Executives from Telstra Purple’s Data and Analytics Domain explain how they support customers on data journeys through insights, advice, roadmaps, and...
Telstra Purple is the consulting arm of global telecommunications company Telstra. Its mission is to assist clients with IT and business challenges, covering an array of functions such as security, cloud, data and digital transformation.
With a global team of over 1,500 experts, including a 100-strong team of consultants in London, UK, Telstra Purple offers a breadth of skills across the world. “By putting purpose and people at the core of everything we do, we bring the experience, capacity and tools to help businesses achieve digital success,” says Bradley Hopkins, Head of Data and Analytics, Telstra Purple EMEA.
Telstra Purple’s offerings are spread across four complementary solution areas and skill bases. “Those four areas are strategy and transformation, cloud and modern workplace, security and networks, and data and analytics,” says Hopkins. “Typically, we deliver advisory work to help clients on their journey, whilst assisting with the end-to-end implementation and delivery of those solutions.”
Data is omnipresent
Businesses produce and process data more than ever before, and it has become increasingly important to derive value from it.
“Historically, a business’ value was measured in terms of physical items manufactured and sold or fixed assets – the buildings, premises and machinery that it has,” says Ed Bullen, Head of Data Engineering and Data Science, Telstra Purple EMEA. “In the present day, however, businesses are realising that their value actually stems from, and resides in, the data that they have. This includes data about their customers and operations, how well and efficiently they can operate based on that data, and the interactions and transactions that they have with suppliers and clients.”
Data then represents an untapped source for many companies, which is precisely where Telstra Purple comes in. “Everything we do in terms of designing our projects and solutions is to help companies drive more revenue, reduce costs and increase their competitive advantage by extracting more inherent value from their data sources,” Bullen emphasises.
The roadmap for data transformation must ultimately be tailored to every company and their level of data maturity. Nevertheless, there are some key tenets, which Telstra Purple cleaves closely to. “It starts with discovery,” says Bullen. “Identify what is currently in place and what is required. Then you move on to a curate phase; making sure all your data flows are catalogued and tracked in a governance framework. Third is to provide access – putting in place a flexible, secure data service for applications and users. And finally, you can then move to insights and value, using the data to build new processes and predict new things. That’s the general pattern, but within that we see a lot of variation from company to company.”
The blockers preventing companies from fully embracing such a data transformation come chiefly in the form of security concerns and legacy IT systems. “There can be data silos across business units – not just technical, but political,” says Hopkins. “Breaking down those data silos can be a significant challenge when there’s a legacy IT set-up.”
As for security, companies dealing with sensitive data are naturally cautious. “We work arm in arm with our internal security team to ensure that we can deliver secure data insights,” says Hopkins. “But certain customers, especially in sensitive industries like healthcare, legal, and bioinformatics, have compliance risks associated with that data. The majority of all legal data held is confidential, being stamped as ‘’confidential’’ by definition. The question becomes: how do you then start building data science models on private data?”
Though a challenge, this is not insurmountable, as Bullen explains: “Even with the most secure systems in the world, we still have to design our systems to meet regulatory compliance requirements. That makes what could be a simple project more challenging and complex.”
Telstra Purple’s Data Governance Assessment tool helps businesses take control of their master data and understand their data landscape to provide business benefits quickly and effectively.
“Ideally, all data should be cataloged in a central repository, but data governance is as much about a process and approach as technologies,” says Bullen. “It's best achieved by applying first principles of best practice at the data platform level. This means all data movement, data change and storage must be achieved with a strategic toolset combined with the right processes and procedures. You can have the best tools in the world, but they’ll be useless if you haven't got the correct procedures in place.”
In a world of digital transformation, a company’s connectivity and data will only become more crucial. “We can actually talk to companies about their solutions, leveraging all of our experience and expertise and all the great work we've done, for the likes of organisations like Genomics England,” says Hopkins.
That work is only possible thanks to the talent it has attracted, as Bullen explains: “We have a hugely talented and unique team in the industry. A blend of top experts – data scientists, data analysts and data engineers – who work in tandem to fully understand the subject matter and create tangible and logical solutions. Our strength is our people.”