IT solutions provider Unisyscurrently has a revenue mix in New Zealand that sees the public sector contributing 60 per cent and the private sector 40 per cent. However, the company wants to swap those figures to 60 per cent private and 40 per cent public in the next few years.
“Let me clarify. I would like to change the emphasis of the mix while increasing the revenue from both sides, not by having one eat into the other," Steve Griffin, country manager for Unisys New Zealand tells Computerworld NZ.
"There is a public sector fixation on tiering and other elements that pose a risk going forward. I am not blind to this fact. So we are trying to change the mix so there is less dependency on the commodity service provision to the government. This does not include any higher value services that we could provide to the government."
The effort to change the revenue mix should be considered in the light of increasing commoditisation of IT services, and the need for Unisys to differentiate itself, according to Griffin.
“When you get into that battle, you have to win on price. And your revenue can drop over time. Our answer to that is to take to market mission critical support. The argument for organisations here is, would they move mission critical services to a commodity environment? It is an interesting discussion, and we would like to afford them the right environment for them to move their crown jewels to,” he states.
Griffin points to the negotiations that the company is currently in with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to move the country’s tax system to Unisys’ platform, whereby it will be maintained and supported by Unisys personnel. He said this is a good example of the mission-critical support they could provide for both public and private sector clients.
“This is mission-critical for the nation and, if negotiations go well, we will sign the contract in October. Moving the systems will take longer – maybe into the first half of next year – since there are several things, like testing, that needs to fall into place. This is a major opportunity for us. We are not just excited by this, we consider it a privilege that they would trust us with this,” says Griffin.
According to Griffin, the Unisys data centres in Wellington and Auckland have been designed to provide for high levels of physical and virtual security, besides near real-time mirroring of data, in order to enable high levels of service provision.
“We don’t have a traditional view of disaster recovery and production data centres. At one point, the Auckland data centre might be production and the next it could be the disaster site. We are capable of moving from one to the other easily, because there is very little latency in the data mirroring,” states Griffin.
He adds that the data centres have a physical limitation that prevents them from becoming a Tier 3 or Tier 4 standard in the future and, while the company will invest in expanding the facilities (especially the one in Wellington), it will more often look to partner with other providers with higher tiered data centres to satisfy customer requirements.
“Power is a constraint in data centres. Building data halls is relatively cheap, powering data halls, and then the relevant cooling, is slightly more expensive. With public sector clients there is a focus on tiering for data centres, and there is rather a prescriptive nature in trying to get the process templated. We would rather that the client comes to us with a problem and allows us to innovate around it to find the appropriate solution,"says Griffin.
“This is a challenge, but we are differentiating ourselves here. We already tend to have longevity with our clients. Rarely do we lose a client at the end of a single contract. Once we have solved their tactical problem, they come back to us with a strategic one. We are thus able to build relationships, do a consultative sell, and provide consistent value. This allows us to move up the food chain and provide higher value services to the client."
Unisys New Zealand is also currently doing direct sales of its Stealth encryption solution to its customers, but remains mum on how it would like to take the security product forward in the country.