Tallying the figures in a changing industry

Tallying the figures in a changing industry

What was your first job?

Working during school holidays in our local supermarket for $1 per hour. It seemed like a lot of money at the time and probably was given it was 30 years ago.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

I graduated with a commerce degree in 1987 and like so many antipodeans, headed off to find fame and fortune in London. I found neither but ended up working as an accountant in a firm during their implementation of an HP3000-based accounting system. I became closely involved in the project and was fascinated by the whole exercise.

I returned to New Zealand at a time when the government sector was making the transition from cash to accrual accounting. Fujitsu was looking for people who understood the essence of this transition from an accounting perspective and who had practical systems implementation experience. They demonstrated a substantial leap of faith by offering me my first job in the IT industry.

How did you progress to where you are today?

My time with Fujitsu was very enjoyable and rewarding, but I came to the conclusion that the future was in working for a services-orientated organisation. An offer to join Datacom presented itself as the ideal transition point.

Wellington was my home base for a number of years until I sought out the opportunity to manage Datacom's Asian operations, based in Malaysia. During this time, I led the expansion of the company into six regional countries. It was a period of great growth and learning, with a fair degree of trial and error mixed in. In time, the Australian and Asian operations were brought together under common management and I was asked to run that entity based in Sydney. My role has expanded in conjunction with the growth of our business and as we have broadened the services we offer and the locations from which we do so.

What do you like about your current job?

Datacom affords a tremendous level of autonomy to individuals at all levels throughout our organisation. This starts with our Board charter, which is very broad and growth-orientated. The fl exibility this affords in positioning our business in the market, building organizational capability and investing in our expansion, is something I thrive on.

What is the biggest achievement of your career?

Without doubt it has been the ability to work with like-minded individuals who are professional and hard working, yet are able to kick back and have a great deal of fun. It has been exceptionally rewarding to have witnessed and shared in their personal and professional success.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

I have no dislikes as such, just a healthy respect for the challenges of our industry. This includes the fast paced evolution of technology, the need to relentlessly focus on the changing imperatives of our clients, and the highly dynamic, competitive landscape we live in.

What will be the 'next big thing' in the industry?

I look to the dynamics of the market as the current source of very significant change. This involves the rise and eventual ascendancy of local IT service providers to recognised tier one status. For established tier one participants, this will be a period of disruptive change. For the local aspirants it will be a period of substantial opportunity.

What is the main focus for your company this year?

In a word, expansion. We continue to see unfulfilled demand within the Australasian market for a credible, local IT service provider offering a comprehensive suite of service and support offerings backed by true national coverage. We will continue to build Datacom towards meeting this need. Our focus remains on organic growth, supplemented by acquisitive growth designed to extend our geographic reach and to augment our existing competencies.

What do you do when you are not at work?

We have three children so a large measure of each weekend is dedicated to school sports, something that I enjoy immensely. Travelling as a family has always been very high on our priority list as well. I have always enjoyed exercising and playing sport, both on a team and individual basis, and I like to set personal challenges around these. For example, two years ago it was climbing Mt Kinabalu in Borneo, last year it was running my first half marathon, this year the Kokoda Track beckons. Watching the All Blacks win is another favourite pastime, but as it is a World Cup year and considering their performance in the last two, I'll keep my council on that subject.

Do you like gadgets?

They certainly interest me, but not in a practical sense. For me the best thing about gadgets is letting someone else work out how to use them - most frequently my 10-year-old son.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

At one time or other pretty much everything. As a youngster, I wanted to be either a fireman or brain surgeon. I'm not entirely sure how moving into the IT industry became the logical conclusion to this childhood dilemma.

What is your biggest ambition?

Professionally, it is to see Datacom achieve our objective of being the largest independent provider of professional IT services in Australasia. As a parent, for my wife and I to see our children enjoy healthy fulfilled lives. In a societal context, it is important to me to be able to make some meaningful and positive contribution beyond the point of self-interest. By way of example, we are currently working to create a charitable foundation within Datacom, the intent being to offer expertise, time and funds to not-for-profit entities.

Company Snapshot

• Datacom was founded in New Zealand in 1965. It is 30 per cent owned by New Zealand Post and 70 per cent by private shareholders. Datacom began operations in Australia in 1992.

• Now has 2000 staff in three countries.

• Specialises in systems and contact centre solutions. Also provides "partial-to-full" spectrum IT support and services including LAN/WAN technical support, data centre hosting (including disaster recovery design and operations), consulting and project management, service desk, models and product procurement.

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