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Major changes for Telstra as it shuts 78 business centres

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Townsville Telstra Business Technology Centre. <em>(Source: Supplied)</em>
Townsville Telstra Business Technology Centre. (Source: Supplied)

Telstra plans to shut down 78 centres that service small businesses and open 28 new ‘Telstra Technology Business Centres’ in their place.

Several of the existing business centres were up to a decade old and no longer keeping up with small business’ needs which had grown increasingly complex, a Telstra spokesperson told Yahoo Finance.

Telstra had received a growing volume of technology questions from small business customers – relating to data or cybersecurity, for example – that the major telco had previously been unable to handle or service in the existing business centres, an issue that the new Business Technology Centres aim to solve.

The 78 business centres will be phased out in a transition period over the next 18-24 months. Most will be closed down, while others will be revamped and expanded to become a Technology Business Centre.

The closure of the 78 business centres aren’t expected to result in job losses for Telstra: many of the Technology Business Centres will feature many of the same owners, staff and partners as the current business centres.

Other staff may be redeployed to Telstra’s network of retail branches in what is expected to result in 3,000 more in-store technology specialists. However, these specialists will only be solving basic business problems, Telstra’s spokesperson told Yahoo Finance.

The restructure is not part of a cost-saving measure and job losses are not expected, although “efficiencies” of 20 to 25 per cent are estimated.

Out with the old, in with the new

The business centre restructures are part of Telstra’s broader T22 strategy.

The major telco has partnered with Microsoft, Cisco, Samsung, Google and a number of other tech brands who will also assist Telstra customers within the new centres.

With the transition to the Technology Business Centres, Telstra’s partners can choose whether or not to stay on with Telstra, but several current staff will be transitioned to the new centres, the spokesperson indicated.

The new centres will provide small business customers with account management and assistance with technology that will help them do business online, operate virtual teams across jurisdictions, and keep data secure.

First Telstra Business Technology Centre opens in Townsville

Servicing more than 2,000 small businesses, Townsville was chosen as the first location for a Business Technology Centre.

Why? Because it is the ‘economic gateway’ to North Queensland.

“Townsville has varied industries with businesses of all sizes. However, despite being a major regional centre there is limited choice for small to medium businesses when it comes to accessing technology solutions,” Ackland said.

“The needs of small businesses have grown to include much more than just phone products and a website. Now it’s about cloud storage and software services, IP phone and data networks and hardware.”

The new Townsville Telstra Business Technology Centre is run by Vita Group.

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