Inside Telstra Operations' restructure

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Inside Telstra Operations' restructure

Staff reassigned to new business units.

Up to 4,000 Telstra workers will have new reporting lines today under a revamp headed by chief operations officer (COO) Michael Rocca.

The restructure continues the gradual consolidation of Telstra's IT and network operations.

It brings together the design and deployment of Telstra's fixed and wireless networks into one unit, and promotes multimedia and content delivery as a means of differentiating Telstra from its competitors.

Telstra Operations chief Michael Rocca told iTnews the restructure [in detail below] was an "inevitable" response to convergence between IT and networking technologies.

"We could all see it happening," Rocca said. "More and more, there is a blurring between IT and networks. It is essential we had one architectural view across networks and IT. We need a single set of standards, a single plan, one framework."

Whilst he said the restructure will reduce duplication and create "efficiencies", Rocca told iTnews it was not aimed at cutting staff.

The telco had existing programs in place to address headcount reduction, he said.

"The efficiencies are most likely going to be driven from contracts with our suppliers," he said. "This is not a headcount exercise."

Staff informed of the changes today were "excited" by the plan, he said. "A lot of it came from ideas developed by the staff themselves."

Rocca said he expected the changes to be made in stages and completed within "a couple of months."


Telstra Operations plans to merge its separate wireless and fixed network arms into a new unit that will be led by Mike Wright.

"We will have one view across both fixed and wireless networks from a planning, design and deployment perspective," Rocca said.

Fixed and wireless network operations had been kept at arm's length during the rollout of the Next G network, Rocca said, but with this investment bedded down, he felt the time was right to consolidate.

"We have to view the network from end to end, whether we are looking at a base station or at the network core," he said.


Telstra will also strip out the enterprise architecture and operations arms from its IT team, and form a new unit within IT called "IT Infrastructure and Services" which will be accountable for the telco's data centres and virtualisation technology projects across both IT and networks.

Rocca told iTnews the move would reduce duplication of roles.

"We have 17,000 mid-range servers - half in IT and half in networks," he said. "We had two organisations essentially managing the same thing. Now it is one area of responsibility."

Michael Lazaro continues to work as Telstra's Acting CIO (chief information officer), but Rocca said a permanent replacement for former CIO John McInerney was still being sought.


Rocca also announced that former Global Operations (networks) chief Craig Hancock will lead the newly-crowned Network IT and Operations (NITO) unit, which was announced in late June in tandem with the McInerney's resignation.

This unit is an amalgamation of the operations teams of Telstra Network Services and the Service Management team within Telstra's IT group. It operates, monitors and resolves technical issues across both Telstra's IT systems and network platforms.

"They are responsible for the day to day management of operations," Rocca said. "Now, for example, there is one procedure and one set of tools for incident response - whether it is on an IT system or on the network. That takes away a lot of duplication."


Rocca has announced that Michael Lawrey will lead a new team called the 'Architecture, Online and Media' unit, which will be charged with application development and presentation, product deployment, the $14 million build of 12 small 'network media' data centres and a content delivery network, as well as an "improved online self-help capability for customers."

These projects were previously assigned to several different divisions within the company.

Rocca said Lawrey's new unit will work closely with the Telstra Media product division, led by marketing chief and former Telstra Wholesale boss Kate Mackenzie, who will continue to manage Telstra's media products. Lawrey's team will be charged with "making it happen" from a technology perspective, he said.

Rocca said he expects Telstra's online capability will differentiate the telco against its smaller competitors.

"We are becoming a multimedia world," he said. "If you want to win in this market, you need to make these kinds of changes."

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