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Case Studies

Dual Purpose

At Telstra, mobile CRM is a sales tool—and a selling point.

by Alison Weiss

May 2015

It is a challenging and exciting time in the enterprise mobility space, given the pace of change in the market and many organizations thinking about how they can best leverage these developments. Telstra, the largest telecommunications and services provider in Australia, boasts a strong B2B sales force and is a full-service provider of connectivity and IT applications and services. The company is also fast becoming a leader in personal productivity and mobile customer relationship management (CRM).

Snapshot

Telstra

    Location: Melbourne, Australia

    Industry: Telecommunications and information services

    Partner: Infosys

    Oracle solution: Siebel Customer Relationship Management 9.0

Peter Scougall

Chief of Staff for Global Sales

Length of tenure: 22 years

Education: Bachelor of Business degree in accountancy, Queensland University of Technology; MBA, Griffith University


Until recently, Telstra salespeople across Australia couldn’t take advantage of enterprise mobility out in the field. They recorded sales opportunities offline and waited to go into the office to enter information into a PC-based CRM system, which resulted in reduced customer responsiveness, lower productivity, and inaccurate forecasting. Telstra’s enterprise IT leadership began work with Oracle and Infosys in 2013, to develop an enhanced mobile CRM system that would improve the customer experience and be a showcase for helping customers embrace new technologies to drive productivity and innovation in their own organizations.

According to Peter Scougall, chief of staff for global sales in Telstra’s Global Enterprise and Services division, the IT team knew that Telstra’s sales staff wanted a more modern CRM application that was mobile-enabled. But first, IT needed to evaluate the existing system, tools, and business processes and develop a clear mobile CRM strategy. Then it had to involve end users to determine the best (and fastest) way to execute an improved system for the sales force.

scougall headshot scougall headshot
We can talk with passion about enterprise mobility because we’ve lived it and implemented it successfully.”–Peter Scougall, Chief of Staff for Global Sales, Telstra Global Enterprise and Services

What they found was a solution that could serve internal and external clients. “It would provide a double benefit,” says Scougall. “Building a new, simpler mobile CRM system would enhance our productivity and our responsiveness to customers. But we could also showcase our solutions to our customers, so they could start thinking about their enterprise mobility roadmap in the context of their own business strategies.”

With these objectives top of mind, in 2013 Scougall partnered with Roque De Souza, general manager of global sales in Global Enterprise and Services, to outline enterprise mobility CRM system requirements. The two then worked with Oracle Diamond Partner Infosys to upgrade to Oracle’s Siebel CRM 8.1.1.9 to refresh desktop functionality and provide a new device-agnostic mobile solution. The first prototype was ready in just six weeks. ROI has also been lightning fast: Increased productivity allowed the B2B sales force to collectively spend more hours with customers every week. Employees could structure their workdays to meet the needs of customers wherever they had mobile or Wi-Fi coverage.

And the system is helping Telstra’s sales team share its own enterprise mobile success story. “We can talk with passion about enterprise mobility because we’ve lived it and implemented it successfully,” says Scougall. “Customers who are just beginning to craft a plan of their own have a very keen appetite to learn from people who have already had success with mobile implementations.”

Moving Market

Shortening the sales cycle, improving productivity, and delivering a better customer experience have translated directly into real improvements to Telstra’s bottom line, considering the predicted boom for enterprise mobility. According to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), the number of mobile workers will reach 1.3 billion and will account for 37.2 percent of the global workforce in 2015. Further, analysis published by MarketsandMarkets predicts that the enterprise mobility market will grow from US$72.34 billion in 2013 to US$284.70 billion by 2019.

However, a 2013 survey of IT decision-makers by the Yankee Group found that nearly one-third still did not have an enterprise mobility strategy firmly in place. That represented a dual opportunity for Telstra.

“We realized that not only would we benefit from a mobile CRM solution, but there is a huge opportunity to talk to customers about the whole use case of enterprise mobility, from access and connectivity, to hardware and devices, to security, services, and applications,” says Scougall. “There’s nothing more powerful than a demonstration where clients can see the possibilities of mobility for their own organizations, and we can also profile the coverage, reliability, and speed of Telstra’s integrated wire-line and mobile networks and other services.”

Mobile First

With a clear mandate from salespeople across the company, Telstra business leaders agreed in 2013 to upgrade from their existing CRM system to Siebel CRM 8.1.1.9 to provide both much-needed CRM mobility features and updated desktop functionality. In his 22 years with Telstra, Scougall has watched plenty of IT projects get waylaid by extended timelines and solutions created by IT staff irrespective of business user needs. But given the market opportunity and the existing state of Telstra’s mobile strategy, he was determined that the outcome of the CRM project would be different.

Fact for Thought
Projected value of the enterprise mobility market by 2019
US$284.7 billion
Number of mobile workers predicted to be in the global workforce in 2015
1.3 billion
(Sources: MarketsandMarkets 2014 report,; Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011–2015 Forecast, an IDC report

“From the beginning, Roque and I were appointed as joint leads,” he recalls. “So the initiative was led jointly by the business and IT. We received excellent support from our partner and developer, Infosys. I think the foundation of our success was that it was a team-based transformation, and effective change management was pivotal.”

