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CEO of Spark Digital talks company rebrand

Sathya Mithra Ashok | Aug. 12, 2014
"August 8th wasn't the start of the journey; the journey started some time ago," says Tim Miles, CEO of Spark Digital.

We had parts of our business that six months ago did nothing on a digital platform. We have got one part that has gone from zero six months ago to 60 per cent of all transactions being now digital over about a four-month period. We have done a lot of things that may not be finished yet, but have seen a huge amount of improvement in terms of speeding up our business, reducing our cost structure and getting ourselves to a position where we not only have the infrastructure to support a digital world, but we are able to operate in a way that supports a digital world.

All of these changes are centred around our customers. With August 8, and the change to Spark Digital, there might not be any monumental difference to our clients. But we will be able to say that over the last 12 to 18 months we have already done multiple things that underpins what we aspire to do for NZ and how we hope to help NZ businesses and organisations, and then here are things we are able to do in the future.

August 8 wasn't the start of the journey; the journey started some time ago. August 8 was really the date when we could say that we are far enough through that journey that there is a lot of credibility to what we are saying. There are a whole lot of changes that we have implemented, and will continue to implement, that NZ could benefit from.

We are on an evolutionary path and this isn't the beginning of the journey. We actually started this change at least 18 months ago and we are already a long way into it.

Q: Why did you feel the need to change the name of the company?
TM: That is simple. The name Telecom was created 27 years ago. At that time the world was about landlines. The name Telecom means landlines. In the minds of many NZers Telecom is landlines. Way back -- 27 years ago -- it was just voice; there was very little data. So while we still do that today and it is an important part of the business, that does not represent all of our business today.

With all the capabilities that we have invested in, Telecom does not reflect who we are today and what we can do and it certainly does not reflect our aspirations for the future. That is why we took the decision to change the name from Telecom to something more forward-thinking with Spark.

We were independently thinking of changing the meaning of Gen-I's name to reflect the Cloud aspects that we required and the datacentres that we have been creating. When we started talking about changing Telecom's name to Spark, we thought about changing Gen-I's to reflect that as well. Our customers like that we are part of the Telecom group, the size of the firm and the fact that Telecom knows how to build and run mission critical infrastructure. They like the financial muscle we have.


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