Oliver Camplin-Warner is the CEO – International of Telstra, where he is responsible for wholesale and enterprise sales and service internationally. He leads an international team serving more than 1,000 customers with world-leading customer service, products, and solutions under Telstra’s enterprise business, with revenues in excess of AUD 2 billion per year. In 2019, Oliver was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the wholesale carrier community in Capacity’s inaugural Power 100 global index.
Based in Hong Kong with his two young children and wife Alisa, Oliver has nearly two decades of experience in telecommunications and technology in Australia and the United Kingdom. Prior to joining Telstra, Oliver spent more than 11 years at IBM where he held senior management positions, most recently as head of financial markets.
Oliver was recently a Featured Participant at PTC’21: New Realities as part of the panel discussion: Impact of COVID-19 and Industry Implications. He also contributed an article to the PTC Blog Managing the Surge: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Network and the People Who Support It.
PTC: How can telecommunications technologies help humanity?
Now is the time for the telecommunications industry to come together to realize the importance of what we do – and how we can help people around the world deal with mounting challenges through connectivity.
I write this answer as we continue to deal with the effects of a global pandemic. While the COVID-19 situation is under control in many countries and there are more positive developments on the vaccines front, the outlook remains less than certain.
What we do know is that the demand for data isn’t dropping today, and we’re not planning on it to decrease in the future. As an industry, we are accelerating planned upgrades to capacity and resilience – at Telstra we’ve more than doubled our network capacity in the past three years.
But more than that, the new normal should see a deeper understanding of the impact of the work we do. As carriers, we have enabled the world to keep working remotely, enabled the children of our next generation to continue to learn, and stayed socially connected with our loved ones during this crisis. We’ve never been more relevant or necessary. That demands a new mindset from each of us in the telecommunications industry, to develop closer relationships that work for the good of the customer, to approach big problems with positive solutions, and to understand and embody the idea that telco is a truly essential service.
If one thing should be redeveloped within the telecom and related industries, what should it be?
I can only answer for Telstra, as we are redeveloping and refreshing our perspective to emphasize not only performance but experience. That starts with nurturing a customer-first culture, ensuring a commitment to clarity, and driving continuous and ongoing improvement.
What that means in practice is working to develop a full understanding of individual customer circumstances – and acting as a responsible business based on that. For example, in Australia we brought forward CAPEX spending, created relief programs for small business and consumer customers during COVID-19 as we did during the bushfires, and provided unlimited data allowances for fixed broadband and mobile customers.
It also means a commitment to continually improving customer experience. For example, we bring a customer’s mindset to things like SLAs. The traditional means of measuring SLAs brings with it a range of exclusions. Take a natural disaster like a hurricane, where the common industry practice is to use force majeure exclusions to meet contractual SLAs. Our commitment to measuring the service experience from the customer’s perspective means we track the actual downtime – not SLAs – so we can continuously improve.
What new apps would be a game-changer in the next five years?
COVID-19 has refocused business leaders on what’s important, especially when it comes to their connectivity. Increasingly, that means driving increased value from investments and also ensuring high availability and continuity across infrastructure.
That’s why I believe the wide-scale adoption of SD-WAN is going to change the industry. We’ve been talking about software-defined networking and network function virtualization for some time now, but it’s only in recent months we’ve seen a tipping point in understanding and adoption.
By making the most of the flexibility and agility SD-WAN enables, customers can better react to fast-changing circumstances. The ability to scale at will, benefit from fungible service models, and only pay for what has been used creates ever-increasing efficiencies across the network layer. I firmly believe that broader adoption of similar solutions will change how the industry views connectivity in the long-term.
What value does PTC hold for you/your company?
PTC is for our industry what the telco industry is for other organizations around the world – it is the network that brings us together to connect and improve. It empowers us to be part of a community that not only shapes the development of ICT across the region but sets the agenda for how telcos can drive purposeful change around the world.
What would you share with those interested in becoming a PTC Member?
We have found enormous benefits of our membership, and we get out of it as much as we put in. We’ve really been able to drive results through active engagement of the community and our involvement in key campaigns. Plus, we see immense benefits from our involvement in the PTC Annual Conference, as well as the regional events, which enable us to build customer relationships and network with industry peers and prospects.
What advice would you share with current and future graduates interested in this field?
We value our graduates. They are so important for a business, as they come with fresh and innovative ideas that we need to foster and help develop their skills to reach their full potential. I would encourage those starting their career in our industry to be bold, challenge yourself, spread your wings, and remember the three following things:
- Curiosity. Our industry sits at the forefront of era-defining technologies, with the ability to connect people and businesses around the world through innovation. Only by maintaining a real sense of curiosity about technology and about people can we do that properly.
- Compassion. We have to understand the impact our technologies have on the lives of people around the world. If we practice active empathy and really think from our customers’ perspectives, we can create real and positive change.
- Community. Our industry works best when we are all collaborating to pull together with a common goal. Engagement in the community is central to that.
What is something that not that many people know about you?
My wife Alisa and I are co-founders of the charity Finnan’s Gift. The charity raises awareness and funds to invest in congenital heart disease treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. You can read more about our story and the charity here: https://www.finnansgift.com/.
Telstra is a leading telecommunications and technology company with a proudly Australian heritage and a longstanding, growing international business. Today, we operate in over 21 countries outside of Australia, providing services to thousands of business, government, carrier, and OTT customers. Telstra’s global network includes more than 26 cable systems spanning over 400,000 kilometres, with access to multiple cable landing stations and more than 2,000 points of presence around the world. Our subsea cable network is the largest in Asia-Pacific, with access to the most lit capacity not just in Asia, but also from the region to Australia, USA, and Europe.