The virtual road to esolutions

Nearly a year's worth of preparation lies behind the announcement by Telecom, Microsoft and EDS of their esolutions joint venture.

Nearly a year's worth of preparation lies behind the announcement yewsterday by Telecom, Microsoft and EDS of their esolutions joint venture.

The ground for the new e-commerce venture was laid in March last year when Telecom Services general manager - and now company CEO - Theresa Gattung split Telecom Internet Services into a consumer division that would keep the Xtra name, and "a new, intensely-resourced online business solutions group" called the Online Solutions Group.

In July, Telecom announced that it had awarded its $1.5 billion information systems outsourcing contract to EDS and Microsoft. The deal called for Telecom to take a 10% stake in EDS New Zealand and to work with Microsoft to develop and deliver online solutions to Telecom customers.

Gattung replaced Roderick Deane as CEO in August. In November, the three companies announced that their venture would be called esolutions - only to discover that the similarly-named E-Solutions was already working in the e-commerce field in New Zealand.

Jane Freeman, who established her start-up credentials as general manager of Bank Direct, was hired in December to head esolutions. She reports to an advisory board comprising Gattung, Smith, Tony Henshaw (president of the Asia Pacific esolutions group for EDS Asia Pacific), Microsoft New Zealand general manager Geoff Lawrie and Karyn Devonshire, Telecom's general manager of Corporate Strategy and Information Services.

Freeman's first job was to hire a team - one in which the jobs seems to have been carefully shared around the venture's three partners.

Last month she announced the appointment of three esolutions executives; Helen Meehan representing Telecom, Robin Thornton representing EDS, and Paul Muckleston representing Microsoft. Then, a week later, a management team comprised of marketing manager, Graeme Rowe (Telecom); delivery manager, Susan van Horn (Microsoft); custom solutions manager, Nigel Cowan (EDS); brand manager, Sue McCarty (Telecom); strategy manager, Alec Skeet (EDS); acting commercial manager, Mark Loveard (Telecom).

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