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Brilliantly simple networks




Vocus Group: brilliantly simple networks


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Pushing the envelope hard, Vocus Group is creating the Future State of network infrastructure in Australia


ocus’s mission is most certainly a critical one. So much of the efficient working of government, infrastructure, business and

communities across Australia and New Zealand depends on the reliable operation of the networks that manage them internally and connect them externally, and Vocus Group is the leading provider 04

of these networks in the region. Its mantra is ‘brilliant made simple’; its aim is to give its clients a network that is reliable and simple while leaving them in control of their operations. Founded in 2008, Vocus floated on the ASX since 2010, where it has grown organically and by acquisition, into a AUD$1.9bn company. We have frequently considered the vital strategic role played by technology in the telecoms industry today, and Vocus is no exception. CTO Vic McClelland joined the group in September 2018 at the invitation of Kevin Russell, current CEO of Vocus. His role is to define the technology strategy including how to combine Vocus acquisitions into the best fibre network in Australia and New Zealand – and with numerous large-scale


“We had one of everything, just about, and we don’t need that!” — Vic McClelland, CTO, Vocus Group

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“The Future State Network involves technology, people, processes and culture” — Vic McClelland, CTO, Vocus Group

acquisitions over the last five years he found plenty of legacy networks and systems to integrate. With more than 30 years’ experience and having held senior executive positions in Australia and Silicon Valley with major players including Vodafone, Hutchison, Ericsson and Telstra, Russell knew he had the right person. “Vocus now has a very extensive fibre network across Australia, between and within the capital cities,” McClelland explains. “And we’ve also


invested in building the Australian Singapore Network, a submarine cable that gives us international submarine capacity out of Australia, up into Asia, and into other countries such as the USA via swaps.” Acquisition at the time of mass consolidation driven by creation of the National Broadband Network some four years ago have given Vocus some amazing Fibre and Network assets. As expected, acquisition comes with complexity. “We had around six separate Layer 2 and 3 networks with eight Business Support System (BSS) stacks, ll with separate vendors. At that level of complexity and juggling

Vocus - Brilliant made simple. CLICK TO WATCH



07 multiple separate contracts it is dif-

initiative to finally consolidate and mod-

ficult and costly to grow capacity,

ernise legacy systems. “This involves

difficult to innovate and build new

technology, people, processes and

products and takes more people to

culture,” he explains. “On the technol-

provision customer services. We had

ogy side, we plan to build a brand new

one of everything, just about and we

L2/3 network at the edge and points of

don’t need that!”

interconnect and then migrate custom-

Keeping things simple being part

ers off our legacy Layer 2/3 networks

of the company mantra, Vocus has

to this new network. Our new network

been rationalising where possible,

will be supplied by our chosen supplier

migrating customers and shutting

Arista Networks. Doing it this way we

down some redundant systems. This

have new inventory records to deal with

saved some resources, however in

rather than having to sort out historic

late 2019, he and his team initiated the

records from each legacy system,

Future State Network, a three-year

which would be a huge task.” w w w.vo c us. com . a u

Nokia and Vocus are taking light to the limit A strategic partnership that brings optical and IP networking innovations on one of the largest fibre networks in Oceania

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Six months into the programme,

so that the customers experience

the team have built the platforms and

is a true digital experience – for new

are creating a digital programmable

orders as well as for assurance, all

network from end to end including

dynamic and delivered to the custom-

integrating to Digital Portals and

ers in real time.”

creating products in the new stack.

The Future State program is

“In some cases digital transformation

delivered in three steps. McClelland

projects digitise only the front end but

already has the capability to provision

leave the back end with manual pro-

basic services within seconds. “Just

cesses. For the Vocus Future State

now we’re stitching together all of the

program we are making sure that we

capability around the offer and the

are automating as much as possible

digital experience before we launch

end-to-end through the entire stack

our first dynamic provisioning product 09


Victa McClelland Victa is currently Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Vocus Group, based in Sydney Australia where he is responsible for Technology Strategy, Architecture and Security functions.Previously he held roles in Technology Operations, Product Management, Engineering and Strategy in major Telecom Service Providers in Australia including Director of Strategy and Architecture in the CTO Office at Telstra, Director of Networks (CTO) at SingTel Optus, CTO at Hutchison (3 Mobiles), roles at several start-up companies such as Time Telekom Malaysia, Commander Australia, Collinear Networks in Silicon Valley and held a role at a network supplier as Head of Software Services Strategy at Ericsson in Silicon Valley. Victa has a Degree in Electronics from Ballarat University.

