NZ Post admits under-investing in its network

NZ Post issues preliminary Request for Information for Network as a Service suppliers

NZ Post has acknowledged that putting off spending on ICT has resulted in the need for a “sizeable” capital investment to replace equipment that has reached the end of its support.

It also admits to a less than full understanding of its networking needs under a new, more integrated structure. This has led to an urgent need for hosted managed-network and associated services to ensure a network flexible enough to handle future needs, without stretching the budget.

NZ Post has issued a preliminary Request for Information to potential suppliers of managed network services, managed security services and managed voice or unified communications services — which it refers to collectively as Network as a Service (NaaS). It also flags the need for more consistent security and identity-and-access management solutions.

The state-owned enterprise is facing the consequences of “deferred investment in several areas to the point where replacement of end-of-support equipment requires a sizeable capital investment, at a time when opportunities to diversify growth or streamline existing business processes have precedence on available capital,” says the RFI.

NZ Post also acknowledges inadequate understanding of its future communications traffic patterns, “leading to an unknown supply/demand-perspective and an inability to optimally manage the forecasting of network demands.”

“Federated ICT governance and deliveries” has brought duplication of some networking services and providers, Post admits. The requested services should help reduce this.

“Over the past two-and-a-half years New Zealand Post has been migrating from a ‘federated’ business model with separate postal services, retail, data management and courier businesses, to a more integrated structure,” says external relations manager John Tulloch. “The business now has two major business units - Customer Solutions & Services, and Operations.

“This year’s purchase of the 50 percent DHL share in Express Couriers brings our courier arm 100 percent under New Zealand Post ownership.

“This process gives New Zealand Post the opportunity to align capability to enhance and support new business areas as well as leveraging and changing the traditional businesses,” Tulloch says. “The IT infrastructure will be part of that change. It is prudent to undertake this process now.”

“In the event that the New Zealand Post Group decides to progress with Network as a Service (which it has no obligation to do), it would wish to implement as soon as is practicable, commencing in the second half of 2013,” NZ Post says in the RFI.

As part of the development, NZ Post wants to rationalise its firewalls, currently provided by a number of suppliers, and take on unified communications, which has to date been impossible for its Post Shops and mail delivery centres, owing to “the lack of managed switches” at most of the sites.

The RFI also reveals that NZ Post wishes to provide for cloud applications, deal with the prospect of employees bringing their own devices (BYOD) to interface with the network and prepare for the change to IPv6.

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