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Optus Business restructures, becomes 'single ICT organisation'

Optus is changing from a network and telco company only to become more of a complete ICT organisation under a new structure change.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor on

Optus has reshaped its business structure to take a "single ICT organisation" approach rather than just a set of disparate organisations with strengths in either telecommunications or ICT, but not both.

Optus acquired Australian IT services company Alphawest in 2005, integrating it into its business to take advantage of its skills and services. Now, parent company SingTel will bring its subsidiary NCS into the mix, providing Optus Alphawest with additional experiences in application developing and consulting.

"The integration of Optus Business and Alphawest, and the alignment of NCS in Australia, brings together the strength of our telecommunications and ICT capabilities under one roof," Optus Business managing director John Paitaridis said.

SingTel Group ICT CEO Bill Chang argued that looking to the future, businesses will need to face challenges that deal with more issues than many solution providers can offer. At the company's Vision 2013 event in Sydney on Thursday, Chang used the example of education.

"[Education] will be conducted anywhere, anytime, over any devices. It will also allow tools to allow collaboration with peers, with teachers, with people that they've never met before, and also ensuring that there is active interactive learnings to be conducted."

"To do this, applications, learning management systems, and content will all move to the cloud. Devices, tablets, will all come ubiquitously linked up to be able to enable this, and also, analytics will come in to be able to be used to do assessments."

Chang argues that businesses seeking to keep up will need expertise across several key areas — mobility, smart machines, security, everything as a service, social, and big data/analytics.

"These are the six hard trends, major trends, that will happen no matter what," he said.

Optus Business has set up six Centres of Excellence in areas that will address these trends and bring together its specialists. These centres of excellence will be for cloud, collaboration, contract centres, bring your own device, machine-to-machine, and business application services.

Business application services in particular will house the newly integrated NCS cloud and mobility offerings.

"These are the bets that we're placing. We're investing in these particular capabilities both in terms of resource, in some cases capital, in a lot of cases [learning and development]. We are soaking our people, particularly our telco people, in what it means to be in the SI [systems integrator] and the IT world, and we're bringing our SI and IT folk into the networking environment, as well around training and understanding products and services," Paitaridis told journalists at a media briefing.

Part of the change has been an examination of what channels organisations use in interacting with their customers. This comes in the form of Optus' Future of Business report, which highlighted that more organisations need to develop a multi-channel strategy, including online channels, to engage with their customers.

Paitaridis said that the report has shaped Optus' own evaluation of what it additionally needs to do as part of its restructure.

"We've taken the learnings out of the Future of Business research, and we're investing in the areas that will help ... our customers meet the demands of [their] customers. Our new Optus Business structure will have networking, managed services, mobility applications, and cloud all under one roof — [an] integrated, end-to-end proposition, domestic and regional, with customer-centricity at the heart of our strategy," Paitaridis said.

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