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Vodafone NZ spies opportunity in partnerships and the rise of public cloud

Vodafone NZ spies opportunity in partnerships and the rise of public cloud

The rise of public cloud is erasing its rivals' infrastructure advantages, says Vodafone

Murray Osborne (Vodafone NZ)

Murray Osborne (Vodafone NZ)

Credit: Supplied

Indeed, Vodafone NZ's experience with, and knowledge of, flexible working is now considered a differentiator, Osborne said. It is part of the company's DNA that COVID-19 stressed tested "at scale".

"We believe that as an organisation we have some fairly unique assets about how we do that and we've been doing that for a long time." 

Where many organisations think they have the technology side of remote working sorted, they still struggle with the culture of it and with internal communications, he said.

If the client company isn't even in the cloud, Vodafone NZ has partners such as The Instillery or Umbrellar to help with that with the ability to be the prime contractor if required or appropriate.

That decision is often driven by who has the existing relationship with project governance then layered over the top.

In the short term, selling cloud migration directly was probably too hard, Osborne said.

"It's too much complexity. It's easy to say 'let's migrate to the cloud' but there's more too it than that."

The technology pieces that drive delivery is where partners can be brought in, around Microsoft or AWS or other technologies.

The creation of the partnerships team within Vodafone was a sign that Vodafone is taking that side of the business more seriously and looking for stronger and less opportunistic relationships.

Ingram Micro is another key partner of Vodafone, allowing it to provide any type of equipment to a customer through Vodafone Procurement Services.

"The view here is that the only way we are going to be able to really drive into any of these spaces, and logically why wouldn't we, is to really drive a partner model," Osborne said.

That has become a full-time focus, working with the practices to understand who those partners are and how they fit into Vodafone's story.

Vodafone is now looking to grow into its four pillars in a "more connected and more structured way", Osborne said.

The new ownership has also helped create a different, more entrepreneurial conversation at the top management and board level and helped create an environment where investment is possible.

It has also helped create direct local relationships with the likes of Microsoft where previously this would have been held at the Vodafone Group level.

"There's been quite a lot of bridge building over the last 12 to 18 months to try and build our own capability in New Zealand.

While those relationships with key vendors are building, go-to-market partnerships still require more work. Vodafone NZ is taking some lessons on that out of Vodafone Ireland, due to the similar scale of both markets.

One existing partner is Noel Leeming, which bought McLean Technology in 2013. That unit provides ICT services to small-medium businesses and now sells Vodafone's core telco services.

Osborne said the strategy scales from an organisation as large as Inland Revenue, for example, to a company with 10 employees.

"The difference is going to be how we execute in the different market sizes - what you do at the top end of town versus what you do in the SMB space. We have plans for that as well. We're pretty excited."

Another area of focus is software defined networks, cloud architected networks, 5G and edge computing.

"We've got some pretty clear views about what we are going to do in that space," Osborne said.


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