Today companies need to be prepared to disrupt themselves more ambitiously than they have ever done before in order to leave their legacy behind, argues Andy Penn, CEO at Telstra.

During Telstra Vantage, Penn explained to attendees that “legacy” means legacy products, legacy processes, legacy systems and most importantly, legacy thinking. 

He said, “They will all be anchors in the world where we need to respond with far more agility to the changing needs of our customers.”

This preparation is based on the company’s strategic program called T22, announced last year. 

“Fundamentally it’s about radically simplifying our products and propositions for our customers, radically changing our digital platforms, CRM systems, billing systems, our ecommerce systems. 

“It’s about investing for the future to create the platform for 5G. Importantly it’s about adopting new ways of working and changing and changing the way in which we work but adopting agile as a new methodology.” 

Three technologies converging

Andy Penn, CEO, Telstra

The Telstra head told attendees the convergence of cloud computing, 5G and AI is about to launch the world forward in an incredible period of innovation and change, to the point where the rate and pace of change is likely to never be as slow again as it is today.

“The question for us is are we able to surf that tidal wave of change or be drowned by it? Because what does it mean for business.

“We see it everyday, Uber disrupting the taxi industry and Airbnb disrupting the hotel industry. Of course, we all know these examples but the point to bear in mind is that they are just the canaries in the coal mine of digital disruption.”

With cloud computing, the CEO said we are creating a world where compute capability and compute capacity is increasing exponentially, putting it into the hands of business, individuals, entrepreneurs, cheaply and flexibly. 

“In the area of AI itself, compute power is doubling every three months,” he said.

When it comes to 5G, Penn points out three reasons why this technology will be different to 4G; latency, capacity and device density. 

Firstly, latency which isn’t a problem for those who are just streaming or emailing but Penn said for those in the world of robotics, for instance, it becomes a critical issue. 

In terms of capacity, Penn said when the company projects forward to the world of the future, they look at the amount of technology and the demand for data, and build the required capacity into its network.

Device density refers to the number of things they can connect in a single cover area. “5G is the first network that has been designed for the world of IoT, a world in which expects the world of connected things to be 50 billion by 2023 alone.”

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