Having just finished the integration of systems between Telstra New Zealand and Saturn, its cable TV partner, she’s about to undertake the same process once more. This time she’s overseeing the merger of systems at TelstraSaturn and Clear Communications, bought by TelstraSaturn late last year.
“We were hoping for a quieter year this year,” she complains with a smile.
Mortimer is TelstraClear’s head of information technology, a brief which extends beyond that of a regular CIO or IT manager.
“I look after anything that runs on Unix or NT and up from there. Routers and switches are really the hand-off point to the network guys. I’m also responsible for our hosting division, so I have customers that are outside TelstraClear as well as inside.”
Those customers inside TelstraClear include 1800 employees spread over seven business units, each with their own culture and history.
“We’ve got Clear, ClearNet, Telstra, Saturn, Paradise, Netlink and Zivo to consider.”
ClearNet, Paradise and Netlink are ISPs, while Zivo is a web developer. Mortimer says getting the corporate culture right and settling the people into their new roles is the first part of any merger to consider.
“There are lots of important bits that need to be merged, but that’s really the first on the table.”
Mortimer is part of TelstraClear’s senior management team and a key participant in the transition process.
“We have an integration team that’s at work constantly in the background to keep the business running while we sort all of this out.”
That includes building not only an IT structure but also implementing an employee hierarchy from scratch. Mortimer believes in using the restructure to review the culture as well. “I have nine people who report to me and another 200 who report to them, so we’re building the department from scratch.”
On the technology side of the business, Mortimer is conducting a review of all the systems in place at both TelstraSaturn and Clear with a view to taking the best-of-breed in every case.
“Clear used proprietary software but was looking at moving to a package based system. TelstraSaturn already had a package-based approach and that’s what we’re going with at TelstraClear.” Those packages include PeopleSoft for HR and payroll, SAP for financials, Clarify for CRM, Arbor BP for billing, Small World for GIS asset management and a mixture of Sybase and Oracle databases all running on Sun Solaris servers.
“Clear was running an old IBM mainframe but we decided not to continue with that. We run our own system integration so although lots of vendors contacted us to ‘help out’ we didn’t need any.”
Mortimer says TelstraClear will run all of its core business and also any solution it sells to its customers in-house rather than outsourced. “The whole integration cost is in the tens of millions of dollars.”
Mortimer hopes to have the project finished by year’s end and then, perhaps, she’ll be able to look forward to a quieter year.