Datacom wants to unify its state-based Australian business

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Datacom wants to unify its state-based Australian business

Datacom wants to align its Australian and New Zealand practices and capabilities to operate more like a single unified unit and share innovation across the region.

When Datacom's incoming group chief executive Greg Davidson takes over the top job from Jonathan Ladd in April next year, he will seek to reorient the business so Datacom's Australian and New Zealand businesses are viewed more like a single entity than their current state-based structure.

The majority of Datacom's business comes from Australia and its native New Zealand, but the company also operates in Europe, Malaysia and the Philippines. The company operates eight offices in Australia and nine in New Zealand.

The company is registered as multiple, distinct entities with the Australian Securities & Investment Commission, including Datacom Sytems New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, the ACT, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Davidson, spoke to CRN at during AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas last month, where he said the aim was for Datacom to operate less like "six states that never talk to each other" and for each location across the Tasman to provide the same skills and competency as their geographic counterparts.

"Customers should be able to ask for their cake and eat it, I'm not knocking that, but they want to be able to talk to the person with the most competence who is available now, who is local to them," Davidson said.

"Our challenge is figuring out how we can spread the knowledge of the areas where we've broken new ground quickly and effectively enough across all locations where we do work."

One measure Datacom has already implemented is to expand the role of Mark Muru, who runs Datacom's Wellington business, to also cover Canberra in order to service both countries' respective capital cities.

"We did that very specifically because central government is its own distinct market that likes operating in a certain way, and probably more importantly because there's a whole bunch of systems we built to achieve results digitally… transformations of government where we think there will be joint opportunities in the other country if we can show we achieved those results to their respective countries," Davidson said.

Another example is the GovNext contract Datacom won last year – along with Atos and NEC – to support the Western Australian government's ICT infrastructure and help the government divest from operating as many of its own data centres.

The project was supported on the ground by Datacom's teams from across the country, as well as Asia and New Zealand government teams. Under the old structure, the GovNext project would previously have been handled at a state level spread across separate contracts for hardware, software and data centres.

One of the big challenges, Davidson said, would be to avoid losing Datacom's intimate customer relationships in the process.

"There's a big effort to not break the bit that works in terms of customer intimacy, but to ensure that we get better scale benefits and we get connectedness in terms of our competency and our technical work," he said.

During re:Invent, AWS global channel chief Terry Wise singled out Datacom as one of its new premier consulting partners.

Davidson told CRN it was an important milestone for Datacom to achieve, and reflected recognition from customers as well as AWS itself.

"It's been important for us to continue to step up and be recognised for what we do in that space, particularly in our market where there's only a couple in Australia and there's nobody else domestically in New Zealand who operates with that kind of competency," he said.

Brendon Foye attended AWS re:Invent as a guest of Amazon Web Services.

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