That Pretty much covers IT

Telstra aspires to be all things to all people, but can only achieve this through strong relationships with its employees, partners and customers, says Ted Pretty.

Speaking at a Gartner e-business seminar yesterday, Pretty, Telstra's newly anointed convergent business group managing director, advised dotcom startups and other IT industry practitioners to partner with other specialist companies in order to provide optimal communications services.

"I don't think we'll (Telstra) do it by ourselves," he mused.

Only through partnerships with traditional technology companies, such as IBM and Cisco, did Telstra expect to meet market expectations of speed, low charge and high returns, he said.

Pretty said traditional business "hierarchies" inhibited IT companies from achieving their potential. "The internet is more anarchic."

A company will benefit more when its employees feel "empowered" rather than constrained by their role, he explained.

Besides, he said, management typically responds positively to the challenges introduced by "new blood".

Similarly, Pretty stressed the importance of customer empowerment. He believes that many companies operating online unwittingly repel customers due to a tight-lipped "front-of-house" presence.

"You've got to open up your organisation," he said.

He added that e-business customers and partners were typically unimpressed with IT-related "buzzwords". "Get rid of the jargon," he said. "Get rid of the incredibly boring brochureware that's suddenly stuck online.

"Get back to simplicity."

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