At Spark Digital, we stand for enabling our customers to take advantage of the digital future. Our role is to provide the critical digital infrastructure that connects New Zealanders and NZ Public and Private sectors, to each other and to the world.
The world has changed. So have we. Gen-i is now Spark Digital.
One thing is certain - in this new world, digital is a distinct competitive advantage – if you have the capabilities to leverage it.
It’s a role we take seriously.
We have invested $1.25bn over the last two years to make sure we deliver a great digital platform, so all organisations can take advantage of the digital future.
We deliver advanced technology and telecommunication services to medium business, corporate and enterprise clients – as well as Government.
Read on to learn more about our team, our clients and our partners. They’re all part of how we can help your organisation unleash its potential in this exciting new digital world.
As CEO of Spark Digital, Spark New Zealand’s ICT services division, Tim Miles leads a team of passionate people delivering converged technology and telecommunications solutions to New Zealand corporate and government clients.
Tim is a highly experienced New Zealand business leader with an outstanding track record across the ICT and telecommunications industries both in New Zealand and internationally.
He started his ICT career in New Zealand with IBM, where he was responsible for public sector customers, and later joined Data General Corporation, rising to Director of Marketing – Asia Pacific. From 1994 until 2001 he was with Unisys Corporation in various senior executive roles, before joining the Vodafone group.
Tim was CEO of Vodafone New Zealand for almost four years, then moved to the UK for assignments as CEO of Vodafone UK and Group Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone plc. He returned to New Zealand in late 2006 and was managing director of listed agricultural services group PGG Wrightson until October 2010.
Tim has since been involved in a number of industry and not-for-profit organisations, and joined the Spark executive team in February 2013.
Tim firmly believes that Spark Digital is well placed to assist more and more New Zealand businesses into an exciting ICT future – and make an important contribution to the overall economic success of New Zealand.
As General Manager, Services & Solutions, Jo Allison is responsible for delivering a differentiated experience for Spark Digital’s clients through leadership of our services and solutions teams. Jo is responsible for developing ICT services, solutions and products, marketing and brand strategies, channel and partner management. She is also accountable for the development of the digital enablement strategy, including online channels.
Jo's career in Spark started as a graduate 22 years ago and she has been a member of the Spark Digital leadership team since May 2008. Prior to joining Spark Digital in 2003, Jo was responsible for Business Customer Services at Telewest PLC in London for six years.
Jo has a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Economics) and a Diploma in Business from the University of Auckland.
As General Manager for the Enterprise, Commercial & Trans Tasman business, Greg Mikkelsen is responsible for the delivery of integrated, end-to-end services for our largest Australasian clients with complex ICT needs.
My goal is to help Spark Digital fully exploit its potential as an ICT company, leveraging our converged IT and telecommunications expertise to provide a significant competitive edge for us and our clients.
Greg Mikkelsen, General Manager Enterprise, Commercial & Trans Tasman
Greg's responsibilities include sales, service, solutions and operations management. He ensures Spark Digital delivers outcome-based, integrated solutions for clients using a combination of Spark Digital and partner-provided services.
Greg joined Spark in 2002 after senior roles in the IT industry. He was instrumental in setting up New Zealand’s first ASP (a forerunner of what we know as “the cloud” today), and was involved in the development of many of New Zealand’s early thin client business applications.
Greg moved across to Spark Digital and the Spark Digital Leadership Team in 2008 to take responsibility for sales across Spark Digital and Spark in Auckland before moving into his present role in 2010.
Greg has a Diploma in Business, majoring in Marketing from the University of Auckland.
As General Manager for Client Delivery and Operations, Steve Mills is accountable for all delivery and operational aspects of Spark Digital’s Enterprise and Government business.
Steve's experience spans general business operations management, including service and product management, human resources and customer services. Previously General Manager for Corporate Clients, Steve has held other key roles within Spark including Head of North Island Sales for Spark Digital and Sales Manager Bay of Plenty area for Spark. Prior to joining Spark Steve worked in general management in the telecommunications and IT market in Auckland, at companies that included Callplus Group and Cogent Communications.
