Telstra is not traditionally known as a SaaS provider but with the international launch of Telstra’s Applications portfolio they are hoping to change that perception. Telstra’s previous SaaS portfolio was called T-Suite and hosts applications such as Office365, Symantec and McAfee. Its user numbers have grown to 400,000 increasing by 67% in 2014. While this growth is impressive it isn’t in line with competitors and the new solution aims to solve that.
Interestingly Telstra will not yet close off T-Suite, it is still growing and will be attractive to many of its customers as it seeks to grow market share especially for Office365. The new solution is aimed at global enterprises and has selected applications that Telstra believe will appeal to an enterprise that wants to become digital quickly.
Jim Clarke, Telstra’s Head of International Products and Pricing explained further: “Apps are central to many forms of customer and employee interaction today. Recently, at Telstra we hit a tipping point with more than 50 per cent of all our consumer customer service transactions now being completed digitally including through our customer service app, with online customer interactions for Telstra doubling in four years.
“We recognise that without adopting and innovating with the solutions we design, we cannot expect to inspire those who we want to work with.
“For us, our starting point with new products and initiatives is digital first, and with digital technology taking us into a world of rapid change, constant innovation and competition and to succeed, all organisations must have a clear digital technology strategy or should prepare to fall behind.”
What is the Telstra Applications portal
Telstra were unusually reticent with their press release in not revealing exactly where the new applications will be available from. Traditionally they have made them available initially within Australia, following by Asia and finally Europe. It will be interesting to hear whether this has changed.
In order to differentiate it from T-Suite it is possible that Telstra has chosen to launch their Applications Portfolio with an interesting selection of software aimed at providing enterprise customers with the ability to become digital. This is an interesting strategy and may allow it to stand out from other companies that either bring the standard portfolio (such as those T-Suite has) or has a vertical industry bias because of their history.
- Kony – Multi-channel mobile app development platform that enables a ‘write once, run everywhere’ approach across multiple devices
- DocuSign – eSignature and digital management solution that enables easy, efficient and secure signing of electronic documents.
- TeleSign – Mobile identity solution for user verification, authentication and fraud detection.
- Whispir – Conversation and messaging platform allowing rich conversations with targeted stakeholders across multiple communication channels.
When or what Telstra will host for the other digital partners has not yet been announced. It will be interesting to see the nature of the Box implementation and whether they act merely as a portal for the solution utilising the core Telstra network to provide private connections.
In bringing these applications closer to the customer one wonders whether Telstra has discovered a niche in the market that it can take advantage of. If it is able to tie up exclusive deals within its home regions for a number of software companies this could become become a strong revenue stream. When coupled with the applications still hosted within T-Suite it will be closer to its goal of becoming a total IT Services company
Clarke perceives that it is the Telstra network that gives the company its advantage, which might infer that its focus is the APAC region. He commented: “Networks remain the cornerstone on which applications are built, and our heritage in this area means we can now maximise our technology offerings to empower our customers.
“We do this by giving greater access and flexibility to the tools they need whilst saving time, reducing costs, increasing productivity, improving collaboration and providing a greater level of security. This first release of apps is just the beginning and we look forward to announcing more developments in the coming months.”
This is an interesting move by Telstra as they seek to gain traction in the cloud market. The direction seems unique and if it is able to carve out a niche in delivering these applications to Enterprises to aid them on their digital journey they will gain market share.
It will not be an easy road though as these applications are not necessarily the market leader in their field and Telstra may be backing the wrong company with some of them as they end up being swallowed by larger competitors.