Dimension Data to change name after 40 years

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 30 Oct 2023
Alan Turnley-Jones, CEO of Dimension Data.
Alan Turnley-Jones, CEO of Dimension Data.

Systems integrator Dimension Data is changing its name to NTT Data next year.

This is according to a report by Techcentral, based on an interview with CEO Alan Turnley-Jones. The publication states Dimension Data will change its name with effect from April 2024.

The company confirmed to ITWeb this morning that the report is correct and an official announcement about the rebranding will be made in due course.

Dimension Data was founded in 1983 by Keith McLachlan, Werner Sievers, Jeremy Ord, Peter Neale and Kevin Hamilton.

It was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on 15 July 1987.

In October 2010, Japan-based Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), one of the largest global telecommunications service providers, acquired 100% of Dimension Data for £2.1 billion, or R24 billion, making Dimension Data a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NTT Group.

Following the acquisition, Dimension Data delisted from the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

In 2019, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation unveiled NTT, a global technology services provider that unites the capabilities of 28 companies, including NTT Communications, Dimension Data and NTT Security, into one $11 billion company.

Former chairman Ord previously told ITWeb that around 2020, the rest of the organisation’s regions started trading as the NTT Dimension Data group of companies, except Africa. Middle East and Africa continued as Dimension Data.

This was because the Dimension Data brand name was very strong in Africa, whereas NTT had no brand presence in Africa or the Middle East, Ord explained.

In 2020, Dimension Data remodelled its business, which saw four of its companies come back into the fold to operate under one name – Dimension Data.

At the time, it said it was bringing its people together, uniting the businesses of Systems Integration, Internet Solutions, Britehouse and ContinuitySA into a diverse company.

Commenting on the name change, Jon Tullett, associate research director at IDC, says the rebranding has “always been a question of when, rather than if, since NTT has been increasing its investments in infrastructure and service capabilities in this region.

“Dimension Data has been a mainstay of the South African IT landscape for so many years that, as a local observe, it’s poignant to see the brand go; but from a commercial point of view, it makes sense to unify the positioning and service lines, and it’s good for the local market to see NTT strengthening its investment and commitment to the region.”

ICT veteran Adrian Schofield comments that Dimension Data illustrates a challenge that faces many successful South African enterprises that take their brand into the global marketplace.

“Does the brand name and image maintain its value overseas? If they enter into a partnership with, or sell to a larger, global enterprise, should they hold on to their name and brand?

“Dimension Data faced this issue with each of the many acquisitions the group made during the first 30 or so years of its growth, mostly leaving their subsidiaries with their own names but adding the Dimension Data logo to their corporate identities.”

Schofield notes that by 2010, Dimension Data became an attractive addition to the global portfolio of NTT Data, based in Japan, which is remembered as Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.

He adds that NTT Data, in turn, had to evaluate the brand value of Dimension Data and (as usually happens) decided to ‘leave well alone’ as the two groups worked out how to maximise their resources across their various markets.

“In the 13 or so years since the integration, it is likely the focus of the group has been on strengthening relations with its entire client base and building new markets from the NTT Data perspective, rather than from the view of the smaller subsidiary operations.

“From the Japanese perspective, it would make sense to consolidate around a single, easily recognised, global brand, offering perceived value in all their territories. I doubt that the issue of the sale of The Campus had any influence on this decision.

“From the South African perspective, the emotional attachment to the DiData brand inevitably fades as the founders have moved on and the culture transitions to the new management structure.

“Should we be sorry to say goodbye to the green triangle? No. Business is business. The legacy of Dimension Data is a strong technology and services sector in South Africa that will be essential to our future economic growth,” he concludes.