Robin Hartendorp is our General Manager for Central Government, responsible for delivering a high level of service and value to Spark Digital's government clients.
“My goal is to support the increased pace of transformation across Central Government through our delivery of outsourced, business enabling services and mastery of the art of productising, provisioning, pricing and positioning our simplified telecommunications offering.”
Robin Hartendorp, General Manager, Central Government
Delivering integrated solutions to government
Robin’s responsibilities include sales, service, solutions and operations management. He ensures Spark Digital delivers outcome-based, integrated solutions for clients using a combination of Spark Digital and partner-provided services.
Robin is a highly respected and experienced business leader with an outstanding track record throughout his 30-plus years in the ICT industry.
He joined the Spark Digital Leadership Team in April 2013 following his thirteen-year tenure as CEO at Dimension Data. Prior to taking up his role at Dimension Data, Robin spent twenty years working for EDS, where he held a number of senior leadership positions including GM Customer Services, GM Government and Health Operations, and nine years as Director of Service Delivery.
Robin attended the University of Michigan Business School Executive program in 1999.
As our Director of Transformation, Michelle James is responsible for the improvement of Spark Digital’s business. She leads our business transformation portfolio and oversees the implementation of Spark Digital’s new operating model.
“My goal is to transform the performance of Spark Digital, creating a sustainable and valuable future for our customers and our people.”
Michelle James, Director of Transformation
After starting her career as a graduate with Spark nearly 20 years ago, Michelle relocated to Australia for 13 years to lead extensive customer service and product portfolios, as well as big scale complex change initiatives for Telstra and its subsidiaries.
Prior to re-joining Spark Group as part of the Spark Digital Leadership Team in 2013, she spent 18 months with Auckland Council leading the development of their transformation strategy.
Michelle has a Bachelor of Management Studies (Economics) from the University of Waikato.
As Head of HR at Spark Digital, Heather plays a major role in the company’s overall performance, supporting leaders through talent strategies and programmes designed to attract and develop people, and elevate team performance and potential.
"My key goal is to add value to Spark Digital’s internal and external customers by helping to build an organisation of high performing talent and best-in-class leaders."
Heather Polglase, Head of HR
Prior to her current role, she was HR Manager/Business Partner to the Spark Digital Operations and Services & Solutions teams, helping to support and enable more than 900 team members and leaders.
Heather is an experienced HR professional, with a proven track-record leading HR functions and teams, organisational transformations, talent management, leadership development and succession planning. She has held a variety of HR, strategy and change roles across FMCG, retail, hospitality, liquor, technology and telecommunications companies.
Before joining Spark Digital in September 2013, Heather led the HR function as well as the Strategy & Change Management project at Dan Murphy’s in Australia for over two years. During 2004 to 2011, she held a range of HR and change management roles at Progressive Enterprises New Zealand.
Heather has a Bachelor of Business Studies Degree (Hospitality Management) from Auckland University of Technology, and is currently completing her Post Graduate Diploma in Business focused on Organisational Behaviour and Marketing Management.
Simon Gillespie is responsible for the delivery of services to Spark Digital's corporate customers throughout New Zealand, as well as the management of our franchise and regional business offices.
“Spark Digital’s people, assets, leadership and customer focus are outstanding, and I am focussed on using this to drive superior customer experience and growth in the corporate market.”
Simon Gillespie, General Manager Corporate Clients
As General Manager for Corporate Clients, Simon is accountable for helping New Zealand businesses gain the competitive advantage that technology and expertise in its application delivers in today’s digital world.
Simon is a highly respected and experienced leader, with an outstanding track record across technical, sales and customer services roles in his 30 year career in the ICT industry. He joined Spark Digital in July 2014 from his position as Dimension Data CEO.
Simon spent 20 years at Dimension Data, including three years as Northern Regional Manager, and 10 years as National Sales Director.