To keep the project on track, efforts to streamline and mobile-enable sales processes were tackled in tandem with technical desktop and CRM user interface and workflow development tasks. Account executives, sales reps, and managers also participated in codesign workshops to ensure that the new solution would meet business user productivity and mobility requirements.

Roheet Tauro, project manager at Infosys, observes that it was critical to maintain a tight project scope because Telstra had set an ambitious goal to introduce a new release once a month. Team members were dispersed, so those in Australia could meet to make design decisions and then hand off the project at the end of the day for team members in India to execute. So in essence the team adopted a “follow the sun” methodology to respond overnight to the business and IT teams’ requirements.

“By having nimble project management and going through rapid prototyping and development, we were able to focus first on all the items that would yield maximum value and quickly eliminate features that ended up not being relevant,” Tauro says.

And because Infosys experts have deep experience with mobile enablement for Oracle’s Siebel CRM solutions, they created an application design for Telstra that incorporated the simplified single-screen workflow designs commonly associated with mobile solutions rather than using the multiple-view tabs approach seen in legacy enterprise applications. From the very first prototype introduced in just six weeks, more than 25 different fields were eliminated and four screens were removed from the workflow.

Speed Cycle

In less than a year, Telstra’s B2B sales force was able to start taking advantage of the new device-agnostic mobile Siebel CRM solution. Today, when meeting with customers in the field, Telstra reps can navigate the application using large “tiles” to see summary information, and then tap or swipe to access specific fields. In addition, Microsoft Outlook and LinkedIn are synced with the mobile solution, which makes it easy for reps to keep track of customer and contact information.

scougall headshot scougall headshot
The time from when we start a conversation with a customer to when we put a proposal in front of them...has reduced dramatically.”–Roque De Souza, General Manager of Global Sales, Telstra Global Enterprise and Services

The productivity results from the new CRM system are impressive. According to De Souza, a salesperson can now load a sales opportunity using the mobile-friendly CRM version in an average time of just 90 seconds, reduced from an average time of three minutes from the desktop interface. After a customer meeting, the rep can literally tap a few buttons, enter six fields, and create a sales opportunity. Even better, after a sales opportunity is entered from the field into the CRM system, sales managers in the office can use the updated desktop CRM system to pick up the opportunity in near-real time and start activating the sales teams’ resources before the sales rep even gets back to the office. What previously took up to 72 hours from opportunity creation to resource allocation now can be done in near-real time.

“The time from when we start a conversation with a customer to when we put a proposal in front of them—that time has reduced dramatically,” confirms De Souza.

But productivity is definitely not the only payoff. It may be more difficult to quantify, but De Souza reports that the new mobile CRM solution has enhanced employee engagement. Salespeople across the board are happy that the solution is tailored to meet their needs and wasn’t just handed to them by the IT department. More importantly, they are no longer tethered to the desktop and have the tools to do their jobs on the go.

The CRM solution is also helping Telstra B2B sales improve customer relationships by accessing tacit customer knowledge that was not easily captured before. Scougall points out that sales teams working in the B2B space often collaborate by sharing documents, insight, and contacts. In the past, this collaboration mostly occurred via e-mail contacts. The new CRM system now provides a single repository where all tacit information and knowledge around a customer is stored.

“Now, team members can access this collective knowledge when serving B2B customers in a much richer way than was available with point-to-point e-mails,” says Scougall.

Second Wave

Although the new CRM capabilities are unquestionably a success on all fronts, improvements are already on the drawing board. Plans call for the CRM system to be developed further to automate how sales resources are assigned and allocated—potentially with Oracle Sales Cloud. But first on the horizon is streamlining the mobile application so 80 percent of the most frequent CRM tasks can be accessed quickly from the home screen. It will be simpler and faster, and it is expected to lead to improvements in forecasting, accuracy, productivity, and near-real-time information.

“When we get the updated CRM application into the hands of our sales team, that’s where they’ll really start to see the power of enterprise mobile apps,” observes De Souza.

De Souza and Scougall are also staying true to Telstra’s mission to help B2B customers embrace enterprise mobility. They understand that corporations around the world are facing the issues of how to increase productivity, bring technology advancement into place, and keep employees happy with the mobility tools they need. Some customers have observed Telstra sales reps using the mobile CRM application in meetings and have inquired if they can buy the solution for themselves.

“Our customers are asking if we can help enable mobility for them, so our CRM solution is allowing us to showcase innovation and thought leadership in this area,” says Scougall. “It was the combined capability of Telstra, Infosys, and Oracle that brought our mobility solution together so successfully.”

Action Items
  • Oracle Mobile Cloud Service Simplifies Enterprise Mobile Development
  • Enterprise Mobility for Dummies
  • Siebel Customer Relationship Management
  • Photography by Shutterstock