Telstra showcased its cloud strategy with an announced an A$800 million ($858.5 million) investment over five years to strength its cloud capabilities.
While it is not easy to tell how much of this investment might have been made anyway, there is apparently an element of dedicated cloud investment now driving the telco’s strategy and offering its customers some interesting new options.
The growing number of customer reference cases is an endorsement that the strategy is paying off, and the announcement suggests that additional funding is needed to keep up with the momentum. Some of the investment will enable Telstra to adopt the cloud itself, helping it manage costs and prove internally some of the benefits it is proposing for customers.
Telstra is reinforcing an investment program in hosted services, which began in 2009 with the announcement of T-Suite. The newly announced investment will fund a data center program, internal virtualization, enhancement of current capacity and new products, including development for new IaaS, SaaS, and web offerings and services, and an integrated cloud service management portal.
With an early entry into the market on multiple fronts, Telstra’s cloud strategy is starting to pay off. It already has a significant number of customers across the SME and corporate market. It claims around 120 infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) customers, which is more than many global service providers currently have.
There are some good examples of large deployments, such as Komatsu and Employment Plus, but it is not clear how much revenue growth these services are bringing already.
Telstra also claims an increasing number of customers buying SaaS thought its T-Suite, such as Steinhoff Asia-Pacific, which has 1,050 seats and was the biggest customer of Microsoft online BPOS.
On UC as a service, Telstra has reached 100,000 users of its TIPT solution, which is based on Broadsoft IP-Centrex technology. This solution has been offered for several years and was later integrated with Microsoft and repositioned as a cloud service, but it is still sold to SMEs through its traditional channel partners.
Telstra was persuasive in showing that existing users of its voice and data network services are putting significant volumes of applications and process data into the Telstra cloud. These customers are accessing Telstra-engineered and hosted services from its technology partners, even though some of those services are familiar.
The key is that they are able to access them in new ways: remotely but highly secured, and with greater degrees of visibility, monitoring, and cost control. The challenge is to provide the same security and visibility features when those customers want Telstra to go beyond the Telstra environment to host services in the cloud outside.