The story of Datacom parallels the development of the information technology industry in Australia and New Zealand from its beginnings in the 1960s. It is remarkable that in an industry noted for rapid and volatile change, Datacom has remained the same stable group of companies for over 40 years and grown substantially through organic means during that time to become one of Australasia’s largest privately owned IT Services companies.
Datacom Founded in 1965
Datacom was founded as Computer Bureau Ltd (CBL) in 1965 by two Christchurch accountants, to provide a shared outsourced computer service for Christchurch firms. The original company was registered in Christchurch in June 1965 with a capital of 30,000 pounds ($NZ60,000) and the order for the first computer - an ICL 1902 with 64k memory - was placed at that time. The first systems analysts and programmers joined the company in August of that year and the first computer was finally installed in September 1966.
The new company met a growing need for the development of information processing and management information systems in New Zealand businesses. Rapid expansion of the concept followed northward to Wellington (1968), Hamilton (1969) and Auckland (1970).
Datacom New Zealand Wide In 1971
By 1971 Datacom had integrated nationally through a holding company (today’s Datacom Group Ltd) to become established as the pre-eminent New Zealand owned IT company, with substantial computer centres in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. Turnover was in excess of $1m at the time of national amalgamation with a staff of over 100.
In 1976 a crucial development took place with the introduction of remote on line services, providing user companies with access to computing power directly through terminals on their own premises. This drew Datacom beyond the limitations of a batch processing computer service into the new world of interactive computing. From this time the company found itself committed to what were to become an unending succession of technology waves that were driving the IT industry forward at an increasing pace and which continue to this day.
Datacom Data Communications Network In Operation In 1980
By 1980 Datacom had installed its own data communications network and had an extensive timesharing service operating throughout New Zealand. Alongside this the company was providing the data communications services and support needed to allow its users to connect remotely to its computer centres. Payroll services were being provided throughout the country along with a range of other software applications products.
In 1989 another well known New Zealand owned computer services company, CCL, was merged with Datacom bringing with it a facilities management division and a payroll division which were both integrated with Datacom’s existing businesses.
Datacom Established In Australia In 1994
Datacom crossed the Tasman in 1994 establishing a business in Sydney to support a call centre contract secured with Microsoft Australia. This initial contract provided the foundation on which a substantial regional call centre operation has evolved. That operation, Datacom Connect, has a substantial presence in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, a partner presence in Shanghai PRC and significant operational bases in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Datacom Connect works to be the Regional Partner of Choice with the largest names in the global IT industry providing diagnostic technical support services to their clients and customers, a range of partner programs into the channel and reseller community, with a growing competency in the realm of lead generation and inside sales. Microsoft, CISCO, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Lenovo and Computer Associates are some of the businesses long standing clients.
From the late 1990’s Datacom began to leverage the facilities management and IT project competencies long established in New Zealand, into the Australian market place. Early success with P&O Services served as the catalyst to commission our first Data Centre in Australia, we now have three such facilities in Australia and provided the core around which our complement of skills started to build.
The business quickly recognised a building preference in the market place for a local IT services provider with deep technical capability, a wide breadth of locally deployable skills, supported by an Australasian wide direct service reach. It was Datacom assessment that this market demand was inadequately catered for and through this realisation embarked on a period of rapid expansion.
While Datacom’s first preference is always to grow organically an acquisition based strategy was seen as having merit in Australia especially if it supported the companies’ objectives through either;
- Providing additional critical mass in an area of existing competency
- Broadening the reach of existing skills into new and allied fields
- Serving to expand Datacom’s Australasian coverage
Accordingly a number of acquisitions have been made. Notable among them are:
- Growing our direct presence in Victoria and securing our second data centre though the purchase of the GlobalCenter in 2004.
- Establishing an operation in Queensland via the purchase of NetOptions in September 2005 and then building on that base to expand into Townsville in 2007 with the acquisition of Agire Pty Ltd, a local IT services company.
- Creating start-up operations with local partners to secure a presence in South Australia in October 2006 and Western Australia in 2007.
- Meeting the need for a third data centre and additional NSW based skills by acquiring Hansen Professional Services in Sydney in September of 2007.
- Purchasing Relate in 2007 provided further extension to our application and web development capability.
Datacom Orbit Data Centre Opened In 2009
In 2009 Datacom opened their $NZ40m Orbit Data Centre in Auckland. This investment in NZ's infrastructure provides customers with a high quality facility delivering world class levels of IT availability, reliability, resilience and security. Focus was also placed on the power efficiency and environmental impact of the building. With this data centre Datacom boasts an enviable Transtasman data centre network that is arguably the largest in Australasia.
Over time the Datacom Group has continued to grow strongly and profitably in its core businesses of systems development and integration, outsourced services and technical support (through secure data centres) and technology solutions. This last includes sophisticated call centre operations, payroll services and engineering support services.
The Group as a whole has a turnover today of over $NZ 788m and has over 4300 employees, with 2,000 in New Zealand and 2,000 in Australia and Asia. Most recently in April 2013, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund replaced New Zealand Post as an owner of 35% in the company.