iiNet to take on 60 AAPT staff

AAPT's moves to the public cloud reversed for some staff as transition to iiNet meets halfway point

Less than two months after transitioning from Microsoft Exchange to Gmail, some AAPT employees will have to switch back.

iiNet’s acquisition of AAPT’s retail arm for $60 million from Telecom New Zealand will see between 50 and 60 employees transition to iiNet’s Sydney offices by 30 September, once the deal is finalised.

According to iiNet’s chief executive, Michael Malone, the Perth-based ISP doesn’t have a single standard operating environment (SOE), but largely relies on Microsoft Office and Exchange for standard document interchange. Affected employees will be provided with an iiNet machine and will have to become accustomed to one of the SOEs.

“It's pretty flexible though, so while most staff are on PCs, some of us use Macs, for instance,” Malone told Computerworld Australia. “For documents, our standard exchange format is (not surprisingly) Microsoft Office.  We use Exchange for email, but a myriad of clients and devices can be used to access email.”

A spokesperson for AAPT was unable to confirm the number of staff transitioning to iiNet as part of the acquisition.

iiNet has also signalled it will retain AAPT’s call centre in the Philippines, which the smaller telco established in April to cut costs and local staff numbers. The aspect has become a contentious topic among AAPT customers, who regularly complain about the lack of customer support on user forums such as Whirlpool.

iiNet’s chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said the service provider would re-examine the centre once the transition was completed.

“iiNet already have two excellent offshore call centres that are delivering undisputed world’s best performance,” he said.

“Being offshore is not the issue and call centres don’t create the problems, they just deal with the fallout.”

AAPT signalled its move to Google’s public cloud offerings in November last year, then transitioning 1300 staff to Google Video and Maps “overnight”. The company moved to Gmail for its remaining 1200 staff in mid-July, just two weeks before iiNet acquired the retail portions of the business.

"The decision to ‘go Google’ for our internal IT infrastructure was a tougher decision at a philosophical level than a technical one, because it fundamentally concerned a new way of working within enterprises, but it’s a decision we haven’t regretted," AAPT chief operating officer, David Yuile, wrote in a blog post for Google.

“The benefits of moving to Google Apps are significant — for individual users and for the company. We expect to reap considerable savings in IT costs, with minimal user support and much lower ongoing infrastructure costs..

"The breakthrough for us was in realising that both worlds can exist and people will use the methods that best suit them. With this decision made, we quickly moved on to what the business case would be and what benefits we would gain."

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