Bone says Datamail does not have a clear demarcation of IT responsibility. His role is an infrastructure one and an aspect of strategy, plus the production side of IT. “That is where it blurs with my production colleagues and we both influence the outcomes there.” This arrangement can occasionally lead to tensions but by and large it works. For Bone, the arrangement means he has the latitude to work in strategic special projects involving mergers, acquisitions and offshore business.
“When I first came in I got heavily involved in business strategy,” he says. “In the three years since we’ve taken a cold, hard look at ourselves, at what sort of business we are in, how we reposition ourselves, and we have spent a lot of time reducing our customer profile. We had a lot of customers we don’t have any more … so in the past 12-18 months we have sort of been getting rid of customers.”
In the nicest possible way, of course. Former customers are those who no longer fit Datamail’s refined profile that formerly comprised 12 kinds of business services. The organisation now sees itself as an integrated document management company, as opposed to a print and mail house.
“We have a history of being a corporate mail house and that is still a large part of our business,” says Bone. “We are 100% owned by New Zealand Post but we have always been at arms’ length. The nature of the business is taking corporate data — usually transaction-based — then translating that through data manipulation. We extract inappropriate data, then format it. We have about 75 professional services people who translate the data to layout on the page. Data or text might be specific to the person receiving the document …”
Barcodes are also used to add specific content to mailouts. Bone says Datamail does about 30% of the business-inclined mail that comes through your mailbox. One of the organisation’s strengths, he says, is the trust he has developed with clients in the management of their data.
It’s important that Datamail retains this trust. The only way of achieving that is by having the tightest security possible — and Bone is handling that via his relationship with his supplier.
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