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Doing business with Martin Creighan of AT&T: Technology, innovation and philanthropy

Doing business with Martin Creighan of AT&T: Technology, innovation and philanthropy

The managing director for AT&T mentors disadvantaged youths: “Adversity doesn’t have to be a barrier to success.”

I feel fortunate that I can do IT work that I enjoy and be involved in my community - Martin Creighan, AT&T
I feel fortunate that I can do IT work that I enjoy and be involved in my community - Martin Creighan, AT&T


In the digital era, organisations have to change to survive. But this requires a huge cultural shift. Organisations need all of their people to be ready and able to change – and change quickly.


Name: Martin Creighan

Title: Managing director, Australia and New Zealand, AT&T

Twitter handle: @mcreig

How long have you been in your current role?

Three years.

What business technology issue is your organisation focusing on?

Digital is disrupting every single business and industry verticals around the world. Traditional business models are being thrown out the window, with the evolution and maturation of technologies and platforms such as mobility, cloud, social, big data analytics, the Internet of Things, 3D printing and now virtual and augmented Reality.

These technologies and platforms enable traditional and non-traditional market competitors to disrupt existing markets or enter new markets quickly. And this ongoing market competition is putting enormous pressure on the boards and directors of businesses. Shareholders and owners today want the management to not only maintain and deliver top line revenue growth on existing lines of business revenue, but management are also under pressure to invest and capitalise on new technology and innovation to generate new revenue opportunities and take out cost from the business.

In this environment, organisations today cannot do all these things alone. And this is where AT&T provides values to our global clients. We provide globally integrated technologies, platforms and services to enable organisations to take advantage of global business opportunities. We do this through our 130 years’ experience and knowledge in technologies, foundries (Innovation Centres), and our people.

From the invention of the telephone, to the Internet of Things and connecting cars, cities, and people, to the global deployment of Software Defined Networking, AT&T is focused on innovation and technology services that deliver value to our clients. We see ourselves as our clients’ technology companion, sustaining and helping to shape their digital business strategy.

What are your interests away from work?

I love spending time with my family. I also enjoy basketball and music, but what’s really important to me is my work as a mentor for disadvantaged youth in Sydney. It’s extremely satisfying – and it’s a lot of fun, too.

What’s really important to me is my work as a mentor for disadvantaged youth.

Martin Creighan, AT&T


What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Look after your people and your people will always look after you.

Professionally, who do you admire most?

Ralph de la Vega. Ralph’s a great business leader, of course, but it’s his personal story that I find really inspiring. Ralph was ten when he arrived, alone, in the US from Cuba. He didn’t speak English, or have a privileged upbringing. But he knew how to work hard and never give up. Today he’s vice chairman of AT&T Inc. and the CEO of AT&T Business Solutions and AT&T International, LLC.

Ralph is proof that adversity doesn’t have to be a barrier to success. I share Ralph’s story with the kids I mentor to help them see that they can do anything they put their minds to.

How long have you been working in IT? How did you get into IT?

I’ve been in IT for 26 years – the last 12 at AT&T.

I got my start in IT in the US Navy, where I was an operations specialist for 10 years. My role was to build simulated warfare environments. It was all about pursuing a goal by knowing exactly where you are in relation to everyone else and by taking the right action, even as everything around you is changing rapidly. These skills have turned out to be even more applicable in today’s business world than I expected.

If you weren't working in IT, What would you be doing?

I’d definitely work with disadvantaged kids. I’ve seen what a difference youth organisations can make in young people’s lives. In addition these young kids will be the innovators of our future. For now, I feel fortunate that I can do IT work that I enjoy and be involved in my community in Sydney as well.

Can you share a key pointer for success at a time of fast paced technology changes and what Forrester calls ‘the age of the customer’?

The biggest key to success that I see is agility. In the digital era, organisations have to change to survive. But this requires a huge cultural shift. Organisations need all of their people to be ready and able to change – and change quickly. So they need leaders that accept that change is imminent, along with technologies and processes that make agility possible.

We’re helping businesses in many industries be more agile, and we’re experiencing it ourselves. AT&T is going through a shift as we transform from a hardware-centric company to a software-centric company. This technology and cultural transformation at AT&T is occurring at scale, which is driving agility across all of our global employees, and delivering a digital customer experience across our integrated client services.

Our digital and agile strategy in which we are delivering new technology platform services is providing a global, consistent foundation to our clients as they rapidly evolve to “the age of the customer”.

Read more: ​Heartland Bank releases online tool for SMEs


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