Best in the business exploiting digital opportunities

Media Release, 28 July 2014

The survey polled 172 state and territory winners and finalists of the 2014 Telstra Australian Business Awards ahead of the national finals to be held in Melbourne on 7 August.

The survey found:

  • 78 per cent of businesses report digital tools improve their customer service capabilities
  • 77 per cent use cloud computing to set up more flexible virtual offices and to collaborate remotely (an increase of eight per cent over last year’s Awards finalists)

The survey also found social media investment has become the norm, with 84 per cent of businesses using Facebook and 62 per cent of businesses using LinkedIn to attract and retain customers and enter new markets. In fact a fifth of respondents credit more than 10 per cent of their total annual sales to their social media activity.

Flight training operator Becker Helicopter Services has a wealth of information online including pilot guides to operate in controlled airspace, visual guides of airfields and navigation and maintenance advice.

CEO Jan Becker said, “We wouldn’t be in business without the cloud.” The 2013 Telstra Australian Medium Business Award winner assisted in emergency situations during the Queensland floods. “People trapped in caravan parks would tweet us ‘can you bring us insulin.’ There were people saved in the floods because of social media,” she said.

Businesses are seeing improvements to the bottom line, with 48 per cent of businesses reporting profit increases and 41 per cent reporting lower operating costs, as a direct outcome of embracing digital.

Brad Smith, founder and CEO of bike manufacturer and retailer braaap, the 2013 Telstra Victorian Business of the Year, said: “Digital has changed our business significantly, mostly in how we create desire in our customers. We’ve reduced TV advertising significantly and put the money into online. We use videos and memes and it has become 100 per cent measurable.”

Nicole Williams, Director of management advisory firm BRS and winner of the 2013 Telstra SA Small Business Award, launched two online coaching programs for government leaders and professional services consultants (easygovernment and easyconsult) in the past year.

She said: “You have to get your business online. You have to think about how to move away from traditional business models of ‘one to one’ to ‘one to many’. Our online coaching connects us with interstate and overseas business opportunities by leveraging our experience and expertise. For regional clients it costs a lot to send people to one-on-one coaching and have access to world class experts, so our online coaching is changing the way training and education is delivered to these organisations and individuals.”

Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, says these businesses are realising the wealth of opportunities presented by digital disruption, embracing new technologies and turning traditional business models upside down.

“The rise of the digital economy has significantly changed the way we do business, but with this change comes extraordinary opportunity. Our Telstra Business Awards finalists are not afraid to try something new, and harness technology to find a competitive advantage.

“The Telstra Business Awards entrepreneurs are using digital innovation to push the boundaries and come up with new ideas to grow their customer base and rethink entire industry models,” Mr Irving said.

Thirty-seven national finalists will compete in categories for Start-Up Business, Micro Business, Small Business, Medium Business, Regional Business and the prestigious title of Telstra Australian Business of the Year.

Winners of the 2014 Awards will share in more than $800,000 in cash and business products, which is split among state, territory and national winners.

For more information about the Awards winners, or to nominate for the 2015 Telstra Australian Business Awards, visit