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Interview: NTT's New Zealand CEO outlines vision for the future

29 Jan 2020

It was one of the biggest mergers of 2019 when NTT announced that it would amalgamate 31 global companies such as NTT Security, Emerio, Arkadin, and Dimension Data under one brand, creating a US$11 billion technology services firm.

That merger changed the tech sector globally and close to home. NTT-owned Dimension Data has a strong local presence, replaced by the new and improved NTT’s arrival.

In October 2019 NTT appointed Simon Gillespie as its New Zealand CEO. He is responsible for leading the company’s success and local presence.

We chatted to Gillespie about the merger, what NTT will offer the New Zealand market, and what’s ahead.

Gillespie says that the NTT amalgamation wasn’t a brand change for any of its companies – rather, it was a case of integrating 31 NTT-owned organisations. The aim was to form a global IT services and platforms organisations under a single brand.

“Around the world offices have been merged, management teams chosen, and cross-sell and value capture initiatives have been kicked off. It looks a little like a re-brand here in NZ as Dimension Data was really the only NTT entity here,” says Gillespie.

“Local partners and customers have reacted well to the change. For the most part they see the potential benefits of this integration to them. However, the key word is potential. We, the local NZ team, need to show our customers and partners how this will show up in market, how the extended capability will be delivered to them with a local flavour and in a reliable and quality way.”

Gillespie has a three-pronged approach to NTT New Zealand’s vision for the future.

“Firstly, I’d like NTT NZ to be a reliable and trusted safe pair of hands for our customers, partners and shareholders. We are doing well in that regard, but it is a job that’s never finished,” he explains.

“Secondly, we need to bring the scale and innovation of NTT to our customers. For example, we have as an organisation a great track record bring innovation and data to sports organisations around the world. This encapsulates IoT, edge computing, analytics, networks and biometrics. New Zealand has a great sporting success rate and we would like to help keep that going. Our fledgling work with the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport really is our first steps in this regard.”

“Thirdly we need to be an exciting and prestigious place to work. We need to be able to attract talent from outside our historic hiring pools, embracing youth and diversity across our teams.”

He adds that NTT has made several key senior hires in the last six months, such as Kylie Cook and Robin Hartendorp. They, Gillespie says, have a wealth of experience in the enterprise space and are very well respected. 

NTT’s market strategies have been praised by analyst firms, including IDC vice president for enterprise infrastructure and communications Chris Barnard. Barnard noted that NTT is addressing a market that “needs support across IoT, edge, analytics, and collaboration platforms.” 

What technologies, solutions and expertise can local partners and customers expect to see on offer from NTT?  

“The great thing with coming together under the NTT name is that we can continue to offer the services we have up until now and indeed the leading brands that we represent. However, a key differentiator is that we can also bring to NZ some of the amazing in-house innovation that NTT is developing around the world,” says Gillespie.

“I think many people in NZ are unaware of how big NTT is globally.  We have 5,500 people working in R&D and annually invest over $3.5 billion in R&D per annum. So, we are going to provide customers with unmatched access to leading edge technology to better help them in their business moving forward.”

With a strong future ahead for NTT both abroad and in New Zealand, what’s on the cards in the year ahead? 

“Over the next year you will see us change the game in the corporate and enterprise security market. You will also see us bring commercial innovation to legacy technology spaces that need to be shaken up.”