Trustpower’s tech transformation takes the next (cloud-native) steps

Continued adoption of cloud-native systems in a multicloud strategy is key to both business and IT transformation at the New Zealand utility.

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Referring to Trustpower as a technology company that happens to generate and sell electricity and telecommunications may be meant as a joke, but the company’s general manager for technology and delivery, Matt van Deventer, has a serious point to make: “IT aren't the kids in the corner who you yell at when the printer doesn’t work —they are the people who are leading and enabling the business through technology,” he says.

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Matt van Deventer, general manager for technology and delivery, Trustpower

He describes IT transformation strategy as a tech version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (basic needs such as food and clothing as the foundation of a pyramid on which higher-level needs are layered, such as fulfilling your creative potential at the top). In IT, the bottom of the pyramid is providing a solid IT platform, in the middle is the enabling tech such as collaboration tools, and at the top is leading through new technology. “We want to be able to go to the business and say, ‘Do you know we could save $X million if we automated this process?’ That’s the way we think about applying technology in the business.”

Van Deventer was appointed to the general manager role in late 2020, following six years with the business. Before that, he spent 10 years at Trade Me, one of New Zealand’s great tech start-up stories that he watched it grow from 30 employees to more than 500.

Taking on an IT role in a corporate was a major shift, but he’s been focussed on working with the business on driving tech-led transformation. Trustpower now has a 50/50 split between on-premises data centre and public cloud, about a third of the 100-strong IT team are developers, and collaborative tools such a Slack, Dropbox, and Zoom have been introduced. CIO New Zealand has described Trustpower’s adoption of the Workday finance solution.

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