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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.

However, we are also different because we don't do just telco. At Gen-I about half of our business is telecom and the other half is IT. We are probably one of the top two IT companies in NZ by size. Roughly, our turnover is around $1.2 to $1.3 billion range, and half of that is IT. We are a very substantial IT company.

It became clear that if we were to change the name of Telecom, it makes sense to change Gen-I to reflect Spark as well. Spark Digital reflects our association with the lager group, as well as the fact that we do more than telco.

That is how the name change came about.

Q: How has your people base changed with all the internal processes that you have modified?
TM: Over the past 18 months we have changed our people base. And without giving exact numbers, it has reduced substantially. If you were to look at the numbers of people our overall headcount is down probably more than 3 per cent. One of the things that our customers would have said about us 18 months ago or so, is that there were a whole lot of us and a lot of layers. Those layers were there because when Telecom had Chorus it was a much larger entity. It did more things. When Chorus was taken out, there was an opportunity to do things a different way.

So, yes, we do have fewer people and we are doing the same volume of business. This wasn't a getting-rid-of-people exercise. This is about taking a look at the business processes, identifying the opportunities to streamline them and make them better.

We have invested large sums of money over the past 15 months in putting new systems in and change processes. The objective was to create a much better customer experience.

One good example would be how we automated some of the processes of our procurement group, such that around 60 per cent of transactions are delivered through a portal now. That is one example. The actual scale of what we are doing is so big I wouldn't possibly take you through all of them. It has been a massive piece of work and continues to be a major piece of work. It is ongoing.

We have completed year one of three years in a turnaround programme. We set ourselves a three-year target. We have achieved over 70 per cent of the three-year target by the end of the first year. If we achieve what we are after this year, we will achieve the entire three-year target in the inside of two years. There are different projects underway; there are so many different ways in which we are streamlining our business.


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