As General Manager Finance, Rob is responsible for the Strategy, Finance, and Commercial functions of the business.
“My goal is to ensure that Spark Digital’s outstanding people, assets and capabilities are used to deliver exceptional outcomes for clients, while creating real value for shareholders.”
A kiwi, Rob spent 16 years abroad working for Stockholm-based Ericsson, a leading vendor in network equipment and services. This provided broad international commercial experience, with roles as diverse as running major multi-continent technology development projects, to leading the Strategy and Business Development team for Ericsson’s global $15 billion GSM business. Most recently Rob acted as CFO for Ericsson’s Business Unit Networks, a global $20 billion technology manufacturing and software business, with 20,000 employees.
After moving his family back to NZ, Rob joined Spark Digital in his current role in August 2013.
Rob has a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Hons) from the University of Auckland, and an MBA from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
As General Manager for Cloud, Infrastructure and Data Centres at Spark Digital, Mike Smith is responsible for the delivery of Spark’s range of data centre and cloud professional services to clients throughout New Zealand. A key element of this portfolio is Revera, the leading New Zealand specialist cloud company.
Mike is a leader and professional director, with over 25 years of experience in the ICT sector across Australasia. He has a proven track-record spanning professional services (primarily business transformation), packaged and custom software business solutions and start-ups. Mike has worked in both locally owned and global IT organisations.
Mike joined Spark Digital in February 2015. Previously, he spent ten years as Chief Executive of UXC Oxygen, building it into one of Australasia’s largest SAP resellers with revenues of NZ$100 million. He led the transformation of the Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) incubator business from start-up through to commercialisation and eventual sale to ASX-listed UXC Pty Limited.
Prior to Oxygen, Mike held senior executive roles at Jade Software Corporation and IBM New Zealand.
Mike qualified with an MBA in Electronic Commerce from the University of Canterbury in 1996.
For mother of two and Acquisitions Business Manager, Vanessa Sorenson, being able to combine the dual demanding roles of mother and professional is one of the many attractions of working at Spark Digital.
Now in a senior role, Vanessa is proof not only that Spark Digital supports career development but that it does so for people at all levels of the organisation.
"To go from a procurement phone salesperson to new Business Manager has been about the investment Spark Digital has put into my career to extend my thinking and potential."
Flexible working fits shared values
"Being able to work from home if required is excellent, and in fact having the technology to be able to work anywhere is exceptional."
Vanessa finds the job flexibility enabled by the latest technology another plus, and believes this reflects the values she shares with the company.
"Spark Digital really does care about its people and its clients. Our commitment to having the client at the heart of what we do, and bringing innovation and solutions to them and seeing the difference we make – it's very exciting."
It's hardly surprising that white water kayaker and mountain biker Ling Hou looks for challenges in his job too. As a Business Manager for Security at Spark Digital, he gets plenty of those.
"It's an interesting job that broadens my horizons and challenges me. I continuously learn new things, such as how to do due diligence during an acquisition or, when I attend an industry or vendor conference, what similar service providers are doing."
Shaping the future of security
Ling was previously a contractor in digital security and online solutions in Europe and with Spark Digital. Spark Digital, he says, enables him to maintain a work/life balance that fits with his role as a father – and from time to time enables him to enjoy the New Zealand outdoors.
Ling also enjoys the diversity of his role and the amount of ownership it affords him in the end result.
"I have the ability to shape the future of security products – by being involved in the product lifecycle from start to finish – that meet diverse client requirements across many segments and verticals."
He says it's the people, however, that are the best thing about working at Spark Digital. To those considering joining, Ling recommends: "Know what you want to do and where you want to go, then match that to the right part of Spark Digital and the right job."
For a skilled expat like David Yardley, being at the cutting-edge of technology is one of the draw cards of working Spark Digital. It means he gets to work with a big team of skilled and creative colleagues.
