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The Human Cloud

This month we look at the massive impact mobile technologies are having on every aspect of our organisations, focussing on the techniques, technologies and agile approaches that will accelerate success.

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2 min

Supermobility for an agile workforce

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Supermobility for an agile workforce

The key to creating an agile workforce lies in a customer-centric approach to mobile adoption.

There’s a sense of urgency about mobile adoption, but it’s the approach companies take to the shift that determines their success, executive director of Telstra Home & Premium Services, John Chambers, says.

“The worst kind of mobile adoption is to think, ‘well, we’ve been on the net for a while and now we’ve got to go mobile because that’s what everyone is doing’,” Chambers says. “You have got to have the customer at the centre.”

 

Customer-centric mobile adoption

Customers want the ease of experience that mobility provides. And businesses stand to profit, too. Referring to a recent client, Chambers says: “A tree-lopping company, for example, has hundreds of people in the field. Rather than use paper, they’ve said ‘let’s package everything into a simple tablet application’.”

The app provides training and health and safety information as well as business systems. “Everything the person in the field needs is in one place, always available,” Chambers says. The result is rapid growth. “They’re winning more business because people are amazed at the pace they can deploy quality people, and it’s all done through their mobile app.”

 

Measurable results

Mobile offers a new world of customer engagement and employee empowerment. Both rely on access to data that allows mobile employees to solve customers’ problems faster, make sales more easily and understand their corporate objectives.

But mobile is no different to any other technology initiative – unless staff are clear about the business goals and measure the results, mobility will not change key metrics.

Companies are establishing specific and quantifiable goals, such as a percentage increase in sales or fewer errors, to show a clearer return on their mobility investment.

 

The worst kind of mobile adoption is to think, ‘well, we’ve been on the net for a while and now we’ve got to go mobile because that’s what everyone is doing’.
– John Chambers, executive director, Telstra Home & Premium Services

 

Partnerships to deliver mobile

Customers expect offline companies – such as the tree surgeons mentioned above – to become partner with the online world and become mobile, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The report, Connecting Companies: Strategic Partnerships for the Digital Age, highlights the “always-on” consumer. “Consumers are moving effortlessly between the real world and the digital world,” the EIU’s John Ferguson says. “The research was to understand how companies view that revolution.”

The research showed companies embracing digital disruption. “We asked how does your company perceive digital disruption and 38 per cent said they embrace it,” says Ferguson. “Another 24 per cent said we are responsible for that change. People showed no fear.”

British bike company Brompton’s, for example, partnered with the trusted British postal service, Royal Mail, which launched an e-commerce site in China selling distinctively British products. Entering new markets is now the second biggest reason for entering digital partnerships.

 

Changing people first

Established companies face a challenge from new competitors that are born mobile.

“Much of what businesses are doing is embedded in old systems,” Chambers says. But it’s not just about legacy software. “Changing people’s ideas, moving them away from their desk and saying ‘you can be free’ can be quite problematic.”

However, home mobile technologies such as Fitbit are helping to change attitudes at work. “It’s exciting,” Chambers says.

Some professions are of course taking to mobile with enthusiasm. For district nurses, the ability to start the day by logging in from home and uploading case notes means they can spend more time with the people who matter most – their patients.

 

Idea in brief

  • Mobile offers a new world of customer engagement and employee empowerment
  • Consider how customers interact with your app at every stage of development
  • Set specific and measurable goals to see if your mobile investment is paying off
  • Some companies establish unexpected digital partnerships to enter new markets

Ask your AE how you too can empower your workforce, or visit Telstra’s Workforce Mobility Solutions.

 
2 min

It’s a gas: How BOC Australia got mobile

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It’s a gas: How BOC Australia got mobile

Mobility makes it easier for customers to do business: routine transactions can be fast-tracked while ensuring customer data is protected.

A mobility solution adopted by Australia’s largest supplier of industrial gas, BOC Australia, has empowered their workforce, boosted productivity, reduced costs and helped staff deliver better customer service.

Designed in conjunction with Telstra, the BOC Australia mobile app turns compatible staff devices into portable point-of-sale scanners, substantially reducing the rollout’s hardware costs while offering staff greater flexibility.

The result is an app that has transformed the management of BOC’s gas bottle fleet from cumbersome double handling of data to a paperless, agile transaction.

