In the End it’s about the People – Dimension Data’s Drive to Claim its Unfair Share

May 26, 2015

While that title sounds negative, the sentiment behind it is the exact opposite.  Last week Dimension Data held its annual industry analyst conference in beautiful Prague, in the Czech Republic.  A global leader in IT services and solutions, doing business in 58 countries, the gathering brought together the CEOs of all the regions, along with other department heads to provide a picture of the transformation that has been happening since the company became part of NTT (five years in) and acquired several other major players – notably NextiraOne and Nexus.

In his keynote, CEO Brett Dawson spoke about the company’s long-term corporate goal - “Accelerating Your Ambition” as the key purpose of Dimension Data, which is for its 28K employees to accelerate their ambition for themselves, customers, shareholders, and finally, make a difference in society.  In essence, it’s all about the people, and focusing on people improves performance.  This has definitely shown up in the results Dimension has achieved, from growth across all of its regions, but also in recognition from its partners.  For instance, the company is the number one integration partner of Cisco with a relationship that extends over 24 years.  In 2015 it garnered partner of the year in all three of Cisco’s regions, and an additional 19 geographic and theatre awards at Cisco’s partner conference.  Similar kudos have come from other partners.

Brett topped off his introduction by the saying that “We must move boldly to seize our unfair share of the market and they seem to be doing just that.  But really, one of the biggest success factors is the corporate mindset at the company.  And a good part of the culture of the Dimension Data family is giving to others, work/life balance, charity work, and sustainability. We heard some amazing stories of the company supporting communities and individuals.  This culture is further enhanced when Dimension Data’s customers similarly embrace these values.

A good example of this is the five year agreement the company inked with Tour de France.  This effort underscores the whole basis of relationship-based systems integration, embracing the complexities of challenging networking conditions, communications, as well as fan and participant experience.  As the official technology partner for the race, Dimension Data has to flawlessly deliver communications and information, despite vastly changing terrain that generates wide variations in network conditions. Followed in 190 countries, with 10 million roadside spectators, this 21 day, 3344 km cycling race consists of 198 riders in 22 teams, and has been an event for over 100 years.  But the complexities of coverage are enormous.  The race generates 6100 hours of TV broadcast, with 2000 media participants, covered by over 100 channels globally.  The last race generated two million social media fans and one million official app downloads, and this partnership seeks to increase coverage and fan engagement. But as an offshoot of this, the company participates in cycling for charity.  For instance the yearly ride for MS, in which a couple of hundred employees ride to raise money, is just one of the charities it sponsors. 

Similarly, going green and sustainability is a big part of Dimension Data’s DNA as well.  In one of the keynotes, Brett Dawson said that the company itself strives for reduced carbon footprint and sustainability, but measures success in helping its customers also achieve the same.  It works hard at reducing its own and was commended by Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for its voluntary approach to climate change disclosure for the sixth year in a row (2014), and as an example of fostering this goal in others, gave examples of company case studies in which customers did the same.  For instance, one customer reduced its carbon footprint by 7.3 tons in one year just through the use of video collaboration.

My favorite breakout session, however, wasn’t my usual customer service one, but rather security, which is pretty core to contact centers anyway.  A huge focal point of Dimension Data, in addition to the yearly Contact Center Benchmarking report it produces, the company also just produced a Global Threat Intelligence Report™ 2015, and as described “The Report is based on threat data collected and analyzed during 2014 by NTT Group security companies including Dimension Data, Solutionary, and NTT Com Security along with the NTT Innovation Institute, Inc. (NTTi³).  The research is based on the analysis of 18,000 clients, six billion attacks, and trillions of logs.”  This session cited similarly eye opening statistics as the contact center report.  The report can be downloaded on the site.

But the other reason it was my favorite was the Rhino project, which was described as using technology to help save Rhinos from poaching, by putting a Kevlar bracelet on the rhino for tracking, and an RFID chip into the horn, and monitoring each individual strand of fencing at the preserve, as well as monitoring all the watering holes. Information is sent to multiple stakeholders in the fight to save the rhinos, including state vets and conservation officers, private anti-poaching firms, and reserve staff.  If something happens with the bracelet, they get an early warning and can do different things, including dispatch a drone to watch. 

Sadly, the RFID chip only comes into play if the horn gets separated from the animal, and well….  But the eye opener wasn’t just this being applied to Rhinos, but the possibilities of physical security for other things, such as pallets of goods and delivery trucks, and being able to track goods during shipment.

In all it was a great conference, particularly in that it showcased far more than looking at the technology the company has to offer, but a bigger glimpse from a people and corporate culture perspective.


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Nancy Jamison

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Nancy Jamison is a Principal Analyst within Customer Contact within the Digital Transformation group at Frost & Sullivan. She covers all aspects of customer contact including cloud and premise-based systems and applications in the core areas of inbound/outbound routing, IVR, Workforce Optimization, and recording and analytics, with a particular focus on peripheral and emerging areas that impact the Customer Experience. These include speech technologies, omni-channel customer care, Big Data, digital marketing, Back Office Workforce Optimization, and Support Interaction Optimization.


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