From stability to agility: IT’s shift at Vodafone NZ

CIO Andrew Haddad has overseen IT’s emergence from the cost-centre shadows to the core of the business strategy at the Kiwi telco as it goes independent.

andrew haddad vodafone nz
Vodafone NZ

Vodafone New Zealand CIO Andrew Haddad did not have an auspicious start to the role two years ago. He arrived in Auckland with his family from Melbourne after an eight-year stint at the Australian national broadband provider NBN, and before his first day on the job he visited a Vodafone store to sign up for SIM card. While there, the two sales assistants told him they were quitting their jobs, in part, because of frustration with the IT systems.

Things didn’t improve during the first few days on the job. “In my first week, I think we had five major incidents. I had somebody making a change to our robotics platform in production, not having tested it. Our website went down, our app went down,” Haddad recalls.

Underinvestment in IT leads to poor outcomes

The IT team had the lowest staff engagement score in the business. The IT landscape was unclear and there were “on average 47 major incident a month, the majority of which were customer-impacting, and the big ones would go on all day. … Everything was just dead, and it just crippled the business,” he says.

Vodafone Group had put its New Zealand operation up for sale and it was some time before new owners, Infratil and Canadian firm Brookfield Asset Management, bought it in 2019 about the time Haddad arrived. During the time the company was on the block, there had been underinvestment and cost cutting, which hurt IT. The only way was up, but how to change things around?

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