Colin Zhang is a ‘millennial’ working at Telstra Wholesale

5 Jul 2016

"Only 1% of the world feels empowered by technology"- Kathryn Parsons

I am Colin and I am a 'millennial' working at Telstra Wholesale.

To many, the word millennial is often associated with an image of tech savvy gen Y's with their myriad of gadgets. iPads, Fit Bits or Smart Watches in tow, while being in sync with the latest internet trends and acronyms.

Although this is a fairly accurate portrayal – yes, I do own all of the above – there is something inherently wrong with the implied message behind this image.

Truth be told, technology challenges me as much anybody. There are many times when I do not feel empowered by technology. So how can we better understand the opportunities and capabilities that digital presents?

The fourth Australian Digital Summit was an eye-opener, featuring high level speakers such as Senator Mitch Fifield – Minster for Communications, Dr Larry Marshall – CEO of CSIRO, David Rohrsheim – GM from Uber ANZ and Karen Stocks –MD of Twitter Australia.

Telstra's own leaders were present at the event with our CEO Andy Penn, Retail Group Executive, Karsten Wildberger and Co-Founder of muru-D Annie Parker, all sharing their insights on the opportunities enabled by the Digital Age.

"Digital, there is no going back." – Andy Penn

We are firmly in the Digital Age. Traditional industries are being disrupted where consumer pain points exist. Every aspect of our lives and work is changing.

But is the world, or more specifically, business ready for this disruptive change?

Disruption is occurring because curious companies are finding ways of solving consumer pain points better, faster and cheaper than the incumbent. As consumers, we expect more in a world that is always on and always connected. Hence businesses like Uber, Airbnb and Amazon, who provide an awesome digital experience, are able to disrupt traditional players, who are all too often stumbling over legacy systems and processes.

Automation of jobs is happening around the world too, to the extent that we could see a 'technology underclass' forming – it's either automate, or be automated. It has been estimated that over 40% of Australian jobs (including high skilled roles) could be made redundant within 10-15 years. I don't really have any plans, do you?

"We are in an Era of Extreme Consumer Expectations." – Rob Tarkoff

In order to survive, businesses need to focus on making the digital customer experience not just 'OK' but 'great'. This means understanding your customers, abandoning age-old practices and investing in future capabilities to exceed expectations. The revenue then follows. A recent study by tech company, SAP illustrated

this. It found that if a consumer had a great digital experience, they were four times more likely to remain a customer of that brand.                                        

This focus on customer advocacy resonates very well with my experience so far at Telstra. As Andy mentioned in his keynote, Telstra is transitioning to a world-class technology company where customer advocacy is our number one priority. We are putting our customers at the heart of what we do and we are continuously investing in new technologies and new capabilities in order to stay at the forefront of the Digital Age.

The Digital Age offers both consumers and businesses a myriad of benefits. For business, it's a chance to build far greater brand loyalty and advocacy, from becoming just a functional and operational benefit to a consumer, through to offering them a far more emotional and tribal experience that ensure they become a customer for life.

For the consumer, digital offers so much in the terms of the experience we can now get from the brands we interact with. We want things to be available when we need them, 24/7, as well as interacting with a brand that can second guess what we need. Although the interesting juxtaposition here is that while we crave greater personalisation, we don't want it to infringe on our privacy– so getting that balance right is important.

As Dr Larry Marshall so accurately put it, invention is only the start of the journey; it is innovation that ultimately delivers value.

So, as a millennial at Telstra Wholesale, and through the 2015 Australian Digital Summit, I have begun to understand the opportunities of digitalisation.

Source: Tesltra Whosale Blog

Colin Zhang is a final year Electrical Engineering student interning at Telstra Wholesale in the Data, IP and Network Application Services team. During his time at Telstra, he has worked on a range of new initiatives across the business, providing his fresh perspectives and unique ideas. Colin is part of the UNSW Co-op Program, who in partnership with Telstra Wholesale, have supported numerous students with industry experience and professional development since 2011.