The intrinsic relationship between core network structures, work practices and strategic objectives is the essence of business success in the digital economy of the 21st century.
Director of Telstra’s Managed Network and Integrated Services Practice, Christopher Smith, says a comprehensive understanding of where a company is at today is critical to designing a dynamic network that will take that company where it wants to be tomorrow.
“We spend a lot of time understanding what’s changed in our customers’ businesses, where they’re living and working, have they acquired or divested assets, and how they have they scaled up or down,” Smith says. “[We ask] how they can take advantage of the dynamic network to deliver a flexible workplace; which has a clear link to employee advocacy and in turn profitability. It is also fundamental to a digital business, so customers can talk or interact with them the way they want to.”
Smith explains the importance of being “digital to the core” when setting strategies – factoring in such aspects as workplace flexibility; the social impacts of technology; and future trends in technology and the business opportunities they open up.
“If I’m looking at a technology blueprint, I need to consider where my customers are, where my employees are, where they want to work and how they want to work and how that drives what my network and security footprint needs to look like,” he says.
If you’re not collaborating, you’re not going to have a digital business.– Gwilym Funnel
Power from the people
Director of Telstra’s Collaboration and Customer Contact Practice, Gwilym Funnel, believes there is an inextricable link between collaboration and success in the digital economy. However, technology can only go so far in driving collaboration. “If you’re not collaborating, you’re not going to have a digital business,” Funnel says.
“A digital business is how you connect with customers online, how you connect with suppliers – but the real power comes from the knowledge about how you can do better, how you can innovate and how you can differentiate your business.
“Nobody’s worked out how to automate that yet, so the only way you can get there is by people talking, sharing ideas and working it out as a team, and that’s why every digital business has to be a collaboration business.”
Funnel stresses the importance of creating a culture that encourages collaboration, because collaboration doesn’t just happen.
“More and more businesses are becoming automated, so they’re reliant on people to come up with the ideas on how they innovate – and the only way that you can really come up with ideas is through collaboration,” he says.
“People have to be inspired by the culture and engaged as employees to collaborate and to want to contribute their ideas. Enabling collaboration in a business goes hand in hand with an organisation’s culture and values system.”
Keep your customer focus
Telstra’s executive director of mobile products, John Chambers, agrees that collaboration and innovation are driving disruptive “mobile-first business models”. While the oft-cited Uber has become a bit of a cliché, Chambers point out that even brands with an established online presence such as Twitter, Dropbox and personal-radio service Pandora are now opting to launch new services through mobile channels.
“A mobile-first business model can change an entire industry and engage customers in ways that the customers didn’t even know were possible,” Chambers says.
Which brings another key word to the digital economy mix – the somewhat old fashioned but always relevant C-word: the customer.
“The worst kind of mobile adoption is the business that says ‘here’s what we do, we’re on the net now and have been for a while and now we’ve got to get on mobile because that’s where everyone is going’,” Chambers says.
“You have to have the customer at the centre of mobile innovation. How can you change your business to best utilise opportunities and to really make it easy for your customers to engage?”
Idea in brief
- A thorough understanding of a company is critical to designing a digital network that will take the business forward
- Factors to consider include the size of the company and whether it’s growing; where customers are; workplace flexibility; and the social impacts of technology
- There is real power in people collaborating – great ideas cannot be automated
- In any mobile-first business strategy, customer focus is always crucial
Are you ready to take the next step to creating a truly collaborative environment by offering staff the flexibility around BYOD? Download the Practical considerations for your BYOD strategy White Paper to discover more.