 

Ask your account executive how Telstra can partner with business on the digital transformation journey.

[transcript]

So previously the customer came into our store we’d go out and scan the cylinder, we’d come back into the store and would process their order, then we’d go back out to the gas dock, and we’d scan the cylinder and then the customer would walk back into the store to get all their paper work.

Everyone wants simplicity these days

BOC is Australia’s largest supplier of industrial gas.

I’m John Coyne, I’m responsible for our light industries which includes about 300,000 customers.

We operate about 68 stores and we have about another 800 agents who sell gas on our behalf.

So one of our challenges was to be easier to do business with our customers.

The my agent mobile app, it’s got a very easy flow to it, essentially as we go out to the dock we scan a customer’s return cylinder which links up to their account.

The app itself tends to walk you through the process.

We needed to bring in some outside experience. We’re not experts in apps so we brought in partners Telstra and some app designers to help us come up with something that was easy to use.

We’re rolling this out right across Australia so we really needed to make sure we’re with a partner that had a really stable network.

The benefits for a company like us is we’re in a paperless system we just introduced so definitely easier to maintain… administration.

Don’t have to run around chasing the bottles it’s just easier to locate and exchange them.

Typically a customer may have taken ten minutes to do their transactions, we can now do that under 2 minutes, if you multiply all those transactions up, it’s probably about 30,000 hours, which is really lovely, for us that’s an opportunity to re-invest our time with our customers.

We are now already started the process of deploying this on a global basis.

For us to be able to interact with our customers in a mobile way is really really important for our future.

For every new customer who comes in we say oh we have this new procedure now and they go oh wow, technology’s moving so far forward now.

 
 
2 min

Education everywhere

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Education everywhere

Vocational education needs to evolve to a new way of teaching and learning – with technology at its core.

Although her title is director of teaching and learning at Victoria’s vocational training Chisholm Institute, Amanda Achterberg is part futurist, part business catalyst.

Not only is she looking to prepare the college’s students for the workplaces of tomorrow, she also has to double guess the skills and attributes that will carry the institute’s students into the future.

“Our students need to understand that they can you can work anywhere, at any time, on any device and still be really productive,” Achterberg says. “I want vocational education to look more business-focused for the industries we work with, and the contention around that is that we’ve got to be current for what’s needed right now, but we also have to look at the emerging needs five, 10 years down the track.”

To create these truly forward-looking educational opportunities, Achterberg has had to challenge the thinking of teaching staff and educational administrators and find creative ways to support staff to deliver some 400 courses that in any given year are preparing more than 55,000 students for the jobs of tomorrow.

 

What I’ve been doing in the last couple of years is looking at the interconnection between learning spaces, capability and technology.
Amanda Achterberg, Executive Director, Teaching and Learning, Chisholm Institute

 

Excellent change management is often the key to creating successful collaborative outcomes – talk to your account director to find out more.

[transcript]

I’m the type of person that probably pushes the boundaries a little bit so that, change the space, change the activity and push without overly giving [people] that safety net, but knowing there is a safety net at the back. So that if it does go, you know, pear-shaped, we’ve got that support.

What I’ve been doing in the last couple of years is looking at the interconnection between learning spaces, capability and technology.

The human collaboration that happens in a learning space, in an environment [that] allows for that kind of tactical, applied-based approach to learning.

Traditionally our teachers come with really high-level industry skills, like fantastic technical skills, but they’re not natural educators.

We’re building learning spaces where we don’t have the barriers. There’s no lectern, there’s no front of the classroom, there’s no whiteboard, you know. As a facilitator, you’re in there with the learners. You know, asking the questions, pushing the boundaries.

Week one, every student turned up with either a tablet or a laptop – and they were ready. They were on the learning management system because we’d sent the links beforehand. They’d already engaged in it and our teachers, with me in the room went, ah-ha, right.

So less of the, “I’m going to tell you what to do” and more of the “here’s a problem, what are we going to do about it?”

I’m of the approach that if we actually push our teachers a little bit further, they’ll actually jump and take that risk. I want vocational education to look more business-focused for the industries we work with.

We’ve got to be current for what’s needed right now, but we also have to look at the emerging – the emerging needs five, 10 years down the track.

 

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