The world’s biggest mobile operator has been having a torrid time lately. Senior management has been bickering, with former chief Chris Gent severing links with the company. In May it reported a £14.9 billion loss, writing off £23.5bn for the £112bn acquisition of Mannesmann in 2000.
It has sold off its Japanese division and warned investors that it faces a slowdown in growth because of increased competition. It expects sales growth to slow to between five per cent and 6.5 per cent over the next year.
This all rather overshadows Vodafone’s IT achievements. Last year it completed a massive consolidation and simplification programme of IT operations that moved its four operations into a single function and pared down its 800 different systems to a more manageable number. Consequently it was able to decrease operating costs through the reduced maintenance it needed for fewer systems and by reducing the number of supplier contracts it ran. As a result it was also able to reduce headcount.
Vodafone now runs a Clarify CRM implementation, Oracle ERP and Teradata BI. Web development work was outsourced and its focus was firmly on the change management programme throughout the organisation, with the emphasis on the customer frontend and IT governance on the backend of the IT operation.
The next phase of the plan was to move to a global structure for IT operations and Darrell Stein, UK head of IT, has moved to a global role, while Mark Leonard has taken on the UK post.