IDC's New Zealand Business Innovation Forum 2019: The Year Ahead.

Being nimble, agile, and bringing new technology to market, faster - this is the key to succeeding as a challenger company in the massively competitive New Zealand telecommunications market, says Vocus Group NZ CEO Mark Callander.


At IDC's 2019 Business Innovation Forum: The Year Ahead, Callander discussed leadership and culture, one of the hot topics identified by IDC’s market research. Callander says steering the company through significant mergers and acquisitions has the same feeling as being pushed down a steep hill in a cart. “You know you’re going to get to the bottom, but it‘s also going to be one hell of a ride, and a lot of smart decisions are required to get there.”


A veteran of the NZ telco market, one of Callander’s major learnings from his two-decade industry history is that culture trumps strategy. “A successful business needs well-thought-out strategies and plans in order to achieve major goals, and while these goals are important, they will fail if there’s not a culture within the business to embrace the change.”


Culture is at the forefront of every decision Callander makes. Detailing the acquisition of Orcon in 2014, he says that it was cutting edge and had innovation at its core. “If we purchased this business and tried to change its brand and style, it would have destroyed all the equity that was central to the brand.”


One of the key ways to harness your culture is to listen to your people. “Work out what makes people excited and keen to work for your organisation.”


As a challenger in the market, Callander embraces the Vocus culture of taking risks and trying new things. Without this ethos, development into new market segments would be slow and cumbersome.


One such growing area for Vocus was also a hot topic identified in IDC’s research; Cyber Security and Data Privacy. At this Business Innovation Forum one of Vocus' resident security experts, Tommy Hohaia, lead a series of roundtable conversations on Cyber Security; transforming and modernising governance policies to seize the opportunities and confront new risks posed by AI, ML, and data privacy.


One key takeaway from the roundtable sessions was addressing security awareness of staff. “Ensure the receptionist, all the way through to senior management have an understanding of the danger” says Hohaia, highlighting this aspect of securing a company’s digital assets. He goes on to address the dangers of the increasing number of devices being connected to the internet, saying “The connection of all things IT has brought to light a number of network hurdles; rouge devices and Shadow IT are becoming an increasing challenge”.


New threats are arriving every day, and insurance companies are racing to protect their customers and themselves against cyber attack. Hohaia says they need to constantly address what a Cyber Policy looks like; how they react to and identify claims and losses related to hacking.


When talking about the current climate and where he believes the industry is heading in the next 12-18 months, Hohaia said “The cyber arena is changing at a very fast rate, so doing the minimal just doesn’t cut it anymore”. He goes on to say “companies are leaning on internal IT/Security to keep them ahead of the curve”.


Vocus Communications is leading the charge in the battle of online security and recognises the increasing need for companies to be able to keep their private data always secure. Working with companies in the space every day, Hohaia and the wider team at Vocus are constantly bringing new and innovative solutions to the table. “Our NOC, SOC and Security Teams are proactively evolving our networks and customer facing solutions to ensure business continuity and reliability”.