Datacom flags trans-Tasman opportunities

The opportunity for partners lies in taking this period of uncertainty and using it to drive innovation.

Cloud and platforms, cyber security and the modernisation of systems are just some of the areas of growth and opportunity seen by Datacom as it works to help its customers navigate a pandemic-hit market and plot their pathways out of it. 

“As the market adjusts to hybrid working, remote connectivity and online presence, we’re experiencing heightened demand in our cloud and platforms business,” Datacom Australia managing director Alexandra Coates said.

“Customers are looking to determine what mix of cloud solutions will best help them address their business needs securely, and unlock the value of applications like Salesforce, Dynamics 365 and Pega,” she added. 

At the same time, Coates noted that the company is also seeing rapidly growing demand for the modernisation of systems and, as ever, the move to the cloud will help continue to transform Datacom’s customers across Australia and New Zealand in both public and commercial sectors. 

While Coates heads up the New Zealand-headquartered IT service provider’s Australian business, her observations are true for the company’s operations on both sides of the Tasman.              

Indeed, Datacom’s trans-Tasman cyber security practice also continues to grow, as security incidents increase and organisations take steps to better prepare themselves for the evolving cybersecurity landscape. 

According to Coates, this growth comes amid a global shortage of trained cyber security experts, a factor contributing to the company’s partnership earlier this year with Auckland-based Unitec Institute of Technology, which aims to fill the security skills gap by offering a one-year vocational diploma in cybersecurity.

It is claimed that this partnership represents the first New Zealand-based pre-degree cybersecurity qualification.

Meanwhile, Datacom Payroll has also expanded its global footprint, with the business segment focused on growth in Australia and a view to replicating the success it has seen in New Zealand, where it processes more than 15 per cent of the national payroll each week. 

“In aggregate the payroll data is also proving to be an economic barometer of the impact from COVID-19, wage subsidies and the increasing levels of unemployment,” Coates said.

A new reality

Founded as Computer Bureau Ltd in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1965, Datacom has grown to employ 6,500 people working across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas, delivering industry-leading capabilities and services. 

Today, according to Coates, the new reality of the global pandemic has resulted in organisations bringing forward key digital projects — a key trend in the business landscape in Australia, New Zealand and further afield that has kept partners with the right mix of products and services busy, despite a slowdown in spend.

“As an example, [the UK’s] TSB Bank deployed a major project in two weeks, something that in usual circumstances would have taken months,” Coates said. “Datacom re-platformed TSB’s ageing customer service hub to enable its customers to contact the bank directly online rather than rely on in-branch, face-to-face communication. 

“We’re seeing more volumes of smaller projects that can be executed at pace to make meaningful, immediate change within organisations,” she added. 

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With such projects afoot and the general acceleration of digital projects in some quarters in response to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, it should come as little surprise that Datacom’s key business priority in the coming year is to help its customers leverage technology to navigate these uncertain times. 

Naturally, this priority is driven by the key challenges facing the company’s customers in the current market over the coming months. 

These include the question of how any organisation should operate in a world that is navigating a pandemic and a recessionary climate. 

“While the macro elements are challenging, the internal dynamics of having to scale workforces up or down at pace and deal with many employees working remotely adds additional complexity,” Coates said.

According to Coates, the opportunity for partners lies in taking this period of uncertainty and using it to drive innovation. 

“We’re already seeing many customers embrace digital solutions and remote working in situations they never thought possible. This includes highly-sensitive and traditional areas like banking and finance,” she said. 

At the same time, Datacom is seeing some changes in customer requirements. This includes more volumes of smaller projects, especially as customers attempt to drive digital transformation during an uncertain time.

Preparing for the present

While Datacom has made effective moves to meet the market where its current demands are greatest, it has spent many months positioning itself for growth and expansion — and such preparation has no doubt an advantage in a time of market turmoil.

The past financial year at least has seen Datacom invest in its business to set itself up for the next phase of growth. 

“Over the past two years we have been focused on repositioning ourselves as a business that has a heightened focus on customer value and market relevance and executes across regions alongside our customers and partners,” Coates said.                                                   

“One of our biggest areas of focus has been working with our customers to co-create a modern approach to delivering IT services — one that shifts from the process-driven agreements of the last few years to agile teams, greater automation and a lean operational core.”

According to Coates, the company’s customers know that the pace of change in their own organisations has increased and they want partnerships that are value-focused, more flexible and enable change when needed. 

Right now, Datacom’s focus continues to be on providing value and driving job creation in the markets in which it operates. In fact, as part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis, Datacom was asked to increase headcount dramatically for a term to support the Australian government sector.

ARN Advance is a centralised editorial resource designed to help partners access forward-looking content as the Australian market attempts to reposition for growth.