Rebecca Pole is helping build a new legacy for NTT Data with her finance team

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CFO Rebecca Pole reveals the work Dimension Data’s finance and management teams have put into rebranding the IT company, now called NTT Data, and rolling out global best practices.

Dimension Data is entering a new era of growth and innovation. Almost 14 years after joining the NTT Group, the South African IT giant has rebranded to NTT Data, embracing its position as a world-class data services company.

“Our rebranding represents more than just a name change,” says CFO Rebecca Pole. “It signifies our dedication to investing in local talent, developing industry-leading solutions, and driving sustainable growth across the Middle East and Africa.”

She adds that this latest merger of the NTT powerhouse gives Dimension Data access to global platforms and digital assets that it is excited to bring to the South African market. “Cultural sensitivities and the need to remain locally relevant and agile remain core to our success and there is a great deal of respect for this within the global organisation. Likewise, we understand the value of scale and standardisation. With powerful, platform-delivered and AI-enabled services at our disposal, we can now deliver managed solutions more efficiently and more aligned with global best practices.”

Balancing the two has been a carefully executed journey of continuous improvement and transformation for the finance team. “Over and above people, processes and systems, the finance team also played a crucial role in conducting thorough financial analysis to support the rebranding initiative,” Rebecca explains. “This involved assessing the financial impact of the rebranding efforts, including budgeting for marketing expenses and forecasting revenue projections for new product offerings.”

She adds that, now that it’s entering a new financial year, the team will be able to assess the real impact of the rebrand and measure the return on these investments.

To equip them for this new era, Rebecca says that, alongside ERP and other systems integration, the finance and operational teams have shifted their supporting functions to global delivery centres, with centres of excellence across various business processes – from sales support to transactional processing.

“We’re very proud of the fact that a number of NTT’s global finance functions are executed from South Africa using our local expertise, and the region is well-recognised in the group as a talent hub for finance.”

She adds that this transformation has been a fundamental operating model change for the South African business, with the overarching benefit of freeing up finance resources to focus on insight and analysis.

Recognising and developing talent

Managing change from both a culture and people perspective is important to ensure a successful transformation, Rebecca says. “One of our primary strategies has been investing in our people so that it remains the key source of talent for the organisation. This investment reflects our commitment to nurturing and developing the skills necessary to drive our business forward locally.”

With a diverse workforce of nearly 3,000 individuals spread across multiple offices in South Africa (including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Gqeberha, East London and Durban), Rebecca and the rest of the NTT Data management team understand the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment. She explains that central to this approach is implementing standardised and globalised processes and toolsets to enhance the employee experience and ensure consistency across the company’s operations.

“Ultimately, our goal is to create an even better workplace, where employees are encouraged to learn, grow and develop their careers. In doing so, we uphold our promise of ‘Here You Can’ – offering a world of opportunities for professional advancement and personal fulfilment,” Rebecca says.

She adds that the company embraces diversity and inclusion as core values. “I was recently involved in Dimension Data’s International Women’s Day celebrations and was blown away by the exceptional female talent we have in this traditionally male-dominated sector. Moreover, the talent we are building through our mentoring and supplier development programmes, our Yes4Youth learnerships and our Saturday School initiative are powerful examples of the important role we, as corporate South Africa, have to play in the development of our nation.”

Part of a new legacy

Still fairly new to the business, having only joined in January, Rebecca recently attended a client demo of one of the company’s homegrown analytics tools. It provided a visualisation of their data in a way that they hadn’t seen before. “The opportunity for us to add value to customers via our virtual data science team offering and to bring the power of the NTT group’s AI expertise to their in-house team to help them solve business challenges is why I am so excited by this merger,” she says.

Her lack of familiarity with the company has become an unexpected strength, however. She explains that while deep institutional knowledge is invaluable, a fresh perspective can prove equally critical during such a transformative process.

“I am able to ask the fundamental ‘why’ questions that those steeped in the old ways of working might have overlooked,” she explains.

Rebecca’s capital allocation discipline and focus on returns shed a different light on how to view the business. “This diverse thinking is something I really enjoy playing out in our team as we marry their extensive experience with some new and challenging ways of thinking. This will result in better business decisions being made and, ultimately, in better returns for our clients, people and the business.”

Her natural positive attitude has also supported a smooth transition. “Unencumbered by change fatigue, I see opportunity in this merger and am excited about it,” she adds.

“For more than 40 years, Dimension Data has built a phenomenal legacy. Being part of building a new legacy on a global scale is something very special to me, and I am excited about the future we will build together as NTT Data,” she concludes.

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