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“If you can program services with intent, then you can reprogram them with intent when something breaks” — Vic McClelland, CTO, Vocus Group


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for our customers . When this phase

Future State platform in a similar way

is delivered customers will deal with

that Vocus connectivity products are

us via a digital portal or APIs, enter

provided using standard API’s. “For

their requirements, get a quote, then

example, if a customer requests a vir-

if accepted click to accept that and it

tual security function from a particular

will activate within seconds. Just like

supplier along with their connectivity

ordering something from Amazon!”

then we will be able to offer that to

Step two he calls the partner eco-

the customer and they will be able

system, this step gives Vocus the

to order it. We can then dynamically

ability to implement partner products

connect it for them via our partner

and services into the new Vocus

ecosystem capability, regionally or

product catalogue. Partner solutions

globally. International network provid-

will be offered to complete customer

ers will be able to provision capacity

solution needs, orchestrated via the

on our network in Australia and we’ll

M AY 2 0 2 0

be able to provision capacity on their network overseas dynamically via this capability as well.” The third step is self-healing delivered through closed loop automation. This step will implement dynamic resolution of faults in the network or infrastructure by re-provisioning

“Nokia is a key partner of ours on our intercapital transmission network” — Vic McClelland, CTO, Vocus Group

services then those faults occur. “If you can provision new services with

“Once we implement this step the

intent, then you can reprogram those

Future State Platform can redesign

services with intent when a fault

the customers solution on the fly to

condition occurs, a little like what

meet customers requested SLAs

happens today inside Data Centres

and automatically fix problems,”

when a server fault occurs, there the

McClelland continues. “To truly

system automatically redesigns all of

deliver fundamental changes in

the workloads without the customers

customer experience, telcos like us

application knowing.

need to implement digitalization endto-end through the stack. So, that’s what we’ll be doing. We’ll be moving from a digital front end with manual steps in the back-end to a fully automated end-to-end digital stack.” “We have selected DGIT Systems to provide our Future State Ordering, Product Catalogue and Billing systems and Ciena Blue Planet orchestration platform to perform our infrastructure orchestration capability.” w w w.vo c us. com . a u




Telecom Networks in Australia are

bushfires. “Delivering the Future

seeing demand for flexing connec-

State Network is a priority as it will

tivity due to moves to hybrid-cloud

improve Vocus capability to provide

connectivity, driven by the rapid

resilient and flexible solutions to our

growth of IoT and industrial automa-

customers,” he says.

tion, unforeseeable events such

Future State will also help with

as the COVID-19 emergency caus-

putting data at the centre of decision

ing huge segments of business to

making. “Today we have traditional

move to home working, and recent

data warehouses that provide


“Legacy is a limiting factor and we are working through a lot of data cleansing to create a single source of truth” — Vic McClelland, CTO, Vocus Group

reporting on things like churn management, financial analysis, sales opportunity management, and the like,” explains McClelland. “As we implement Future State we will implement AI capabilities that leverage data and analytics capabilities to provide a better experience to our customers.” w w w.vo c us. com . a u

Software Driven Cloud Networking Arista Networks has been appointed as the sole supplier of Vocus’s Layer 2 and Layer 3 Networking Equipment. Arista is a leader in building scalable, high-performance and ultra-low latency cloud networks with low power consumption and a small footprint for data centre and campus environments. Arista has a prestigious set of global customers and is committed to open standards across private, public and hybrid cloud networks.

Learn more

Contact us

17 Australia has never placed more demands on its networks than today, following the recent bushfires and the current COVID-19 pandemic. The latter causes massive spikes in traffic as everyone who can works from home and even more data is electronically shared than before. At this time, says McClelland, he is really appreciative of the partners that support Vocus in normal times but really step up when things are tough. “Nokia is a key partner of ours on our inter-capital transmission network. We’ve relied on


Year founded

AU$1.9bn Revenue in Australian dollars


Organisations have made the switch to Vocus

Nokia for many years and they have w w w.vo c us. com . a u


delivered through the good times and equally through tough times. We’re currently going through a situation where we’re working closely with Nokia on the supply chain issues that they’ve got because of COVID-19 in Europe and they’re just fantastic. They’ve been doing a great job for us and they will continue to be a key partner for us.” Cisco is also another dependable partner for Vocus providing our core network equipment. For the Future State program Vocus has chosen that are not traditional telecom equipment suppliers. “We deliberately chose partners that were able to work with us in a flexible way and that shared challenger vision.” You don’t make progress without taking risks, insists McClelland. Vocus under the leadership of Kevin Russell is happy to be a challenger: the ideal environment for its energetic CTO.

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Profile for Business Review Asia

Vocus Group May 2020  

Vocus Group May 2020  

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