Media Release, 20 March 2012

The number of large Australian organisations that have significantly improved productivity over the last year has declined by a quarter according to the fourth annual Telstra Productivity Indicator, released today.

Interviews with 700 Australian corporate leaders and government decision makers showed that a large majority rated productivity improvement a top priority, the highest since surveys began, while there is optimism that productivity can improve business outcomes even though economic times are tough. That optimism is especially apparent in so-called Productivity Leaders – those organisations that measure and achieve a significant improvement in productivity.

“More than half of Australia’s Productivity Leaders are optimistic about achieving productivity next year, compared to just 29 per cent of Productivity Followers, although overall optimism has fallen this year,” Paul Geason, Group Managing Director, Telstra Enterprise and Government, said. 

“The results show that businesses which have already acted to improve productivity have a much better mindset for the future. Leaders feel more optimistic because they are seeing the benefits of investment in ICT deployments that are giving them a significant edge.

“The Telstra research reveals organisations that invested in staff training, process improvements, more effective customer communications and increased employee engagement had achieved higher improvement in productivity across the last 12 months,” Mr Geason said.

This year’s report finds:

  • productivity is a top business priority for 80 per cent of Australia’s private sector and 66 per cent of government organisations;
  • overall, there has been a 25 per cent drop in organisations that have achieved significant productivity gains between 2011 and 2012 (32% vs. 24%);
  • having achieved productivity improvement over the last 12 months, Productivity Leaders are significantly more optimistic than Followers (52% vs. 29%) about achieving further productivity improvements in the future, regardless of the global or domestic economic uncertainty;
  • Private sector Leaders are more optimistic than Followers they will achieve growth (47% vs. 15%), increase revenue (34% vs. 11%) and increase market share (32% vs. 10%) in the next 12 months whatever the economic conditions;
  • Government sector Leaders are more optimistic than Followers they will be able to better manage risk (43% vs. 17 %) and achieve key organisational objectives (39% vs. 16%);
  • Industries and sectors expecting to see significant increases in productivity in the year ahead include the agricultural, forestry and fishing, mining and utilities sectors followed by the transport, logistics and construction industries.

Analysing Leaders’ traits, the research indicates Leaders place an emphasis on people and collaboration, investment in ICT and a focus on innovation to deliver business outcomes. The advantages these bring enable them to grow, develop new revenue streams and win market share.

“We believe Productivity Leaders have embraced the productivity advantage. That is, they focus on areas such as investment in technology, better managing risk and fostering better collaboration with staff and stakeholders as a way to improve productivity and achieve organisational success,” Mr Geason said.

This year’s results have seen almost half of Productivity Leaders rate an integrated ICT roadmap, including investment in video conferencing, cloud computing, mobile devices and fast broadband data networks, as being a leading factor that has helped them achieve increased productivity.

“The next 12 months will provide a great challenge for Australian organisations in both the private and public sectors and if organisations look to emulate Productivity Leaders there is real a prospect productivity will improve”, Mr Geason said.

The Telstra Productivity Indicator 2012 report is available at


Productivity Advantage
This year, the report indicates that Productivity Leaders are using productivity improvements as a foundation and springboard for wider success. By mastering productivity Leaders have an advantage over Followers in achieving other organisational objectives.

In the private sector this productivity advantage is reflected in organisations’ greater success in leveraging investment in innovation to help develop new revenue streams, deliver significant growth and increase market-share.

In the government sector, the productivity advantage is reflected in organisations’ greater success in managing risk, as well as a focus on developing collaboration between staff, key stakeholders, interest groups and clients.

Productivity Leaders in both private and government sectors indicate they are more confident of success in 2012.

About the Report
The Telstra Productivity Indicator is an annual survey sponsored by Telstra and conducted by an independent research company. The Report looks at Australia’s attitudes and behaviours toward improving productivity and is currently in its fourth year.

This year, interviews were conducted with 700 Australian directors, senior executives and managers in medium to large public and private sector organisations between September and October 2011. 

About Telstra
Telstra provides network services, solutions and managed services to more than 200 of the world’s top 500 companies across 240 countries and territories.

Through its world-class Telstra Next IP network and Next G network, Telstra connects customers to an innovative portfolio of secure and reliable solutions and services that maximise their business performance. Together with its skilled team, including one of Australia’s largest and most qualified field and technical workforces, Telstra delivers Enterprise-Grade Customer Service to improve the way people and organisations work.