Project Description

Q&A with Auckland General Manager, Cedric Edwards

State of play in NZ IT landscape

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With a career spanning 30 years in the Information Technology industry, CodeBlue was proud to welcome much revered and respected industry figure, Cedric Edwards to the team in May this year. Having spent the last 20 years at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Cedric left his role as Channel Director for a new challenge, eagerly taking up the role of General Manager here at CodeBlue’s Auckland branch.

We sat down with Cedric for a quick chat to see how he’s settled in during some incredibly tumultuous months for the world and pick his brain on the current state of play in the New Zealand IT landscape.

Q. You recently joined us from HPE, would you care to elaborate on your new role at CodeBlue and what you’re looking to bring to the role?

Cedric: I’m the General Manager of the Auckland branch. We have a team of over 50 staff in technical, sales and support roles, and really, it’s my job to get the best out of each and every one of them so they can deliver value to our customers.

As Channel Director at HPE, I had exposure to partners from around the country and learn how they operate. There’s a lot of variation in terms of business models and delivery methodology. Everyone likes to go to market a little differently, and service their customers in their own unique way.

From my perspective, the last few months have been about understanding how CodeBlue really works. So, I’ve been assessing what makes CodeBlue successful, and what’s going to make us more successful in the future? What can we do better and improve on?

I’ve always been impressed with CodeBlue’s people and reputation, their customer base and generally how they go about delivering to customers. More than anything else, a lot of what I’m looking to do revolves around improving an already, very, very successful formula.

Q. How do you see the current state of play in the NZ IT landscape – what is at the forefront of organisations minds right now?

Cedric: COVID-19 changes everything. The decision around remote and flexible working was taken out of the employer’s hand in one fell swoop. It’s now almost a given that working from home be an option – now and into the future. And with that shift, there’s a rejuvenated appetite for technology to enable and support this.

Organisations want to broaden their access to data and information because the hours and way people are working has completely changed. Organisations are re-thinking if the office should be the hub, they’re reducing floorspace and trialling smaller headcounts in the office on a rotation basis. Everything is becoming a lot more decentralised and because of that obviously access, collaboration and security becomes paramount.

Amidst all this change and the uncertain economic future, organisations are focusing on how they consume technology moving forward. Many are looking to move away from capital expenditure and instead consume their services and technology on a per-person, per-device or per-measurement basis.

Since the pandemic began, it’s really become a balancing act between flexibility, agility and accessibility while also maintaining security protocols and protection. The pandemic has also focussed discussions around business continuity.

Q. Which brings us back to the cloud. With on-premise, public and private options, how does CodeBlue go about identifying the perfect location?

Cedric: The first and most important thing is, the answer isn’t always 100% cloud, quite the opposite actually. That might be where some businesses end up, but certainly, the world is going to be predominantly hybrid. A technology solution must always be built based on the business requirements, and from there you look at the applications the business needs to run. There are often legacy applications that need to be housed on-site, applications that you can immediately put in the cloud and others that will be born there.

For us, the key thing is always about developing an understanding of our clients’ business with those drivers in mind. Each business is different and an application that is suited to the cloud for one client won’t necessarily be suited for another. Good knowledge of the client’s environment and aligning to the business requirements is critical.

Take small-medium sized businesses for example. For many in that market, the case for cloud exists because they want to move to a per-person cost model, it’s very much driven by a desire for cost predictability – not from a leverage standpoint like some larger enterprise organisations.

Q. CodeBlue has a long history of working alongside HPE. What is it about HPE solutions and infrastructure that you think separates them from the market?

Cedric: HPE deliver a comprehensive range of infrastructure and services to accommodate every market segment, from enterprise right down to small business. And now with the addition of Aruba in the networking space – the wireless solutions in particular – is quite significant.

HPE’s continued commitment to the channel is a strong point of difference, especially here in NZ. There’s a significant channel driven commitment to their partners, to support channel delivered outcomes for the NZ market. That really stands out for me.

HPE have committed to offer everything as-a-Service by 2022 via HPE GreenLake and is something we’re really looking forward to. The current solutions don’t scale down to SMB yet so there’s still some work to do, but we’re looking forward to new developments as the appetite for those consumption models is definitely growing across our customers.

Q. On top of the cost benefits that as-a-Service offerings bring, they also provide much needed expertise and management. Are there organisations stifled by a lack of internal resources to properly manage and take advantage of these technologies?

Cedric: Everyone is struggling on that front. We are all challenged to get the right skills and resources at the right time. Finding people can be very challenging, and when you make an investment in people you want them working on value-add and growth activities, positive initiatives for your organisation.

Skill gaps are critical as technology still requires some business as usual activity, that old adage of ‘keeping the lights on’. And that’s where CodeBlue steps up. We take care of this for clients so they can free up their resources to add value and implement new initiatives and services that benefit their customers.

There seems to be an assumption for some businesses that because the data is in the cloud it is automatically protected, backed up, accessible and available. Smaller organisations need to challenge themselves in terms of understanding where their data is, is it being backed up and how and when can I access in the event of an emergency or an issue?

Q. How does CodeBlue’s Cloud Services help to appease these challenges and demands that we’ve been discussing?

Cedric: CodeBlue can help with all of it. Our core value lies in our expertise – providing the resources and skills that we were talking about earlier, that’s where our value to NZ organisations really shines through.

We take the time to understand the customer’s environment, their requirements, business goals and desired outcomes before delivering a solution that we can also manage. We maintain comprehensive documentation to enable us to understand any problem and respond in an efficient and timely manner. All support calls are answered by trained technical staff with the expectation we can address the majority of issues right then and there. Of course, if the situation dictates it, we can escalate the issue to an even more experienced engineer and there’s a good chance we’ve seen that issue before and we have a plan to handle it. It’s all about that customer intimacy and knowledge.

If you lack the internal resources to drive innovation, struggling just to keep the lights on, are a little in the dark about your cloud journey, or would like to speak with an expert about your current cyber security measures, Cedric would be more than happy to have a chat about your strategic roadmap moving forward.

“First we take the time to understand your business and then identify and implement the right mix of technology solutions to align with your business objectives.”

Cedric Edwards
Auckland Branch General Manager
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