Aside from the obvious need to adapt to new ways of working, our customers have had to grapple with a number of macro challenges: aggressive cyber behaviour and security threats, a rise in disinformation, massively challenging global supply chain, closed borders and skills shortages, and a 10% drop in GDP for Australia and New Zealand, as our tourism and education sectors lost international tourists and students, and our domestic retail and hospitality sectors also suffered.
Our purpose, through all of this, has been to get close to our customers and help them find smart ways to use technology to enable them to adapt quickly to a rapidly evolving environment. Our customers have seen a necessity to invest in their digital strategy and are energised to work with us on solutions that deliver real and positive impact for their businesses and for the people they serve.
We’ve helped government agencies to stand up their Covid-19 responses and support the roll-out of vital assistance programmes. Our Pay Systems and Smartly teams have helped over 30,000 small businesses take advantage of wage subsidies so they could continue trading and paying their 350,000 employees.
Our Connect contact centre teams have swung in behind private companies and government to help them serve their communities and provide essential information and support to thousands of people every day. We’ve helped our healthcare customers pivot to remote patient care models and to continue meeting people’s healthcare needs. We’ve helped keep Australia’s public transport timetables running to time in NSW, toll roads flowing in Victoria and supported the core reliability of Western Australia’s transport networks.
It has also been exciting to help entrepreneurial high-growth digital companies to achieve their ambitions for progress in local and international markets, despite global disruptions.
And, in a year where we have seen the impact of DDoS and ransomware attacks, we have helped our customers and our countries lift their resilience and ensure they have prepared themselves as best they can.
Our teams have helped hundreds of organisations adapt to new challenges, stay connected with their people and customers, and continue operating despite the disruptions all around them.
The pandemic has driven a shift to the cloud in its many forms. Our solutions continue to be driven by the specific needs of each customer, which is why we have our ‘RightCloud’ strategy. We’ve carried out major SaaS implementations, we’ve shifted customers from legacy infrastructure to public cloud and we’ve helped them optimise their costs and performance by running appropriate workloads in the private cloud — ultimately choosing whatever is going to provide the customer with the best outcomes.
Whatever the right solution is for the customer, we know we are in a strong position to provide what they need. As a company with a firm local footing in both Australia and New Zealand we’ve been willing to invest in the digital infrastructure needed by the countries we live and work in, such as our data centres.
Our investment in the necessary digital infrastructure in the countries we work in and our focus on a strong service-ethic to help our customers is also evident in our product portfolio. Whether it’s payroll solutions to allow our customers to easily manage compliance or our Datascape products which are currently in 200,000 households across Australia and New Zealand — and targeted to grow to 2 million households — giving people a window into their local council services.
There are still some notable challenges on the horizon, and one of these is the pent-up demand for talent in the tech sector. Datacom is always looking for great talent but we are also taking a proactive approach to developing talent and have set ourselves a goal to be a ‘net creator of talent’.
In practice that means we are giving our existing teams new opportunities to upskill, and we are taking part in a number of initiatives to attract and train new talent and bring more people into the tech sector.
One example has seen us partner with the Unitec Institute of Technology to help develop a Diploma in Cybersecurity, and then host interns and then bring them on permanently into the business — that's a net gain of cyber skills for us and the wider industry as these graduates move through their career.
With the focus on building new talent, we are also committed to addressing the lack of diversity in our sector. In Australia that has seen us take part in the Champions of Change coalition to grow representation of women in tech leadership roles and move towards greater gender equality in the sector. In New Zealand we’re supporting Elevating Aotearoa’s Future, a career development programme to fast-track Māori and Pasifika students into the tech sector, and we’ve had the privilege of having TupuToa and AWS re/Start interns working with us this year before joining us as full-time employees. We’re also working with HTK Programming Maori Potential, a digital technology accelerator programme which takes participants through a design thinking process through to prototype and encourages more rangatahi Māori into the sector.
In 2022, we are looking forward to our customer partnerships grow and to continuing to make a real difference for our customers and for the people and communities they serve.
Tough times are often described as being character forming and are credited with bringing out the best in people. This feels very true in light of what I have witnessed from Datacom’s teams over the past year.
In the midst of dealing with their own challenges and lockdowns, our people have stepped up to give our customers incredible levels of support and to help them pivot and stand up new systems and solutions in record timeframes.
This period has been hard work but it has also given us the opportunity to be a trusted tech partner for hundreds of public and private organisations, and able to advise and deliver when it was needed most.
As we look ahead to the coming year, we can lean on the knowledge of what we are capable of, and of the importance of the work we do.
I took on a director role with Datacom in 2019 and stepped into the chair role last year, and when I look at where we are today I think there is a lot to be celebrated.
We are well placed in the data centre market. More customers are turning to cloud services and we are positioned to be a big part of that trend.
We’re seeing customers continue to accelerate initiatives on their digital infrastructure and modernising applications, creating the opportunity for us to evolve the value we offer to customers from the safe pair of hands that can keep the lights on (particularly in times of crisis), to a partner who can help solve problems with innovative solutions.
We’re also seeing growth in areas like local government and payroll services and our partnerships continue to flourish.
All of these successes and achievements with our customers, and across the Datacom business, come down to the skills and dedication of our teams, and I know that looking after our people is top of mind for Greg and the leadership team.
Another priority will be finding and hiring more talented people to join our teams. There is a lot of competition for good talent but as you’ll see from some of the stories shared in our Year in Review, Datacom is taking a proactive approach to attracting and developing talent.
As we step into 2022, everyone at Datacom can feel very proud of what has been achieved this year and confident that we are in a strong position to build on those successes in the year ahead.