And as a business solutions specialist, it also means David is able to pull upon his international IT and data centre experience when working with New Zealand based companies.
Since the earthquakes, its been rewarding to be able to help a number of clients safe guard their data by moving it to Spark Digital’s hosted cloud services. I like that I am playing a part in shaping the future of Christchurch.
Innovative work place
David says that Spark Digital enables and supports a modern work place. As a new father, he appreciates having all of the technology tools to work from home just as effectively as he would in the office.
“Spark Digital’s flexible working policy helps me to have a work/life balance that fits my family commitments and my lifestyle perfectly – I can still be productive if I need to stay home when my little girl is unwell.”
Spark Digital’s innovative work tools like video communications are also allowing David to get involved in national projects that might have otherwise been restricted to expertise based in Spark Digital’s HQ in Auckland. Opportunities he says, which are providing variety and helping further his career.
Working alongside a great bunch of people is important for Swedish migrant Sophie Westerlund. As the key support person to a team of sales professionals, this makes for a fun and lively work environment she says.
“It’s not all work and no play at Spark Digital – a group of us go to a yoga class at lunchtimes while another group go mountain biking after work. We engage socially and meet to chat about work stuff at the café downstairs on a regular basis.”
Starting on an initial eight month contract, Sophie was soon offered a permanent role which she says is common given the constant evolving nature of Spark Digital and its interest in supporting its employees to learn and progress their career.
Sophie adds that every day is different. Whether its reporting, organising travel, training and events, and managing diaries, she gets a real buzz from the variety and the opportunity to extend herself.
“The work environment is fast-paced, Spark Digital is a big company and my team work with a wide range of business and government clients - I am constantly meeting and chatting to new people and I see a bright future for myself.”
Spark Digital has been a Cisco Gold Partner for more than 15 years and has over that time become the largest Cisco Gold Partner in New Zealand. As a result, we have the highest number of Cisco-certified individuals, enabling us to provide an unbeatable level of service and support for our customers using Cisco-based solutions. We currently hold 360 Cisco certifications across multiple disciplines – a level of expertise that ensures we are successful with Cisco deployments.
The latest addition to Spark Digital’s Cisco offerings is HCS or hosted collaboration solution. We look forward to extending on our proven track record in delivering Cisco Unified Communications with the next generation of cloud-based collaboration services. This will be another strong differentiator for Spark Digital in the New Zealand market and an important milestone in the Spark Digital Cisco relationship.
Partner status and certifications
- Gold Status / ATPs ATP
- Advanced Borderless Network Architecture Specialisation
- Advanced Collaboration Architecture Specialisation
- Advanced Data Centre Architecture Specialisation
- Advanced Security
- Advanced Unified Communications
- Advanced Unified Computing Technology Specialisation
- Customer Satisfaction Excellence
- IronPort Bronze Certified
- IronPort Gold Certified
- ATP - Cisco TelePresence Video Master
- ATP - Unified Contact Centre Enterprise (only partner in New Zealand)
- ATP - Identity Service Engine
Spark Digital’s partnership with Hewlett Packard (HP) ideally positions us to deliver a wide variety of end-to-end solutions for a diverse range of New Zealand organisations.
Our capability and geographical coverage combined with HP’s market leadership and breadth of portfolio delivers unique value to Spark Digital customers. By working with a single trusted advisor who can deliver an end-to-end Modern Workspace under a single brand, our customers can reduce risk, remove complexities, drive efficiencies and enhance productivity while leveraging best in class technology.
HP is the leading technology provider in New Zealand and worldwide, not just in terms of technology and breadth of products and solutions but also revenue, market share, number of employees and local resources.
HP is the only technology provider that can deliver the end-to-end portfolio of converged infrastructure (servers, storage, networking and cooling), personal systems (PCs, tablets, thin clients, point of sale and digital signage solutions), software and print and document management solutions as well as technology services, all under a single brand and nationally by Spark Digital, a HP Platinum Business Partner.
