support staff through ‘Project New’, a $290 million business revitalisation project announced by chief executive, David Thodey, at the telco’s yearly financial results briefing last year.

The company’s continued efforts to cut fat and remove superfluous internal division has reduced a staff count once more than 50,000 internal employees to around 34,000.

Though outsourcing and Cloud migration strategies have resulted in companies like Jetstar whittling their resources to as little as five in-house staff, others - like maintenance services company the Programmed Group - maintain in-sourcing is required to lower costs and retain intellectual property.

Jetstar CIO, Stephen Tames, told Computerworld Australia that the budget airline’s IT outsourcing strategy, which has been in place since the company was first erected as a Qantas subsidiary, had on-flow effects to the wider group’s investigation of business service outsourcing.

Tames was also focused on developing the strategy as an “IT-as-a-service” approach, delivering the same capabilities to franchisees of the airline’s brand across Asia Pacific for a fee.

Telstra’s view on outsourcing also appears to have influenced its application platform strategies, with Bradlow likening the telco to shopping centre conglomerate Westfield.

“Westfield makes it money out of the enabling environment: The buildings, the airconditioning, the parking, the road; I’m able to draw some analogies between what we do with network capability, quality of service and those types of things and that enabling environment,” he said.

The mentality differed to that of European carriers, which had attempted to control the application store environment established by mobile phone manufacturers by establishing its own wholesale application catalogue, one which is yet to be considered successful against the likes of Apple or Google.

Bradlow thwarts emergency services’ call for spectrum

Bradlow also joined the throng of telco industry players opposing the possible use of 700MHz spectrum for emergency services use.

The Police Federation of Australia in December called for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to set aside two 10MHz bands in the 126MHz of the spectrum, set to be auctioned as part of the digital dividend in 2013, for use by law enforcement and emergency services.

However, its call was thoroughly lambasted by the communications industry, with Communications Alliance chief executive, John Stanton, labelling the proposal a “policy fumble of gothic proportions” at the recent Commsday Summit in Sydney.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association also called for “urgent” talks on the issue.

Bradlow this week said the proposal by the police association made no sense.

“That, to my mind, would be an absolute disaster because spectrum is the scarce resource and to give to an organisation that has part-time use and can never afford a network with the capability, the size and capacity we can by sharing it across the entire population seems to be a big waste of resources,” he said.

“We are working on solutions that would allow the emergency service organisations to share our network and to get the information they need in emergency situations. That is the most viable way forward both for their customers - us - and for them, by pooling that investment we’ll get the best outcome.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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