Capgemini returns to NZ after 9 years

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2011

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International consulting giant Capgemini is reopening in New Zealand after a nine-year absence, with plans to create a 100-strong software testing practice in Wellington and Auckland.

Capgemini Australia chief executive Paul Thorley said the company had decided to concentrate on bigger markets, such as China, India and Japan, after Y2K and the dot-com bust when "the whole industry was struggling a bit".

However, it believed New Zealand was bouncing back.

"There is a lot of diversification from the traditional sectors into hi-tech and the Government is transforming with cost reductions and welfare reform, so I see quite a lot of project work."

The Paris-based firm, which employs 115,000 staff in 40 countries, sold its New Zealand business to local managers in 2002, creating CGNZ, with which it maintained an affiliation.

However, that link was unexpectedly severed when rival computer company Hewlett-Packard bought CGNZ in 2005 in a deal believed to have been worth $20 million to $40m.

Thorley said Capgemini quietly put one foot back into New Zealand two years ago, taking on several people to size up opportunities and consult for banks and the public sector, and had identified software testing, in which Capgemini was a "world leader", as a gap in the market.

Software testing might typically account for about 30 per cent of the cost of a $10m information technology project and Capgemini could cut that component by 35 per cent, he said.

"That is a hell of a saving if we can bring that to life in the New Zealand market."

It aimed to recruit 25 to 40 staff in Auckland and Wellington over the coming year, about 70 per cent of whom would be hired from within the country, and ramp up to about 100 staff the following year, he said.

Capgemini New Zealand testing services director Darren Webber said it was talking to potential recruits who were working in the industry, but was also keen to talk to universities to encourage people into the specialisation.

"There is a bit of a gap in the market from a skills point of view, which is why we may need to bring in some expertise out of Europe."

He expected about 60 per cent of staff would be based in Auckland. "With Capgemini's public sector experience we do expect a lot of work in Wellington, but given the growth in the Auckland market, we do see a shifting over time to more work being in Auckland – but time will tell."

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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