Gen-i's local customers look offshore for growth

Manager for Gen-i's Australian business says one percent growth in Australia is equal to 10 percent growth in NZ

“All of our large New Zealand customers are out of runway in New Zealand and are looking for their growth in Australia,” says Paul Wilson, who moved to Australia 18 months ago to manage Gen-i’s Australian business.

Wilson was previously general manager in the Wellington region, handling a $400 million portfolio of government and large enterprise accounts.

Gen-i’s Australian business had been built largely around the Commercial Bank of Australia. “We’d decided not to rebid for that and I inherited managing out,” he says.

One of his first major changes was to move all the managed services business back to New Zealand, where there was a considerable cost advantage.

Allowing for lower labour costs and a more favourable exchange rate, he puts that saving at around 25 percent.

“We now have around 400 people in New Zealand providing support. It’s not hard for them to support transtrasman customers.”

Telecom still owns AAPT in Australia, and Wilson has been working with Telecom Products to build a single price, single solution for voice, mobile and data so that customers can operate as a single entity between the two countries.

“We were previously a little company trying to sell everything.”

When he first moved to Australia, Gen-i employed 340 staff there. By moving roles back to New Zealand, he’s cut that number to 200. “But we’ve got growth plans to grow that to 260 this year.”

He’s rebranded Gen-i as an Australasian company. “You can’t be a New Zealand company in Australia.” In fact, staff in Auckland got to celebrate Australia Day.

Though Telstra took over the CBA account, Gen-i retained the bank’s contact centre and is currently rebidding for that business.

Wilson says that for the current financial year he is well ahead of revenue and profit targets.

“We’ve resigned all our existing customers and have extended a lot of those contracts to Australasian contracts.” That includes companies such as Lion, Goodman Fielder, Fulton Hogan, Fonterra, ASB (through CBA) and Aon.

“Getting one percent growth in Australia for Gen-i is like getting 10 percent growth in New Zealand,” Wilson says.

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