EDS fails to boost Auckland-based customers

EDS' efforts to penetrate the Auckland market, a declared direction of the company last year, have proved less fulfilling than expected, at least in terms of clients, says Frank Chechile, executive director of the Telecom account for EDS.

EDS’ efforts to penetrate the Auckland market, a declared direction of the company last year, have proved less fulfilling than expected, at least in terms of clients, says Frank Chechile, executive director of the Telecom account for EDS.

Despite having 500 to 700 staff in Auckland, “at this time, our business there is still small”, he says. Hopes for customers in the Auckland commercial sector have proved substantially unfulfilled.

“Compared with a year ago, the economy has changed a great deal. We have decided to put our resources where our opportunities are, and that’s in Wellington."

The capital is the company’s traditional base, having founded itself in New Zealand on government and then-Wellington-centred banking business.

From the support perspective, however, the Auckland operation is thriving, Chechile says.

“We find we’re doing much more service delivery out of Auckland than we were a year ago.”

That business concerns ongoing client servicing, such as the operation of helpdesks, he says.

Auckland is becoming the central point for such services over New Zealand and Australia, and could in the future be the central point for these activities for the whole of the Asia-Pacific region, Chechile says.

A transtasman perspective is also making itself felt through the outsourcing of Telecom’s datacentre operation, LAN services and application development. EDS is equally a partner of Telecom in its expansion in Australia, says Telecom information chief Mark Ratcliffe.

Telecom is tight-lipped over the financial savings that the outsourcing arrangement has meant for it, but says it's about 5% for this quarter compared with the corresponding quarter last year.

The esolutions partnership with Telecom and Microsoft is thriving, Chechile says, and has resulted in development of a good many products in the area of infrastructure and “tools to sit on top of that”. But applications service provision, one of its original big planks when set up two-and-a-half years ago has proved “not nearly as lively as we thought it would be”, he acknowledges.

“We don’t really know what went against adoption of ASP, but the market wasn’t ready, not even in the US,” he says. Telecom's Ratcliffe says the complexity of licensing arrangements could have worked against the concept, along with the desire of many corporate users to want to tailor applications to the shape of their own operations, rather than just adopting them “out of the box”.

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