Computer companies cope well with electricity failure

Auckland's central business district is home to a significant number of New Zealand's larger computer companies - and they say they're faring pretty well in the blackout. IBM's plan has been to overreact, according to communications manager Chris Thompson.

Auckland’s central business district is home to a significant number of New Zealand’s larger computer companies. How they react to the electricity crisis could well be a determining factor in their long-term survival.

IBM’s plan has been to overreact, according to communications manager Chris Thompson.

“We’ve adopted a better safe than sorry attitude.” IBM’s telemarketers were given the task of calling all IBM customers in the CBD to check on their viability and to see if they needed any help. IBM has flown engineers in from Wellington and Christchurch and have more on standby in Australia if the need should arise, though Thompson says they are coping well with the extra workload. Some customers’ operations are being outsourced as far away as Melbourne in an effort to ease the pressure on IBM’s Auckland office.

Payroll specialist Datacom Employer Services says it has had no problems with the power crisis whatsoever. Three weeks ago, the Employer Services unit moved from Vincent St to Grafton Rd, just outside the blacked out zone. Datacom’s network services division is still based in the CBD but has “a large commercial-strength diesel generator” online. Datacom’s readiness is due, in part, to the contract it signed to provide payroll services to the education sector. That contract required Datacom to provide redundant backup systems, something marketing director Graham Hendry says every company in the information business should have.

Gateway 2000’s customer support is also unaffected by the problem — all its technical and sales support contacts run from outside the CBD region.

The Auckland sales office is open when power is available, generally in the morning, but closes once the power supply shuts off.

PC Direct has reported no problems, as it is on the cusp of the affected region. It has a backup generator for its Auckland central store, although it hasn’t been needed yet.

Marketing director Richard Moss has noticed a drop in foot traffic and calls to the store, so he has begun an advertising programme to let customers know PC Direct is still fully functioning.

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