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Growing our IT exports: NZ expertise meets Philippine scale

3rd May 2013 by Reuben Levermore, Manila | 2 Comments

Put kiwi ingenuity together with a population of 100m people, including an educated English-speaking workforce, and you have an opportunity to grow New Zealand services exports, while also creating jobs in the Philippines.

Wellington software design company Provoke is the latest New Zealand IT firm to open an office in Manila.  Provoke uses Microsoft technology to build solutions for clients, with particular strengths in intranet, workflow and document management systems – anything related to automating the flow of information.


NZ Embassy staff, including Ambassador Levermore and Trade Commissioner Hernando Banal, with the team from Provoke including CEO Mason Pratt (third from left) and CFO John Robson (third from right)

Provoke’s  goal to expand its international presence is consistent with the export goals contained in the New Zealand Government’s Business Growth Agenda. Recognising the very small size of the New Zealand domestic market, the Government has set ambitious export goals to boost New Zealand’s standard of living.  These goals are going to require hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment and the continued development of export markets.

As New Zealand Minister of Commerce Craig Foss told businesses and Philippine government leaders on his recent visit to Manila, New Zealand’s export future is aligned with Asia.  And the Philippines, with its population of nearly 100 million people, offers New Zealand companies the scale to leverage their world class expertise.

Provoke intends to expand its Manila operations quickly by building its client base in the Philippines and hiring new staff.  It will also provide support for projects it picks up from their offices in the US and Singapore.  Provoke CEO Mason Pratt emphasised that for his company, the Philippines is much more than an outsourcing provider for its business.  Mason’s sense was that the Philippines is still behind the level of New Zealand in terms of Microsoft innovation, and that this provides a great window of opportunity to win business here.


The Provoke team at the opening of their office earlier this year.

Provoke is not the only New Zealand company to tell me that it has been highly impressed with the quality of IT graduates in Manila.  It is keen to look at development opportunities in New Zealand for its Filipino staff, as well as opportunities for its New Zealand staff to be seconded to the Manila office.  These types of exchange will also help build understanding of the different cultural and business environments in New Zealand and the Philippines, which in turn has to be good for business in both countries.

2 Responses to “Growing our IT exports: NZ expertise meets Philippine scale”

  1. Walter Ty Walter Ty says:

    Just read on the BBC News website the decision by U.K. (Wrexham, Wales) call centre firm Moneypenny to rotate staff between Wales & its new Auckland office to take advantage of time zone differences between the U.K. & N.Z. Find it funny & ironic but it’s also a sign of globalisation with regard to movement of labour. Good to know that N.Z.-based companies are discovering the potential of Filipinos in the services sector.

  2. John Robson John Robson says:

    It really is a pleasure to have the opportunity to expand our business into such a vibrant market; I have had nothing but positive experiences in Manila, and our office is buzzing in Makati City with the new talent we’ve taken on. The collaboration and communication between our teams in New Zealand and the Makati office is excellent, and they’ve already delivered value to our NZ based clients. We’ve also started to push work from our US office, and the feedback is the same.

    Great to point out that we’re not a typical outsource business! We’re investing heavily in the training and development of the team and providing the same level of support as we do to all our offices. The Friday Lunch Club has already become famous with the hipsters in the sector!

    We’re very grateful to the Embassy and NZTE for their local support.

    JR, CFO Provoke Limited

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