Better customer experience is the mission driving digital transformation at Vodafone New Zealand

Paving the way for new technologies aims to help better connect New Zealanders

The best technology just works – first time, every time, and Vodafone New Zealand is well on the way to delivering this for its customers. But as the company undergoes an innovative and exciting digital transformation using the latest generation technologies, it needs to also focus on getting the basics right with its existing technologies, to lay the foundation for the new.

And Vodafone is not alone. Going “back to basics” is a common theme for digital leaders in Aotearoa this year, as highlighted in the 2021 Digital Priorities Report from Technology Users Association New Zealand (TUANZ), developed in collaboration with TechLeaders Executive and Vodafone.

Whether retiring a plethora of legacy systems, migrating to the cloud, or being more efficient and cost-effective in the use of technology, going “back to basics” and tidying up core IT infrastructure is a fundamental part of preparing organisations for a digital future. For many of New Zealand’s digital leaders, addressing the technical debt of intergenerational platforms that have built over many years is both a massive challenge and a massive opportunity.

Vodafone CIO Andrew Haddad knows all too well these challenges, after spending the past two years leading a team to clean up legacy IT systems at Vodafone. He explains, “By focusing on basic processes and addressing our complex technology debt, I knew we could achieve greater IT stability, significantly improve customer experience and pave the way for new technologies that will further drive customer benefits.

“Legacy technology is a common problem among Kiwi businesses, particularly ones that have been around for a while, or are in sectors where technology changes are rapid, but it’s a problem that can be painful to solve. At Vodafone, this meant putting in the right processes, focusing on consistency within our IT department, and having the right KPI’s and metrics to measure our success.

“The exciting part for me was tackling our technology debt and chipping away at it. We formed a dedicated IT stability squad, focused solely on fixing the underlying root cause of our priority tech debt items. The team is absolutely smashing it, reducing our tech debt by 78% in two years! Our major incidents have significantly reduced, and this feeds into our customer satisfaction score which is the best it’s ever been.”

With IT stability the best it’s been in years, Vodafone can now focus on building a digital future to offer an even better experience for customers. Another common challenge cited in TUANZ 2021 Digital Priorities Report was the demand for digital skills in New Zealand when immigration is limited. Increased demand for talent, coupled with fierce competition and closed borders is putting increasing pressure on digital leaders to find and retain talented IT professionals.

Vodafone’s IT department is focusing heavily on career development and learning to attract and retain valuable IT staff and help them develop their skills to become even more valuable to the organisation. Haddad says, “We have a talented and dedicated team and we want to do everything we can to support their professional development.

“We strongly encourage all our staff to take advantage of relevant training and upskilling opportunities such as TM Forum, Microsoft Azure and AWS certification. It’s not just about future proofing for Vodafone, but future proofing for our team and their careers too.”

Looking ahead to the next stage of its digital transformation journey, Haddad says, “the future of Vodafone is exciting, the work we are doing now will allow us to adopt emerging technologies and build a new digital customer platform that will improve customer experience more than ever and give Vodafone significantly more flexibility.”

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