A passage from India: Telecom, Infosys team on cloud service

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Chris Keall

I was intrigued when I saw this tweet on October 31:

What was Telecom's number two man doing on the subcontinent, buddying up to Infosys - the giant Indian company best-known for its role in offshoring Western jobs?

I queried the company.

Jo Allison, acting head of Telecom's Gen-i division (since Quin moved across to head retail - essentially everything bar Gen-i), gave me a call.

She said a crew from Gen-i visited Infosys 12 months ago to check out a new cloud product, the Cloud Ecosystem Hub - a managed services platform developed by Infoys. In brief, it's software that provides a single point of control, and overview, of all the cloud services used by your organisation. That could range from, say, a public cloud service like Xero or Salesforce to so-called hybrid or private cloud elements hosted at a local data centre.

Quin missed the first Bangalore trip last year (he was running the New York marathon) so was up in India last month "to land it for us" Ms Allison said. Gen-i is now selling the cloud management service software developed by Infosys.

Keen readers will remember Telecom sold Gen-i's 110-person software services practice to Infosys for $5 million July last year. The roles remained in NZ, boosting Infosys' local head count to around 150 (Infosys has boosted its Australasian presence over the past two years; in part to facilitate outsourcing and offshoring; in part to get some of the more high-end involvement in projects carried out locally). Ms Allison said the local Infosys team reviewed the cloud offering but "it's very much an Infosys India product."

Today, Telecom announced it had adopted Microsoft Office 365 (the cloud version of the suite that includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint and so forth). Microsoft NZ says the rollout makes Telecom (which has around 7000 staff) its Office 365 customer to date. Telecom says it considered alternatives. But Ms Allison says it probably won't offer detail beyond a press release that simply says Office 365 was the "best option" (Fairfax recently plumped for Google's online suite over Office 365, with its CTO telling NBR more features were not always better, among other arguments).

Telecom is deploying and managing Office 365 through the Infosys' managed services platform. That is, it's eating it's eating its own dog food (or "drinking our own champagne" as Ms Allison put it) at the same time its Gen-i division seeks to sell it to others.

Ms Allison refused to say how much Infos' Hub costs, saying that would complicate negotiations with potential clients.

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