- Platinum Expert One Partner
- Service One Partner
Spark Digital has enjoyed a long and trusted partnership with IBM since our inception as part of Spark Group back in 2004, and we continue to be a key strategic business partner for IBM in New Zealand.
As a Tier One IBM Business Partner we have the complete capability and expertise to deliver on the breadth of business solutions that IBM offer. This includes IBM Hardware (System x, Power, Storage and Retail Systems) and a broad variety of IBM services such as Security.
IBM and Spark Digital have successfully partnered on many local New Zealand projects that have delivered outstanding business outcomes. These have ranged from smaller organisations right up to enterprise-level companies across an array of industries including the public sector, telecommunications, financial services, retail and utility providers.
The enduring health of our alliance is key to sustaining future business growth, so we continue to invest in aligning our organisations to be as effective and unified as possible.
- Premier Business Partner
Across our enterprise, government and corporate customers, Spark Digital believes aligning IT to core business requirements is a top priority. In today’s rapidly evolving computing world, out-dated IT infrastructure poses a strategic productivity bottleneck. Spark Digital partners with enterprises to optimise their legacy infrastructure and transform it into a strategic asset, reducing total cost of ownership and significantly boosting their return on investment.
Through our significant investment and strategic partnership with Microsoft, Spark Digital has built a strong pedigree of designing, deploying and managing a broad suite of Microsoft technologies and solutions for our clients. We are driving the industry forward with an exciting and innovative wave of new Microsoft solutions, including Lync Unified Communications; private, public and hybrid cloud and mobility. Spark Digital employs hundreds of Microsoft Certified Professionals, including a handful of elite Microsoft Virtual Technical Solution Professionals.
Spark Digital is one of just a handful of Licensing Solution Providers in New Zealand. Our national licensing team encompasses more than 40 people in 12 locations across the country, each of them with extensive knowledge of Microsoft technologies and licensing best practices. Our team has been recognised with numerous awards from Microsoft – including NZ Large Account Reseller of the Year three times since 2009.
We have embraced Microsoft Lync as an enterprise voice platform, and through our heritage as a leading telecommunications provider we help clients understand how to build and integrate robust Lync Voice platforms alongside or in place of existing phone systems.
Voice Connect, the business communications solution delivered by Spark Digital as a member of the Spark Group, has been awarded Microsoft SIP Trunking qualification for Microsoft Lync 2013. Spark is the largest telecommunications business in Australasia to achieve this, and one of just 15 providers to be credited with the certification globally. Spark is the only Microsoft New Zealand Gold Communications Partner to be certified. For more information you can visit our news section.
Spark Digital is helping clients embrace the benefits of building private, public and hybrid clouds built on the Microsoft technology stack. As a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner, we help clients take advantage of Office 365, Windows InTune and Windows Azure solutions.
Core Microsoft technologies for Spark Digital
- Windows 7 / 8 deployment & application packaging
- Windows Server
- System Centre / InTune
- Office 2013
- Exchange 2013
- Lync 2013
- Office 365
- Dynamics CRM
- Windows Phone
Recent Microsoft awards
- Microsoft NZ Partner Awards 2015- Data Centre Winner
- Microsoft NZ Partner Awards 2015 – Presales Technical Specialist – David Ollason (FINALIST)
- Microsoft NZ Partner Awards 2015 – Volume Licensing (FINALIST)
- Microsoft NZ Communications Partner of the Year 2012
- Microsoft NZ Devices & Deployment Partner of the Year 2012
- Microsoft NZ Solutions Architect of the Year 2012 - David McFarlane-Smith @ Spark Digital
- Microsoft NZ Training Solutions Partner of the Year 2012 - Auldhouse
- Microsoft NZ Volume Licensing Partner of the Year 2012 (FINALIST)
- Microsoft NZ Reseller of the Year 2011
- Microsoft NZ Desktop Deployment Solution of the Year 2011
- Microsoft NZ Unified Communications Solution of the Year 2011