by Divina Paredes

Movers and shakers: Stephen Ponsford, Julie Fahey and Greg Cross

Nov 15, 2017
Big DataCareersCloud Computing

Stephen Ponsford moves to Qrious as technology directorfollowing six years at Revera.

Ponsford is based in Wellington and is a key member of the Qrious executive team.

“Qrious’ mission to ‘unleash intelligence that enables organisations to thrive’ was too compelling an offer to turn down,” says Ponsford, in a statement.

“I am excited about coming in at the start of what is essentially a mainstream adoption curve for AI and data analytics, and leading a team that is charged with ensuring customer outcomes are powered by the best technology, data and intelligence that New Zealand has to offer.”

Julie Fahey is appointed non-executive independent director on the boards of Partners Group Holdings Limited and Partners Life Limited.

Fahey is also non-executive director of Datacom Group in New Zealand and of Yooralla, IRESS Limited and CenITex in Australia. She is also a member of the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority’s ICT advisory board.

Fahey has over 30 years of experience in technology, including in major organisations such as Western Mining, Exxon, Roy Morgan, General Motors and SAP, covering consulting, software vendor and chief information officer roles.

“I am looking forward to bringing my unique perspective to the board to help guide the company through the rapidly changing world of financial services,” says Fahey.

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Two Kiwi-owned, Salesforce consulting partners – CloudinIT and AFDigital – have joined forces to deliver a seamless, ‘multi-cloud with one partner’ solution.

The strategic partnership solves the growing need for a single implementation partner that delivers a strong marketing and customer experience skillset with deep CRM understanding.

“Like all successful organisations, we are focused on our relationships, value, accessibility and problem-solving. This partnership is the response to our clients’ needs – a one-stop Salesforce specialist shop that is accessible, agile and focused on the end-to-end digital transformation,” saysRaymond Yong, director of CloudinIT.

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“Our customers require a diverse range of skills and tenure to successfully implement across all Salesforce Clouds, and for businesses like ours having all these experts internally is not economically an option. But strong, strategic partnerships with like-minded teams is, and it allows us to tap into talent pools we’ve previously only dreamed of,” says Robin Leonard, CEO and co-founder of AFDigital.

This means their clients will have access to 55 experts in varying disciplines and skillsets, but still have the ease of dealing with one funnel point for account management.

Both organisations will continue to trade as individual entities servicing their existing clients but offering a wider range of services in partnership with the other.

The partner with the primary relationship will continue to lead, but can now build complementary project teams comprising of more varied and expert skillsets to cover strategy the full suite of digital transformation services including social media, marketing, CX, CRM and technology architecture.

Soul Machines is partnering with Autodesk, a builder of software that helps people imagine, design and create a better world, to create a digital human of Autodesk’s Virtual Agent, AVA.

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Soul Machines is advancing AVA’s capabilities, with a digital human face and persona that it literally brings AVA “to life” using its Human Computing Engine (HCE). The Soul Machines HCE is a Virtual Nervous System that combines neural networks and biologically inspired models of the human brain. AVA’s Virtual Nervous System gives her the ability to see and hear as well as sensory systems that enable to recognize and respond emotionally in an incredibly human like way.

“The future of highly personalised customer engagement is a blend of digital and human support, and AVA our first digital employee is just that,” says Rachael Rekart, senior manager for, machine assisted service engagement at Autodesk. “She will understand human consciousness and interactions by reading signals such as body language and facial reactionsmdash;in turn learning more about customers to better serve them. The addition of emotional intelligence to AVA takes our customer service beyond purely transactional to relational.” –

“We are excited that Autodesk will be among the first to deploy our technology on top of their IBM Watson cognitive platform.If the future of software is AI and 3D graphics, this is an extremely exciting partnership for both Autodesk and Soul Machines,” says Greg Cross, chief business officer, Soul Machines.

Greg Cross

Steve Shaw joins as Ingram Micro as technical business development manager for its IBM team.

Shaw has nearly 30 years of experience in the IT industry, most recently as a pre-sales consultant for IBM Storage at Westcon Group.

Shaw started his career as a mainframe engineer and progressed through a number of roles, with a strong emphasis on data storage technologies. Originally from the UK, Steve moved to New Zealand 21 years ago and for the past 10 years has worked in pre-sales roles, primarily focused on IBM products.

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IMAGR, a local AI company has secured significant investments from Sage Technologies to accelerate the development of its retail product, SMARTCART.

SMARTCART is an image recognition retrofit solution designed to eliminate the queues at checkouts and is set to revolutionise the shopping experience for consumers and retailers.

IMAGR founder, William Chomley, 28, founded the company in Sydney, Australia in 2015, before returning to his home country to set up the business in Auckland 12 months ago.

Working in real-time using computer vision technology, SMARTCART recognises products as they enter a supermarket cart – removing the need for traditional barcode scanning and the checkout process.

To activate, a customer downloads the app for the store they visit and sets up their payment method. While in store, shoppers pair their smartphone with the shopping cart and as they add items to the cart the items appear on their phone’s virtual basket.

IMAGR founder, William Chomley

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