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Being too late in digital more costly than being too early: joint Deloitte Telstra report


30 November 2012: Digital transformations facing large corporations are beyond typical planning cycles and most CEO tenures. This makes good timing absolutely critical when it comes to allocating resources effectively.

Leading the economy successfully through such fast changing markets requires new business models, great customer service, competitive intelligence, agility and speed, and talent according to a new report co-authored by Telstra Corporation Ltd and Deloitte titled Taking Leadership in a Digital Economy.

“Organisations set to win in the digital economy share these five characteristics,” said Steve Hallam, Deloitte Digital Partner who co-authored the report. “And one thing is certain - being too late is more costly than being too early.”

Gerd Schenkel, head of Telstra Digital who co- authored the report said: “The changes the white paper is talking about are transformational.  There is no debate that digital innovation – including advances in computing, networks, devices and the capabilities they unleash like cloud computing and data analytics – is a profound force in our economy.

“At Telstra we continue to drive an enormous change program to adapt to these new opportunities. This is changing the way we work driven around the needs of our customers and the use of online to self serve and communicate with us.  We have, and will continue, to build a comprehensive and integrated digital experience across multiple channels including online, mobiles, tablets and social media.

“Our intent is to make customers’ interaction with Telstra simpler and more convenient, which has resulted in significant take-up of our digital services.  We commenced this journey 18 months ago and now 35 per cent of service transactions are completed online and our digital strategy allows our customers to deal with us at a time that is convenient to them across multiple devices and platforms,” Schenkel said.

It’s strengthening these customer relationships and having the foresight to explore community forums, and engagement tools like gamification, as well as collaborative consumption that will begin to differentiate those able to anticipate and be ready for digital disruption and those that aren’t.

“It’s not about what you own, but what you do,” said Steve Hallam. “Deloitte forecasts the direct contribution of the internet to the Australian economy to be $70b in 2016 – growing roughly 7% each year over the next four years.”

In a recent research paper, Digital Disruption: Short fuse, big bang?  Deloitte predicted a very significant impact from digital technology on eight out of 18 industries that account for 32% of the economy. The most significant digital disruptions were forecast to occur in ICT and media, the financial and professional services industries, retail, real estate, arts and recreation.

“All too often incumbents forget to look beyond their traditional boundaries and miss the most important competition of all, that of substitutes,” Hallam said.

“In the digital economy, past competitors may also become future partners, and current customers may become future competitors. Traditional value chains that were held together by physical limitations dissolve and new, networked-based competition begins to form,” he said.

The report also outlines the danger of the ‘skills drain’.

“In the digital economy, talent is even more important than in traditional sectors,” said Gerd Schenkel.

“Employees with experience in digital roles are often tempted by overseas technology hubs, making their retention an important goal.

“Remember that good people do good work,” he said.

The report concludes that if Australia’s corporate leaders heed the opportunities of a digital economy and take leadership, then Australia is in for a prosperous future.

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Please visit to download a copy of the report.

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